The Oklahoma Sooners are putting it all on the line Saturday night against #3 Ohio State. OU has a load of high-caliber recruits visiting over the weekend and their potential commitment could hinge on what the scoreboard reads at the end of the fourth quarter.
Another thing at stake is a potential playoff run. A win and the Sooners are back in the mix but a loss puts them out of the playoff picture before conference play even begins. Needless to say, there’s a lot more riding on this game than just a win over the Big Ten. Here’s the path to victory for Oklahoma.
Run The Football
Yep, we’ve said this multiple times but the need to move the ball on the ground isn’t going to be more crucial than right now. Smash mouth football is really a Big 10 thing but it’s also the way to beat the Buckeyes. Effectively running the ball will not only keep the Ohio State defense off the field but it will also go into the teeth of the Buckeye defense. You hate to break a game of this magnitude down into simplicity but if Oklahoma runs the ball then they win.
Stop Curtis Samuel
This is most definitely easier said than done. Samuel is Ohio State’s leading receiver with 239 yards and two touchdowns on 14 receptions. He’s also second on the team in rushing yards and is averaging 7.7 yards per carry on twenty-one touches. He’ll remind a lot of Oklahoma fans of the way West Virginia used Tavon Austin to score in just about every way possible.
It’s not often that you’ll scheme a defense around a specific player who isn’t a quarterback but this is one of those times. J.T. Barrett gets a lot of talk, and rightfully so, but the key to the Ohio State offense is Samuel, hands down.
Win The Turnover Battle
Oklahoma has been on the short end of this statistic in too many big games recently. As was the same with the Houston game, the Sooners don’t want to give Ohio State extra possessions and they most certainly don’t want to kill their own drives.
The Buckeyes are bringing a young and inexperienced team on the road for the very first time. There’s legitimate potential here for the ball to get loose and gaining or losing a possession could make all the difference in a game that’s most likely going to be tight throughout.