OU vs. UC Pregame: Breaking it Down

CINCINNATI-- Sooners Illustrated digs deeper into this weekend's matchup between OU and Cincinnati.

The Matchup:

The Sooners are 3-0 after narrow victories over Utah State and Air Force sandwiched around a 47-17 smashing of Florida State. Cincinnati's first three haven't gone quite as well, as they have dropped a pair of games on their way to a 1-2 start. So, the storyline is simple. OU is seeking a 4-0 start and undefeated record heading into the Red River Rivalry, while Cincinnati is just trying to get back on track.

OU players to watch:

1. QB Landry Jones--Again, this is a huge game for Jones. He must prove he can play on the road. Jones was poor last season in games away from Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, tossing a high of five picks in a contest at Nebraska. And this is the first opportunity for him to prove he's a changed player in that way.

2. DE Jeremy Beal--Back to facing a more conventional offense means back to business for the defense, especially the defensive line. And the anchor of that group is end Jeremy Beal, who already has five tackles for loss, including 2.5 sacks, this season. He could produce in a big way against Cincy's offense in rushing the passer and causing havoc.

OU will win if: They don't turn the ball over. There's no question this bunch of Sooners is a more talented team than Cincinnati, so if they just take care of the ball and make the most of their possessions, they should be able to put enough points up on the board to hold off the Bearcats.

Cincinnati players to watch:

1. QB Zach Collaros--In three games, he has passed for 659 yards and six touchdowns, going 54-for-89 for a quarterback efficiency of 145.1. The 6-foot, 216 lb. QB has received high praise from the Sooner coaching staff, especially defensive ends coach Bobby Jack Wright, who said he "might" be the best quarterback OU faces this year.

2. LB JK Schaffer--He's the team leader by far in tackles, with 32 in the first three contests. Schaffer has 1.5 tackles for loss as part of those 32 tackles. He's a very talented player in the middle of that Bearcat defense.

Cincinnati will win if: They can get Jones flustered early. It's yet to be seen if the Sooner signal caller is better on the road this year, and he'll certainly have problems if the Bearcats can throw some good blitzes at him and take him out of his game from the get-go.

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