5 To Watch: Sooners Offense

Sooners Illustrated publisher Bob Przybylo stops by to offer Irish fans five players to watch when Oklahoma has the ball Saturday afternoon in South Bend.

#1 Quarterback Blake Bell

As great as his performance was against Tulsa in his first start, this is a different animal. This is the best defense OU has seen this season, and it's not even close. This is the most physical group the Sooners have seen. And this is Bell's first start on the road. All of that could spell disaster for OU, or Bell can silence any critics he has left with another big-time performance in a hostile environment.

#2 Running back Keith Ford

You want physical, Ford is the definition of physical. He made a name for himself by plowing through OU defensive tackle Jordan Phillips in practice and hasn't slowed down since. It's not true, but it feels like Ford runs somebody over on each carry. He only has 66 yards on 11 carries, but he had seven attempts for 46 yards and his first career touchdown against Tulsa.

#3-#4 Offensive linemen Gabe Ikard and Nila Kasitati

The challenge is simple – stop Louis Nix III. OK, stopping might be going too far, but the combination of Ikard and Kasitati are going to have to find a way to slow down the highly regarded nose tackle. Ikard had no problem admitting he didn't win this battle last season. Kasitati has earned his way into starting at guard, but he has never faced anybody quite like Nix. If OU cannot win or break even on this battle, the Sooners are going to have an incredibly difficult time pulling out the victory.

#5 Wide receiver Jalen Saunders

The Notre Dame game was a coming out party for him last season but this year hasn't been as kind. A couple of dropped passes combined with not being in complete sync with the quarterbacks has made Saunders a non-factor lately. Following a bye week, it will be interesting to see just how much chemistry has been developed between Saunders and Bell.

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