In a clash of ranked opponents, the Oklahoma Sooners make the short drive to Stillwater. The Oklahoma State Cowboys await the opportunity to upset the reigning conference champions. Spark will fly as many expect an old school brand of football to play out on Saturday. Hoping to keep the winning streak alive, here are three keys to the game for Lincoln Riley and the offense.
It should come as no surprise that turnovers remain at the forefront of the conversation. Over the course of the season, the Sooners have turned the ball over a total of 16 times. That number would not carry the same concern if the defense found a way to force turnovers on a consistent basis. However, OU has only recorded nine takeaways this year. Knowing Oklahoma has escaped three times with wins despite egregious errors on the field, how long can the trend continue? It’s best to avoid turnovers all together.
Run the Ball
In the previous outing, Oklahoma showcased the ability to adapt while fielding a power run style of offense. Expecting a similar scheme on Saturday, running the ball consistently not only allows the Sooners to control the clock. It also limits the damage and effectiveness of Chuba Hubbard on the other side of the equation.
Defensively, the Cowboys allow 139 yards per game on the ground. Yet, the Sooners collect roughly 258 on each outing behind the efforts of Jalen Hurts and Kennedy Brooks. With a stable full of big backs including Remondre Stevenson, there’s no denying the strength of this team. Something must give when the two collide in a highly anticipated pairing.
Convert on 3rd Down
It’s no secret that the most successful offenses convert on third down regardless of the situation. Compared to the rest of the conference, the Sooners turn those opportunities into a new set of downs most frequently. Facing a mere 116 third down situations, the offense successfully converted on 60 of those — or 51.72% to lead the league. If Lincoln Riley leans heavily on the rushing attack like many expect, will OU have the same level of success? In order to win the contest, the program must come close to — if not eclipse — the 50% mark.