"The Crystal Ball" Week 2

NORMAN, Okla. — We're just hours away from hearing the words Sooner fans have been waiting for since last November: "It's football time in Oklahoma!"

It's going to be a beautiful day in Norman for the game, the tailgating should be fantastic and hopefully the fans will be loud for a little while and let's face it most fans will be back outside partying before halftime.

Florida A&M Preview

Your No. 5 ranked Oklahoma Sooners (1-0) make their home opener against the Florida A&M Rattlers (0-1) tonight at 6 p.m. at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.

The Rattlers enter tonight's game with little chance on paper to even stay competitive against Oklahoma. FAMU is coming off a tough loss in the 14th Annual Big John Merritt Classic to Tennessee State 17-14.

FAMU has high hopes for the rest of the season with an eye towards the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship coming off a 7-4 season. The Rattlers have their eyes on the big prize looking for a berth in the FCS Championship playoffs.

Leading the Rattlers in to Norman is sophomore QB Damien Fleming who threw for 119 yards, going 15-for-30 with one TD and one INT. Fleming also scrambled and carried the ball for an additional 52 yards. In the backfield with Fleming is senior running back Eddie Rocker. Rocker picked up 90 yards on just 13 carries.

The Rattlers were balanced on offense last week against Tennessee State, throwing the ball 32 times and running it 31 times during their 63 offensive plays. FAMU tends to run the ball on first down and open up the playbook the rest of the series.

Florida A&M will get behind preseason All-MEAC right guard Steven Robinson in their rushing attack. The Rattlers will try to hide their shifty-speedster 5'8 running back Rocker amongst the offensive line trying to use the Sooners speed against them.

Look for Rattlers 6'3 wide receiver Travis Harvey to be the spark in the passing game. Harvey led the team in receptions last week but don't overlook Lenworth Lemon, who was the FAMU leading receiver last year.

Florida A&M will have to work hard on defense after giving up 401 total yards to Tennessee State. Senior linebacker Brandon Hepburn came up huge last week for FAMU and will lead the charge up front on the defense. Hepburn recorded 1.5 sacks getting good pressure on the quarterback along with 10 tackles.

Players to Watch:

Florida A&M
RB Eddie Rocker – Florida A&M had to have watched some game footage. If FAMU can exploit the Sooners speed and Rocker can find space in the open field he could have a big day.

DB's John Oye Ojo and Devontae Terry Johnson – Florida A&M will have its hands full guarding the Sooners wide outs. The duo was part of a unit that gave up 263 yards to Tennessee State. These are a different breed of wide receivers they will face today, if Landry Jones has time and he will, these two will have a long day.

Oklahoma
QB Landry Jones – Last week, Jones had some timing issues. Tonight he shouldn't have the same issues, if he does then there is reason to panic in the Sooner Nation.

RB Dominique Whaley – Whaley is still returning to game speed and form after his injury. He is another important cog in the Sooners offensive machine that needs some greasing. Whaley needs to have a big game or face the possibility of having Damien Williams breathing down his neck to start.

DT David King – King played nearly every down last week and wasn't gassed after the game, King shouldn't have to go too long into this one, but if he does there could be concern for durability. King is not an every down tackle like Gerald McCoy and Adrian Taylor and should not be playing as one.

The Crystal Ball Says…

Why did the Rattlers agree to play this game? They don't have a chance. Not on paper, not on a video game, not against the second string and probably not against the third.

Players I predicted to get their first touchdown last week get theirs this week in WR's Justin Brown and Trey Metoyer. Whaley and Williams will get a lot of carries and so will QB's Blake Bell and even Drew Allen.

While Coach Stoops may feign ignorance to what happened in Stillwater last week, I assure you others have and so has he. This will not turn into the debacle that happened last week up north. After the first few series of the third quarter look for the Sooners to take knees and down the ball. I'd be surprised to see the Sooners score more the 70.

This is an extremely weak season opener for Oklahoma thanks to conference realignment and the addition of Notre Dame to the schedule. I'm not sure how this helps either team going into conference play over the next two weekends.

This game will be a stat sheet filler for Oklahoma and demoralizing bruiser for Florida A&M.

Oklahoma 69 – Florida A&M 6


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