The Opponent-When you think of Oklahoma, you think of national titles, Barry Switzer, Billy Sims, Brian Bosworth and now Bob Stoops the current head coach of the Sooners. This is a historical powerhouse that has built a reputation of producing some of the best talent and teams that college football has ever seen and this year's version is no different. They are loaded at just about every position and QB Sam Bradford is the triggerman for this high-powered offense. The defense is also very good and they don't have too many weaknesses on paper. The only thing that this team has been known for lately is late season collapses on the national stage, a trend they would like to change in '08.
Interesting Notes about Oklahoma: Oklahoma is 55-2 at home in Norman under Bob Stoops. That is an outstanding home record for any team in college football and it's always tough for opponents to get a win. OU returns it's entire offensive line from last season, which would almost certainly give QB Sam Bradford more confidence in the pocket. OU lost 48-28 last season in the Fiesta Bowl to WVU which has served to be the only common opponent shared with UC.
The Intangibles: This game is going to be interesting for the Cats. This game can propel the Cats to another level and also give them a wave of confidence that they can ride for the rest of the season. Composure, composure and composure is the name of the game and the Cats must give themselves a chance to win this game by being aggressive early and often with the Sooners. Limiting mistakes is vital in this game because OU is too good to give them easy scoring opportunities. This game will test not only the maturation of this team under Coach Kelly but also be able to gauge how good this team really is!
Keys to the game: QB Sam Bradford vs. UC Defense-He is the man that makes it all work for OU. When you lead the nation in passing efficiency that says that you don't make too many mistakes and your throws are mostly on the money, UC has to change that trend. If the Cats are able to stop DeMarco Murray from running the ball, then they can focus on putting pressure on Bradford and no QB likes pressure. The good thing about Bradford is that he is not a runner, he's a pocket passer and he could be an easy target if the pocket collapses.
QB Dustin Grutza vs. OU Defense-Dustin must duplicate what he did against EKU. Stay efficient and play within the offense while committing no turnovers. If the rush gets to him, he needs to scramble and make plays happen downfield to make OU pay for the pressure. If he can do this early and build some confidence, the Cats offense will be very effective all game long. Anytime you play a highly ranked team you must also score TD's not FG's. While you need FG's at times to put points on the board, UC can't make a living kicking them. TD's put pressure on OU to match it and the more UC can score, the better.
Create Turnovers- UC has to get some breaks and turnovers are a great way to do that. It doesn't have to be a lot but if they can get at least two turnovers, OU will definitely start to self-destruct and UC can capitalize.
Prediction: Many OU fans have been speculating all week long that the Sooners are too good at home and that they will score 40 or 50 points on the Cats but I beg to differ. While the Sooners have the overwhelming edge in tradition, ranking, overall talent and time in the spotlight, these Cats have heart and play extremely hard when their backs are against the wall. This team is hungry and the master motivator Coach Kelly will have them ready to play and UC will shock the world on Saturday. UC wins this one 28-23! Go Cats!
Next Opponent: Miami (OH)
Game 2- Oklahoma Preview
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