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Blogging about college football by an Oklahoma Sooners fan.

Game Preview: Bedlam

Mike Gundy

No. 21 Oklahoma State (7-3) at No. 13 Oklahoma (8-2)
Nov. 24, 2:30 p.m.
Owen Field (Norman, Okla.)
TV: ESPN
Line: OU –7

Series: OU leads 82-17-7

GAME PREVIEW

The Sooners will see another potent offense again this Saturday when the Cowboys come to Norman… OSU is 3rd nationally in total offense (553.7 yards per game) and 3rd in scoring (45.4 points per game)… However, the Pokes have averaged 50 fewer yards and 19 fewer points in their three road games.

The Cowboys have had three quarterbacks start during the season, and the responsibility currently lies on Clint Chelf’s shoulders… He has completed 61 percent of his passes for 805 yards, including 9 TDs and 3 INTs in five games… Josh Stewart is the leading receiver with 73 grabs for 857 yards and 5 TDs… But last week, Isaiah Anderson was the star with 4 catches for 174 yards and 3 TDs… Running back Joseph Randle leads the Big 12 with 1,099 rushing yards and 10 TDs… The Pokes might use backup QB J.W. Walsh in some short yardage situations similar to OU’s “Belldozer”… They used it a few times versus Texas Tech last week and produced two touchdowns.

The Sooners will again face a defense that is tough versus the run… OSU ranks 24th nationally, yielding 126.2 rushing yards per game, but the Cowboys’ defense has allowed an average of 262 passing yards per game (95th) and ranks 54th in total defense (388.2 yards a game)… Ok State has surrendered 26.1 points per game to rank 57th… OSU has yielded more on the road, giving up an average of 186.3 yards on the ground, 273.7 through the air and 39 on the scoreboard.

Linebacker Alex Elkins leads the team with 58 tackles, tackle Calvin Barnett leads with 7 tackles behind the line of scrimmage and end Nigel Nicholas has 3.5 sacks… The Pokes have intercepted only 8 of 398 passes attempted against them.

Quinn Sharp again leads the special teams, pulling double duty as punter and place kicker… He was named the Big 12 Special Teams Player of the Year in 2011, and this year he’s averaged 45.1 yards per punt, including 41 percent inside the 20-yard line… Sharp has hit all of his PATs, but is 21 of 27 (78 percent) on field goals, plus he’s the kickoff man.

Charlie Moore leads the team in punt returns with 7.2 yards per return, but no TDs… Justin Gilbert leads the kickoff returns with a 29.9 average and 1 TD.

Tackle, tackles, tackle… That’s one of the first things a player learns in Pee Wee football… OU missed 20 tackles versus West Virginia… In his press conference Monday, Bob Stoops talked about making adjustments this week for OSU… Should have made adjustments during last Saturday’s squeaker versus the Mountaineers… Big adjustments will have to be made this week… For one thing, Mike Stoops needs to ditch the seven-man secondary and rely more on linebackers this week, because OSU presents a more balanced attack than Baylor or West Virginia… If Sooners don’t wrap up, OSU will win like it did last year by running the pigskin down OU’s throat… Randle and teammate Jeremy Smith combined for 270 yards and 4 TDs in last year’s victory over the Sooners.

Landry JonesLandry Jones will again rely on protection from a patched up o-line with the loss of right tackle Daryl Williams… OU’s passing game is one of the best in the country, with a bevy of reliable receivers (six have more than 20 catches)… What a relief, since this position looked bleak in September.

The Sooners rank 8th nationally in passing offense (334 yards a game), 11th in total offense (503.2) and 9th in scoring offense (40.8 points per game).

This looks like another shootout with the outcome determined by who has the ball last… If the run game gets uncorked for OU, it could be a blowout for the Sooners… Yet, that’s a big IF.

OU must protect the ball this weekend in Norman… The Sooners had five turnovers last year in Stillwater, but a year ago OSU was ranked 1st nationally with +21 in turnovers, while this year the Pokes are 92nd with –2.


ETC.

*OU is 39-8-2 in Norman in this series, including four straight wins.

*OU is 14-4-3 on November 24th.

*OU and OSU have met 8 times on November 24th; OU leads 3-2-2.

*This is Mike Gundy’s 100th game as OSU head coach.

*OSU’s starting left guard Brandon Webb is son of former OU All-American Terry Webb.

*OU is 46-3 in the series when ranked above OSU.

*OU ranks 3rd nationally by converting 53 percent on third downs.

*The favorite has won the last 10 straight.