Setting the Stage: OU vs. Tulsa

High-powered offense set to square off in Sooners' non-conference finale

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

Tulsa (2-0) at No. 16 Oklahoma (2-0)

When: 11 a.m.

Biggest question - - How will the secondary hold up against Tulsa’s vertical passing attack?

Oklahoma doesn’t have to be perfect on the back end Saturday, but if they are good, it would go a long way to settling some serious concerns for Big 12 Conference play.

If the Sooners can hold Tulsa below its averages, that’ll be a pretty good sign. Don’t expect another sub-125 passing yard allowed performance, but anything south of 300 should come off like a win. The bigger key to answered this question is limiting the number of big plays that Tulsa can hit.

If Oklahoma can hold the Golden Hurricane to fewer that three plays of more than 20 yards, that would be a huge success. It’s all about tackling and keeping the play in front of the safeties.

An educated guess

Joe Mixon, Sterling Shepard and Samaje Perine each finish with more than 100 all-purpose yards – not counting punt return yardage.

Sure, this might not seem like an all that out-of-this-world kind of prediction, but it hasn’t happened yet and it’s something Oklahoma will need to count on when Big 12 play begins. The Sooners will need this trio to be productive at the same when TCU comes to Norman or when Oklahoma travels down to Waco.

Tulsa is the perfect opponent for all three to find their groove within the offense, because it’s not nearly the same groove as last year.

Player to watch

Jordan Thomas - How far has this secondary come under first-year coach Kerry Cooks? We're likely to find out a bit more this weekend in a primer for what the Sooners will see in conference play. Thomas is going to have to step up this weekend against the best passing attack OU has seen this season.

Prediction

Hite - It doesn’t take Oklahoma very long to ding the scoreboard Saturday. The Sooners hit it early, scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter. But Tulsa doesn’t go down easily. The Sooners never lead by more than two scores in the first half before breaking away in the third quarter – allowing the first team to rest. Oklahoma remains unbeaten, 51-24.

Przybylo - Offensive line is still a mystery, especially with the unknown status of Ty Darlington and Nila Kasitati. Regardless, OU does score its first touchdown in the first quarter and is able to have a 200-yard rushing game. Sparked by early run success, the passing game rolls in the second half as OU cruises to a 41-17 win.


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