The 2019 Oklahoma offense made its debut against the Houston Cougars on Sunday night and delivered the typical production that we’ve grown to expect from a Lincoln Riley coached team. Now for an encore the Sooners will face FCS opponent South Dakota in a game that should deliver much less drama. That doesn’t mean there won’t be a game plan and some specific keys to success. Here’s what I expect Oklahoma to focus on Saturday evening.
The Sooners finished the Houston relatively healthy and with a trip to the West Coast looming they obviously would like to remain that way. This is the reason why you shouldn’t expect Jalen Hurts, CeeDee Lamb, Trey Sermon, and a slew of other star players to go very deep into the game.
While the idea of seeing Jalen Hurts for only a half or so (maybe less) is a bit disheartening, Oklahoma fans should be pretty enthusiastic about seeing Spencer Rattler making his debut. Also, Rhamondre Stevenson is likely to receive more carries than he did in the opener and you can’t not be excited about that!
If there was a criticism of Jalen Hurts in the opener (besides the fumbles) it would be that he seemed to be hesitant to pull the trigger on a pass if the receiver wasn’t already wide open. While Oklahoma did have a bunch of receivers wide open at various times through the game, you still want the quarterback to trust his pass catchers to get where they need to be after the ball is in the air. Also, do we really want to see Hurts run the ball 16 times a game on the regular?
South Dakota was torched by Montana quarterback Dalton Sneed, in the season opener, to the tune of 430 yards and three touchdowns. Two Montana receivers, Samuel Akem and Samori Toure, combined for 300 yards and two touchdowns off nine receptions each. There should be plenty of potential for Oklahoma to be successful through the air on Saturday evening.
Despite dropping the game, South Dakota was pretty solid in their opener against Montana when it came to playing the run. The Griz averaged just 2.8 yards per carry against the Coyotes and mustered just 80 total rushing yards.
After combining for just 15 total carries in the opener against Houston, you’d like to see Trey Sermon and Kennedy Brooks get a decent workout against a defensive front that could pose a little bit of a challenge. Besides that, going back to remaining healthy, we’re going to want to see that clock continue to tick down without stopping in the second half.
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