As the Sooners roll into Hollywood this weekend the expectation is a continued confidence boost as they close out the non-conference portion of the 2019 football schedule. Waiting after the bye week will be a seemingly improved Texas Tech team, which means OU needs to be firing on all cylinders on each side of the ball.
On paper this matchup with the Bruins isn’t close. However, every college football fan can attest that games aren’t played on paper and perceived blowouts sometimes have a tendency to become uncomfortable. Here are some key players to keep an eye on from each sideline.
Jalen Hurts – One thing is absolutely certain about the most recent edition of Lincoln Riley’s offense – the head coach trusts his quarterback. Hurts clearly has the freedom to adjust plays and make the most of pass/run options (not to be confused with run/pass options). He leads the nation with a QBR of 93.9 and has accounted for 814 and 9 touchdowns through two games. The offense definitely goes through his hands.
Trey Sermon – The rise of Jalen Hurts as a runner has had an impact on the running backs. Sermon and Kennedy Brooks have only combined for 32 carries through two games, with Sermon accounting for 20 (nearly double to Brooks) of those. If this is the game where Oklahoma leans on their running backs a bit more than the trend shows Sermon as the one to get the bulk of the carries.
Charleston Rambo – He’s Oklahoma’s speed/big play threat in the receiving corps, and he’s often overlooked due to the attention given to CeeDee Lamb and Grant Calcaterra. On the season Rambo has two touchdowns and is averaging 22.5 yards per reception on six catches.
Erik Swenson & R.J. Proctor – The left side of Oklahoma’s offensive line has been under the microscope through the first two games. Last week they were plagued by penalties in a performance that left o-line coach Bill Bedenbaugh fuming.
The answer may be found in the return of injured redshirt sophomore Marquis Hayes but the timetable on his return is uncertain.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson – Chip Kelly’s offense hinges greatly on the play of the quarterback and so far Thompson-Robinson us under performing against sub par competition. On the season he’s completing passes at a 52.5% rate with three touchdowns to two interceptions. It’s safe to say that if he’s having a bad day then so is UCLA’s offense.
Demetric Felton – If there’s a player of equal or greater value to the UCLA offense than Dorian Thompson-Robinson then its Felton. He leads the team in both rushing and receiving yards and has scored two of the Bruins’ four touchdowns on the season.
Krys Barnes – The senior linebacker paces the Bruins in total tackles with 21 and has one of UCLA’s three recorded sacks. He’s also second on the team in tackles for loss with three.
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