at Norman, Okla. • Oct. 21 • 5 p.m. (MT) • (FSN)
Head Coach: Bob Stoops (8th season)
2006 Record: 4-2, 1-1
The Sooners' offense took a blow last week when running back Adrian Peterson broke his collarbone in their win over Iowa State. He's out for the remainder of the Big 12 season. Former cornerback Allen Patrick, a junior, is expected to replace Peterson, who was averaging 155 yards per game rushing. The 6-0, 190 pound running back Patrick has 62 yards on 18 carries this season.
Similar to Colorado, OU uses multiple sets in their offense. Quarterback Paul Thompson, who moved back to the position in August after playing wide receiver most of last season, has completed 60.5 percent of his passes. That's an impressive stat in that an Oklahoma quarterback has completed at least 60 percent of his passes over an entire season just four times in the past 45 years. Josh Heupel and Jason White – both known for their accuracy – each did it twice.
OU likes to stretch the field in the pass game. Thompson averages 14.5 yards per completion. Starting wideouts Malcolm Kelly and Juaquin Iglesia are his favorite targets.
Oklahoma's young offensive line — featuring four sophomores and a senior — has played well. But with Peterson out it will be interesting to watch if Oklahoma can establish a ground game against Colorado, who is giving up just 77 yards rushing per game — ninth-best in the nation.
Player to Watch: Six-foot-2, 285-pound starting sophomore center Jon Cooper played high school ball in Fort Collins.
Oklahoma is fast and athletic on defense, led by a trio of solid linebackers in junior Demario Pleasant and seniors Rufus Alexander and Zach Latimer. After giving up 501 yards in their loss to Oregon, the Sooners have given up just 564 yards in their past three games combined.
OU is talented up front. Senior defensive end C.J. Ah You was the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year a season ago, and his bookend, Larry Birdine, has five tackles for loss. The Sooners are second in the conference in pass defense, giving up 170 yards per game through the air. The Sooners, however, have not faced a team that features a quarterback with the running skills of Bernard Jackson this season.
Interestingly, while Oklahoma has 43 tackles for loss in its six games, the Sooners have registered just nine sacks.
Player to Watch: Junior free safety Darien Williams is coming off a nine-tackle, two-sack effort vs. Iowa State.
Oklahoma 2006 Statistical Leaders
PASSING: Paul Thompson 92-152-1,334 10 TD, 5 INT
RUSHING: Adrian Peterson 168-935/5.6 10 TD
RECEIVING: Malcolm Kelly 23/20.0 6 TD
TACKLES: Rufus Alexander 48
SACKS: Two tied with 2
INT: Nic Harris 3
PUNTING: Michael Cohen 41.2
PR: Reggie Smith 20/11.3 1 TD
KOR: Adrian Peterson 7/23.1
NOTES: Oklahoma is the only Big 12 team this season whose schedule is made up entirely of Division I-A foes.
Prediction: A year ago (heck, the past three years), Colorado would have gone into Norman and gotten waxed by a 20th-ranked Oklahoma team. Crazy as it sounds, this year's 1-6 CU team is a different breed. The Buffs believe they will beat the Sooners on Saturday. If they play like they did last week, I believe they will, too.
Colorado 24, Oklahoma 20