Five Keys To Beating WVU And One Not So Bold Prediction

The five keys to a Sooner win in Morgantown, plus one safe prediction

Convert on third down. OU can make any offense look like a model of efficiency; the best way to avoid that is to keep them off the field. West Virginia is averaging 502 yards per game and scoring almost 40 points per game. Quarterback Will Grier threw for 364 yards and two touchdowns against Oklahoma State. We know Oklahoma's defense is going to get touched. If Taylor Cornelius can throw for over 500 yards on the Sooners, Grier should get at least 600. Convert on third down, and make sure Grier and company's touches are limited.

Feed Kennedy Brooks. Jeremiah will spell Brooks from time to time against West Virginia, and there is a chance that Trey Sermon and T.J. Pledger could both see the field. Still, Brooks is your most healthy back. He's proven he can be a workhorse by carrying the ball 25 times last week in the win over Kansas, rushing for 171 yards, two touchdowns and averaging seven yards per carry. OU needs to have as many time-consuming drives as they can deliver. This game is all about keeping the defense off the field.

Keep your emotions under control. We say this about Oklahoma every week, but especially this week in Morgantown, it's not hard to fathom the Sooners accruing fifity yards or more in unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. In talking with Curtis Bolton this week, you get the sense that Oklahoma has a lack of respect for West Virginia; Bolton was quick to point out that despite the fact this game can get chippy it's not a rivalry and OU has won the last three Big 12 championships. The Mountaineers are 0-6 vs. OU since joining the Big 12, and you can bet they sense this is about as good a year as any to get the Sooners. Another thing we say every week to beat OU is to get under their skin. Robert Barnes and Bolton both say the Mountaineers like to talk smack; it might be wise for the Sooners to invest in some earplugs. Also, it's very apparent Oklahoma wants another crack at Texas. The Horns fate will be decided by the time OU/WVU kick. Focus on the task at hand and don't worry about Texas till the time comes. Sounds simple, but college kids have a way of losing focus in moments like this.

Give us just two or three stops. This is pretty pathetic, but what more can we ask of the defense? It's hard to see the line getting any pressure on Grier, and the Sooners may allow David Sills V and Gary Jennings Jr. to recreate the day Tylan Wallace had two weeks ago. Even Curtis Bolton says OU is playing just good enough to win and won't promise that the defense will get any better. If they can accept who they are, then we should at least learn to live with it and enjoy one of the most prolific offenses in history.

A turnover would be helpful. It might seem redundant but if the defense could get one pick on a batted ball, or a forced fumble, or, heck, a couple of good plays in the special teams like last week's punt block or a return, that might just be enough to get over the hump. Sooners are three-point favorite according to Vegas Insider, which seems about right. I'll take OU to cover in an anxiety-filled few hours 49-45.

Comments