Setting the stage: No. 4 OU at West Virginia

OU and West Virginia ready to roll for their first game in conference this season.

SoonersIllustrated.com is going to set the stage every week breaking down Oklahoma’s game during the 2014 season.

No. 4 OU (3-0, 0-0) at West Virginia (2-1, 0-0)

When: 6:30 p.m. CST

OU’s biggest question going into the game

How big of a loss will not having Keith Ford be for OU? Nobody is discounting the talent of Alex Ross or Samaje Perine, but Ford seems to have that certain intangible.

Whenever it has felt like OU has needed a play in the running game, it’s Ford’s name that gets brought up first. And his value as a receiver goes without saying through the first three games.

In a road environment, establishing the run is so crucial, but the Sooners are going to have to do so without their best all-around back.

If Perine and/or Ross can’t handle the load, things could get interesting in a hurry in Morgantown on Saturday night.

West Virginia’s biggest question going into the game

Will Clint Trickett be able to have the same type of success he’s had during the first three games? His numbers don’t even tell the story of what he has meant to the Mountaineers offense so far.

But Trickett hasn’t always been able to stay healthy, and he’s going to face a defense that is enjoying having unofficial team meetings in the offensive backfield.

Tennessee’s Justin Worley showed all the grit and toughness in the world, and it’s likely the Sooners will bring the house against Trickett, too.

Will he be up to the task? Or will he wilt under the constant pressure from OU that comes from so many different angles and defenders?

Quotable

“That’s the key for all our players. We really want them to be able to play without thinking and to play naturally and we do so much work during the week before Saturday so before Saturday comes they can just play and relax and enjoy the moment. These games are designed to be fun. When you’re not worried about what to do, you can really play hard and play aggressively and play fast and that’s what our goal is offensively.” B> OU co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell

Breakout player

Look up and down the defense and there’s nothing but breakout players. But this week going with Julian Wilson. Two years ago he was a middle linebacker in Morgantown. This year he’ll show why he wanted to be moved to cornerback and make another big play in the second half.

Prediction

OU 31, West Virginia 20. Even though it’s a three-headed rushing attack, the loss of Keith Ford is felt in a major way in this one and Sooners can’t get it going on the ground. With the game still in question late in the third quarter, Trevor Knight connects with Sterling Shepard to give OU some breathing room and its first road conference win of the season.


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