Sooners Vs. 'Noles Pregame: Breaking It Down

Sooners Illustrated digs deeper into this weekend's big contest between two football powers.

The Matchup:

For the first time since the 2001 BCS National Championship game, OU will meet Florida State when the two open up Saturday afternoon in Norman. The No. 10 Sooners are coming off a closer-than-expected 31-24 victory over the Utah State Aggies, while No. 17 FSU is riding high off a 59-0 shellacking over Samford. OU boasts a 31 game home winning streak dating back to Sept. 10, 2005.

OU players to watch:

1. RB DeMarco Murray--The electric OU running back scorched Utah State last weekend for 208 rushing yards on 35 carries, both of which were career highs. If Murray gets rolling early, it will be hard for the Seminoles to slow him down, and they may be in for a long day.

2. WR Ryan Broyles--Not only will the Seminoles have to contain him in the passing game, but he will be very important in the special teams department as well. Broyles gives the Sooners that home run threat every time he sits back to return a punt.

OU will win if: The defense comes to play. FSU quarterback Christian Ponder cannot have his way with the Sooner secondary if OU wants to get this victory. And that means the defensive line must get pressure on Ponder to help out the secondary. OU's defensive line managed three sacks, but it could have been more last week. The Sooners must take advantage of all the opportunities they have defensively.

FSU players to watch:

1. QB Christian Ponder--If Aggies quarterback Diondre Borel can toss it around for 341 yards and three touchdowns and still complete less than 50 percent of his passes, that really spells concern for the Sooner secondary with an even better athlete and quarterback like Ponder coming in. He's a really good passer in the pocket and can move some as well.

2. PR Greg Reid--A 74-yarder to the house last week against Samford tells it all. The Sooners will have their hands full slowing this guy down in the return game. Perhaps the best antidote for Reid will be to punt it out of bounds. Getting good hang time on punts wouldn't hurt either.

FSU will win if: It can get an early lead and stay on the Sooners. OU has dominated at home over the course of the 31-game home winning streak, and the common ingredient has been blowout victories. If the Seminoles can get on top from the get-go, it will do a number of things. First, it will force the Sooners to press a little bit. Second, it might take what figures to be a raucous crowd out of the game. And it will also breed confidence for FSU. A close game benefits the visitors.

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