Five Questions: OU Vs. Cincy

This week's opponent will present a much stiffer test for the Oklahoma offense and defense, as Cincinnati is a program that is on the rise. This is a marquee match-up for their program and they enter the game with upset expectations. What are some of the pressing questions that OU needs to answer to pull out a win?

1. Can the OU defense shut down Cincy's zone-read offense?

This will be the biggest question on how this game will turn out. A lot of responsibility falls on the defensive end to stay disciplined and not give the play away, but this will also be a huge test for the linebacker corp as well to be where they need to be and do what they need to do if something gets past the line of scrimmage.

Cincinnati will use this offense to open up some things downfield in the vertical passing game, and they love to look for their big tight end Dominique Goodman, who had 10 catches a week ago, to make big plays.

I guarantee you that the Cincy staff has been scouring the West Virginia tapes in the hopes that they have the athletes to exploit the same weaknesses that WVA did in their 48-to-28 win over the Sooners in the Fiesta Bowl victory in January.

In week one Cincinnati racked up 557 total yards last week and OU only allowed 36.

Something has to give…

2. Will OU score on a return?

Special teams play can sometimes separate a good team from a great team, and OU has an absolute abundance of exciting weapons.

Last week Bob Stoops seemed to call off the dogs after the Sooners got off to a quick start, so that there were no unneeded injuries or penalties on a return, but there are some big playmakers on both the punt return and kick return units.

Punt return man Dominique Franks has the chance to make something happen anytime that he gets his hands on the ball and we all know how dangerous Juaquin Iglesias is returning kicks.

It will also be interesting to see if Ryan Broyles and/or DeMarco Murray get involved with the return game this week.

3. What happens when you put two high-speed and high-powered offenses on the field?

Texas Tech fans know all about being able to put up big offensive numbers and still not winning the game because their defense just has no gas left in the tank to get a big stop at the end of the game.

This game could be dominated by OU. They have a clear advantage up front on both sides of the ball and could wear Cincy down quickly, but OU could also get a lesson along the way on how to play at a fast pace, after all the Bearcats have been doing this for awhile.

They have a quarterback with experience and an innovative coach, who has one of the best offensive minds in the college game. It should be a fun game to watch and with two no-huddle offenses on the field there should be plenty of offensive plays.

4. How will the defensive backs perform?

To be honest the OU defensive backfield did not get much of a test last week, so they are still a question mark.

Dominique Franks batted down three balls and the Sooners held UTC to three completions, so they got off to a solid start, but it will be a guarantee that the Bearcats are going to perform at a much higher level.

Cincy will test the boundaries and they will try to exploit OU over the top a few times as well, so safeties Nic Harris and Lendy Holmes will get a chance to prove that they are solid in their coverage assignments.

5. Can Chris Brown have yet another multi-touchdown game?

Chris Brown has been doing a tremendous job scoring touchdowns so far in his career at Oklahoma.

He now has six multi-touchdown games, and got the 2008 year started with a bang by scoring three times.

The best defensive linemen for the Bearcats is defensive tackle Terrill Byrd who has unbelievable quickness for a player that goes about 6'1, 290. The best way to neutralize his presence may be to run straight at him, and no other back on the Sooners' roster can run in-between the tackles like Chris Brown.

He may have already established himself as a potential premier NCAA back, but this game could present a breakout opportunity.


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