The big game on tap this weekend is Saturday night’s Top Ten throwdown between the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners and the No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes.
Last year, the Buckeyes rolled the Sooners in Norman, stomping a 45-24 mudhole in their hind parts.
Ohio State traveled to Oklahoma for one of the biggest non-conference games of the season. Final: Ohio State – 45 | Oklahoma – 24
On the surface, it would seem that Oklahoma, in their first year without legendary head coach Bob Stoops at the helm and having to visit Ohio Stadium while being led by rookie head man Lincoln Riley, might be at a disadvantage.
But keep in mind that the salty remnants of that loss still remain. And Oklahoma, who walks into the matchup with the nation’s longest winning streak of 11 games, has been undefeated ever since.
Last year, OSU jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead, scored 35 points in the first half and physically battered the Sooners to the tune of 291 rushing yards.
This year’s game with have implications down the road when considering the validity of both squads’ resume as contenders for one of the four coveted playoff spots.
Oklahoma destroyed UTEP 56-7 in last week’s opener in Norman. Quarterback Baker Mayfield continued to build on his incredible body of work over the past few years with completing an utterly ridiculous 19 of his 20 first-half passing attempts for 329 yards and three touchdowns.
The Oklahoma Sooners opened the Lincoln Riley era with a dominant 56-7 win over UTEP in Norman.
Ummmm, yeah. You read that right. That stat line was compiled in only two quarters of work.
Tight End Mark Andrews was the main recipient of the passing game’s largesse, with seven catches for 134 yards. The Sooners’ running attack pounded the Miners for 196 yards. But UTEP’s defense can in no way be confused with the speed, strength and play-making ability that the Buckeyes will bring on Saturday night.
But one factor operating in Mayfield and the Oklahoma offense’s favor is that their passing game is too legit to quit, and Ohio State’s secondary looked quite pedestrian last week when Indiana threw the ball for 420 yards on them.
When Ohio State has the rock, their name-brand is quarterback J.T. Barrett. But the new guy you need to keep your eyes on is true freshman running back J.K. Dobbins, whose debut performance of 181 rushing yards against Indiana last week broke Maurice Clarett’s previous debut mark of 175 yards, which was set 15 years ago.
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Dobbins will split time this week with Mike Weber, the 5-foot-10 sophomore from Detroit who torched Oklahoma last year to the tune of 123 yards on 18 carries. Weber sat out last week with a nagging hamstring injury. If he returns at full strength, the Sooner defense will have to deal with a vicious young two-headed monster in the running game.
The Buckeyes have won seven of their last nine games against Top 10 opponents while Oklahoma has beaten five ranked opponents during their 11-game winning streak.
Something’s gonna have to give on Saturday night, and this one should be a certified doozy.