Sooners Vs. Tigers Pregame: Breaking it Down

Sooners Illustrated digs deeper into this weekend's marquee matchup between No. 1 OU and No. 11 Missouri.

The Matchup:

After starting 6-0, the Sooners snagged the No. 1 spot in the initial Bowl Championship Series rankings, following a 52-0 drumming of Iowa State in Norman last weekend. But the Tigers are also coming off an impressive victory, winning 30-9 last week on the road at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas over the Texas A&M Aggies. So that sets the stage for a game against two teams that haven't met since the 2008 Big 12 Championship when OU crushed Mizzou 65-21. The Sooners have won seven straight in the series and 19 of the last 20.

OU players to watch:

1. WR Cameron Kenney--He regains the starting spot he had at the beginning of the year after Dejuan Miller suffered a torn meniscus earlier in the week. Kenney is fifth on the team with nine receptions for 125 yards and a touchdown, and his average of 13.9 yards per reception is second on the team only to tight end Trent Ratterree. He will be expected to step up his level of play, although it has been inconsistent at times this year.

2. LB Travis Lewis-The leader of this defense has racked up a team-high 24 tackles over the past two games, including 14 in last weekend's victory over Iowa State. And he has been the anchor in keeping the Sooners grounded since they were named the nation's top ranked team, saying that it doesn't matter at this point in the season.

OU will win if: It limits Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert's production in the fourth quarter. The Sooners have had some struggles in the fourth quarter this season, but clamped down on ISU in that regard in their latest outing. If OU has the Tigers on the ropes, it must not let them back in it.

Mizzou players to watch:

1. QB Blaine Gabbert--He doesn't have wowing numbers, but Gabbert has been efficient, nonetheless. The junior signal caller has completed 66.5 percent of his passes for nearly 1,600 yards and a 10-3 touchdown/interception ratio. Gabbert is averaging just more than 265.2 passing yards per contest this year.

2. LB Zaviar Gooden--The redshirt sophomore leads the team with 40 tackles, including three for loss. And he also has the team lead with a pair of fumble recoveries. Expect him to play a big role again Saturday for this Missouri defense.

Mizzou will win if:It can get ahead early and get the "Zou" into the game. Given the magnitude of this game, it is going to be a rowdy environment, and the Tigers have a huge advantage if they get on the board first. But they will have to beat the odds against the Sooners, who have scored first in five of their first six games.

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