SoonersIllustrated.com is going to set the stage every week, breaking down Oklahoma’s upcoming game during the 2016 season.
No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0) at No. 14 Oklahoma Sooners (1-1)
When: 6:30 p.m.
Biggest question - - Which Oklahoma offense shows up?
We’ve seen the two sides of Oklahoma’s attack. Against Houston, it looked just about as bad as it could after the first quarter. Against Louisiana-Monroe, it found a rhythm that produced some excellent play calling and decision-making. There was a clear difference in skill level between Week 1 and Week 2. Oklahoma needs the Week 2 offense against an opponent probably a little better than its Week 1 foe.
Calling running plays just for the sake of running the ball won’t be enough. The Sooners need to get results on the field. No matter the plays that are being sent in from the sideline, Oklahoma’s execution on the field has to be better.
An educated guess: Oklahoma has yet to pick off a pass, and Ohio State is averaging 4.5 forced turnovers per game and has multiple defensive touchdowns. It only makes sense that one of those two trends finally ends. Turnovers cost Oklahoma severely against Houston. It was probably the reason Oklahoma lost.
Expect the Sooners to pick off J.T. Barrett at least once: Maybe Parrish Cobb gets his first career interception in a big game that cements him. Or maybe it’s Jordan Thomas who makes Barrett pay for testing him even once. Ohio State goes without a forced turnover as Baker Mayfield makes good decisions and an emphasis on protecting the ball pays off for the Sooners.
Player to watch: Yea, good luck with this one. A sole player? On a field with these two teams? Absolute guess as to who will become the vital piece to this puzzle. An early favorite is Mykel Jones, but it's tough to know 100 percent if he'll be involved in the plan enough to make that type of difference. So we're going to go the other side of the ball and say middle linebacker Jordan Evans. He grew up in OU's backyard watching games like this, watching moments like. On Saturday night, he'll create his own.
Hite – This game won’t disappoint. It’ll be won in the trenches, but it’ll be dominated by defense early. Expect just three combined touchdowns through the first half before things finally break out in the second half. Oklahoma scores to open the half, but it just erases an Ohio State lead. In the fourth quarter, Ohio State’s offensive line takes over, and it’s defensive line finds cracks in the Sooners’ front. The Buckeyes sack Mayfield twice in the fourth quarter and rush for 80 yards, scoring twice. Ohio State gets a big stop and holds on to a 31-24 victory.
Przybylo - The question is simple and has been posed above. Have Lincoln Riley and Baker Mayfield figured things out? Learned from what happened in Houston? My answer is a yes, and that's why this will be one to remember. Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon got the train rolling, and then Baker Mayfield brings it on home with a clutch second half performance to give OU a much needed major out of conference victory against the Buckeyes. Let's go with, oh, 45-41.