Since 2011, Oklahoma is 4-0 against West Virginia and has won those games by an average margin of victory of 10.3 points per game.
The Sooners are coming off of a dominating home win over Baylor 45-24. Oklahoma is averaging 44 points per game and has been very balanced this year rushing for 219 yards per game on the ground while passing for 338 yards per game through the air this season.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield has emerged as one of the best signal callers in college football and has completed 72% of his passes for 3,212 yards with 33 touchdowns and 7 interceptions this year. Mayfield is a gritty competitor that at times forces throws into coverage but throws one of the best deep balls in the game. He is has shown the ability to break contain and make plays with his feet. However, he main strength is standing in the pocket and locating his receivers over the middle of the field. He will need to take what the defense gives him on underneath routes this Saturday and cannot get impatient if West Virginia plays umbrella coverage and forces him to work down the field.
Running back Joe Mixon is a lethal back who can back who can both catch and catch the edge of the defense. On the year, Mixon leads the team with 937 rushing yards averaging 7.0 yards per carry with 6 touchdowns.
Samje Perine is the big back who can move the football between the tackles. Perine has rushed for 575 yards on the year averaging 4.8 yards per carry with 8 touchdowns. Both he and Mixon force opposing defenses to account for the run on every play which opens up play action for Mayfield in the passing attack.
Wide receiver DeDe Westbrook is one of the best wide receivers in college football and catches the football at the highest point. He leads the team with 68 receptions for 1,254 yards with 14 touchdowns and can take the top off of the defense on each and every play.
Defensively, the Sooners are allowing 30 points per game and have been solid in run support allowing 132 rushing yards per game this year. The weak part of the unit has been the secondary, which is giving up 296 passing yards per game to opposing offenses and has struggled in man to man coverage this year. That happens to be the highest total since prior to the 2008 season and must get better down the stretch if the Sooners are to make it to a high profile bowl game.
The defense has recorded 22 sacks and enters this game -3 in turnover margin and -3 in turnover margin on the road.
The Mountaineers are coming off of a solid road win over Texas in Austin last Saturday 24-20. The offense is averaging 32 points per game and has rushed for 211 yards per game along with passing for 285 yards per game this year.
Quarterback Skylar Howard has completed 64% of his passes for 2,562 yards with 17 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. Howard is confident quarterback that has shown a propensity to bounce back from adversity. He must be able to stretch Oklahoma’s defense which will open up running lanes for both running backs Justin Crawford and Rushel Shell later in the game. West Virginia must be able to pass on first and second downs to loosen up the Sooners front seven.
Shell and Crawford are a solid duo that has rushed for 1,104 total yards with 9 rushing scores. Crawford is the scat back who can makes defenders miss in space while Shell is the tough inside runner that can wear down the Oklahoma defense late in the game.
Wide receivers Daikiel Shorts and Shelton Gibson are the two most important players to the West Virginia offense this weekend. Their ability to stretch Oklahoma’s defense over the top will be critical for the Mountaineers to have success and generate points. Both players have combined for 86 receptions for 1,454 yards with 10 touchdowns.
Defensively, the Mountaineers have done a solid job of forcing teams to work down the field and kick field goals instead of giving up touchdowns. West Virginia is allowing 20 points per game and is giving up 156 rushing yards to opposing offenses.
West Virginia is giving up 253 yards per game and has recorded only 17 sacks on the season. The unit must find a way to pressure Baker Mayfield into quick throws underneath coverage.
West Virginia has allowed opposing offenses to convert 42% of their third down attempts and enters this game even in turnover margin.
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