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Oklahoma Sooners

Forget Kyler vs. Tua, Pay Attention To The Battle In The Trenches

M. Hofeld

matthofeld

As the countdown clock to an Oklahoma/Alabama Orange Bowl matchup. Quarterbacks Kyler Murray and Tua Tagovailoa continue to headline the promotions for the College Football Playoff semifinal game but there’s another key battle that you’re going to want to keep an eye on.

When it comes to offensive line play no one is doing it better than Oklahoma right now. Winners of the Joe Moore Award, the offensive line has paved the way for an potentially record-breaking 8.7 yards per play.
OU also leads the nation with 11.6 yards per pass attempt, and ranks second by averaging 6.7 yards per rush. No FBS team has finished in the top two nationally in both categories in the same year since 1994 .

With four guys who could find themselves drafted this spring anchoring Oklahoma’s offensive line, the Sooners are the only FBS team to record 40 passing and 40 rushing touchdowns this season. Across the board OU’s offensive line is 6-4.5/316 but you also can’t measure the tenacity and straight nastiness that they play with. Just ask Texas defensive end Breckyn Hager about that.

When it comes to defensive line play there isn’t a better player in the country than Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams. Projected to be a Top 10 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, the redshirt sophomore is flanked by defensive ends Isaiah Buggs and Raekwon Davis to produce the nation’s tenth-ranked overall defense.

The Tide have produced 42 quarterback sacks this season and are holding opponents to just 14.8 points per game. Opposing teams are running for just 117 yards per game on average. Quarterbacks are averaging 5.86 yards per attempt and 178.38 yards per game and have been picked off 14 times. Bama’s defensive front makes all of those stats possible because of their dominance at the line of scrimmage.

This is a classic battle of the titans and you’ll be a fool not to keep an eye on it. With an offense that scores a nation’s best 49.5 points per game, the Sooners have a punchers chance against the defending national champions. How much of a chance though depends on what happens between Oklahoma’s offensive line and Alabama’s defensive line.

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