at Kansas City • Dec. 4 • 6 p.m. (MT, ABC-TV)
Head Coach: Bob Stoops (6th year)
2004 Record: 11-0/8-0
Oklahoma's offense is excellent, and will present a huge challenge for the Buffaloes. The addition of freshman phenom RB Adrian Peterson has only helped QB Jason White to a better year than he had last season when he won the Heisman Trophy.
White has thrown 30 touchdowns and just four interceptions this fall. Peterson has racked up 1,673 yards rushing and 12 touchdowns, and much of that yardage has come later than earlier in games.
WR Mark Clayton is a bigtime threat, as well.
Perhaps the unsung group on the OU offense is the line, which has given up just seven sacks through 11 games. C Vince Carter and OT Jammal Brown are all-conference first-teamers. Brown has 125 knockdown blocks and has not given up either a sack or QB hurry all season.
Jason White has thrown just four interceptions this fall.
Photo by AP
Matchup to watch: One of the things that makes Peterson special is his speed. Colorado linebacker Jordon Dizon will have to utilize his own quickness and get to the edges when Peterson tries to find the corner if CU has any chance at slowing the OU running game.
KEY for COLORADO
The Buffs believe that if they put some hits on the OU quarterback, they can rattle him. Last season, they were able to do that in the losing effort in Boulder against the Sooners. However, thinking you can knock White off his game with pressure, and actually finding a way to bring the pressure against OU's stellar O-line are two different things. Don't expect CU to sell out and blitz with abandon. This will come down to DC Mike Hankwitz choosing the right pressures in the right situations.
The Sooners have been susceptible at times to big plays in the passing game. CU QB Joel Klatt said the Buffs are aware of that, but the question remains if the Buffs have the speed at wideout to get open downfield before the Colorado pocket collapses, as OU has a strong pass rush.
DE Dan Cody is quick and aggressive off the edge, and has the Buffs' attention. The senior, who has nine sacks will be a handful for whichever Colorado OT faces him.
KEY for COLORADO
Get the Long Ball Going
Joel Klatt found Tyler Littlehales on a long pattern down the middle vs. Nebraska last week. OU has given up big plays in its pass defense at times this year, and the middle of the field may be open Saturday. CU needs to get its big (Littlehales) and fast (Blake Mackey) receivers loose, and make sure they have TE Joe Klopfenstein very involved in the passing game. If CU can hit some passes, it could loosen up opportunities in the run game, as well.
Punt returner Antonio Perkins has been banged up and may not see time there Saturday. Clayton could get the call, and is dangerous as a returner. Veteran kicker Trey DiCarlo has struggled. He's 0-5 from 40- to 49 yards this season. Blake Ferguson is a solid punter.
OU STATISTICAL LEADERS
Passing: Jason White, 209-325-2,707, 30 TD, 4 INT
Rushing: Adrian Peterson, 286-1,671/5.8, 12 TD
Receiving: Mark Clayton, 54-749/13.9, 6 TD
Kickoff returns: Mark Bradley, 8-133/16.6
Punt returns: Antonio Perkins, 13-140/10.8, 1 TD
Punting: Blake Ferguson, 44/42.0
Tackles: Brodney Pool, 84
Tackles for loss: Dan Cody, 15-70
Sacks: Cody, 9
Interceptions: Pool, 2