Will Oklahoma be ready for the Texas A&M rushing attack?
So far at home the Oklahoma defense has gave up a total of 190 yards rushing to their opponents offense in four games. A&M will enter the game averaging 239 yards on the ground per game behind a powerful rushing duo of Michael Goodson and Jorvorskie Lane, so something has to give.
In the Aggies six wins they have averaged 291 yards per game, but in their three losses they have been held to an average of 135 yards, so it looks like the key to this game will definitely be how the OU defense controls the ground attack.
"We're going to do whatever it takes to win the football game," A&M offensive coordinator Les Koening said earlier this week. "Against Nebraska we ran the ball and against Kansas we threw the ball pretty well. Defenses are going to do things to stop you."
It would be easy to think that the A&M gameplan would most likely be to pound the ball early and take some deep shots over the middle of the field to try to create some big plays to help them gain and advantage on the road, but if the OU defense can stymie the rushing attack in the initial phases it could be a long day for the Aggie offense.
Has the off week helped the Sooners get more prepared to hold on to the ball.
It is fact that A&M is a good enough football team that they will certainly capitalize on costly mistakes. You can not turn the football over against good teams, and OU has clearly had some struggles in that department that past couple of weeks.
Against Iowa State the Sooners turned the ball over three times, and the week before against Missouri they turned it over twice, and the coaching staff clearly wanted to concentrate on protecting the ball with a week off.
"The turnovers, to me, are the biggest factor," Stoops said following the Iowa State game. "We've got our off-week so maybe we'll just buckle down and get some things worked out this week."
You really have to believe that the Sooners have listened to the coach's advice and worked hard the past two weeks and prepared themselves mentally to try to limit those costly turnovers.
Will Texas A&M be emotionally ready for Oklahoma?
We all know that Texas A&M head coach Dennis Franchione is on the chopping block. As a matter of fact most of the people that seem to be in the loop at College Station are probably putting money down on the over/under on when it is going to happen. Last week's home loss to Kansas may have indeed sealed Coach Fran's fate, but it is not like this squad has not had that pressure on them since the day they arrived.
As a matter of fact with a win in Norman, A&M is right back in to the Big 12 South title hunt and a possible showdown in the Big 12 Championship game. It would be hard for anyone to get rid of a coach that wins his conference and eight or nine games in a season, so you would think if Franchione still has this team in his corner that they will be fighting for him and the Big 12.
"I think the players know where they're at," Franchione explained. We can't play OSU, Missouri and Texas more than once, thank God, but we can play OU this week and that's really all we can do this week. That's been our mantra this year is to be 1-0 each week.
A&M has a reason to believe that they can win this football game. They feature a pounding running attack, a senior leader of the offense in Stephen McGee, and a big time playmaker in Martellus Bennett, so they have the makings in place to pull an upset at any time, but at the same time it is going to be rough for this team to answer the bell emotionally if OU pops them hard early.
Will OU cover the -21 point spread and romp A&M.
Well one thing is for sure... If the players have not given up on Franchione and his staff Vegas certainly believes otherwise.
It just does not seem like OU has merited a big number considering the way they have played the past few weeks. Oklahoma has had some big games this year, but they are 0-3-1 against the spread the last four weeks coming in to this game. The past three games in this series have come down to a total of
Despite the slow streak Oklahoma has had an off week to prepare for Texas A&M and get a little rest which will help against a punishing ground game. The Oklahoma defense has been soft against the pass coming in to the game ranked 71st in the nation, but A&M is much more comfortable with their offensive schemes at moving the ball on the ground.
When it comes down to it, it is clearly a mismatch on both sides of the ball statistically. The OU rush defense should contain A&M. While they are not ranked highly the OU pass defense is good enough and matches up pretty well. They should play good enough to keep the Aggies from tacking too many points on the board.
People are going to talk about the A&M rushing attack, but do not forget that the Sooners' are pretty good at moving the ball on the ground and the A&M defense has not proven that it can really stop anybody that can move the ball effectively. Throw in some big plays in the passing game and OU should be able to score easily. They just have too many weapons.
It could be pretty close to the number, but weighing in all of the factors it makes sense that OU is a much better position to win this game going away.
A&M could have a good game if they can get the ball to Bennett over the middle of the field for some big plays, but he has yet to emerge as a real threat in the offense.
Prediction: Oklahoma 38, Texas A&M 16