Early Analysis: West Virginia at Oklahoma


West Virginia (1-0) at No. 16 Oklahoma (1-0)
Saturday, 7:00 p.m. EST, FOX
Line: Oklahoma -20.0

The meeting between these two was one of the more exciting games of the 2012 season as Oklahoma scored last and won 50-49 in Morgantown. Now the Mountaineers are returning to Norman, Okla., for the first time since a 41-27 upset win in 1982.

The Sooners looked legit in the season opener with a 34-0 victory over Louisiana-Monroe. Freshman quarterback Trevor Knight didn’t do much through the air (completing only 39 percent of his passes), but he did have three TD passes and led OU with 103 rushing yards.

On the other hand, WVU didn’t look overly impressive in its 24-17 come-from-behind win over William & Mary. The Mountaineers did show they could run the ball with transfer Charles Sims and Dreamius Smith.

This game appears to be setting up just right for the Sooners.

For West Virginia to win: The Mountaineers need to control the game with a consistent running attack. This could limit Oklahoma’s possession and give WVU’s defense the help it needs. It’s the one area West Virginia has a chance to be successful. If this doesn’t work it will be a long day.

For Oklahoma to win: It’s important for Trevor Knight to deliver a more complete performance. WVU’s pass defense is suspect, so Knight should be able to do much more than he did a week ago. If he can get his completion percentage above 50 percent the Sooners should score a lot.

Key Player (West Virginia): QB Paul Millard looked solid in his first start at WVU, but it’s a far cry from what the Mountaineers have grown used to watching with Geno Smith and Pat White. There also seems to be a sense that Dana Holgorsen is just looking or waiting for the right time to turn the offense over to transfer Clint Trickett.

Key Player (Oklahoma): WR Jalen Saunders had the best outing for the Sooners’ receiving corps last week, and OU could really use him to have a big game. He can help Knight and the other receivers if he steps up.

Key Stat: Oklahoma (831) and West Virginia (708) are two of the winningest football programs in the nation.