The Oklahoma Sooners have gone from the penthouse to the outhouse in a hurry. Undefeated two weeks ago, the Sooners have dropped two straight games to fall from championship contention. Oklahoma’s odds to make the college football playoffs wager has been pulled from the board. But the No. 17 Sooners can’t feel sorry for themselves. They can still win 10 games and land a spot in a pretty solid bowl game. But West Virginia isn’t going to be a pushover. The Mountaineers are playing well and will bring their ‘A’ game to Norman, Okla., this Saturday. The West Virginia vs Oklahoma preview shows the Sooners are favored by 13 points, and the total on the game is 58.
Day/Time:Saturday, November 11, 7:00 p.m. ET
Location: Memorial Stadium, Norman, Oklahoma
Line: Oklahoma -13 | Total: 58 Streaming: FOX
Mountaineers Live or Die With Rushing Game
When you play West Virginia, you know you’re going to see a steady dose of runs. It’s what the Mountaineers do best, and it works. West Virginia runs the ball 45 times per game and throws 26 times. The Mountaineers are 5-1 when rushing for at least 160 yards per game and 1-2 when they don’t. West Virginia is averaging 4.9 yards per rush against teams that allow 4.4 yards per carry. So it’s working for them.
There’s no need to change anything. But it’s not as though the Mountaineers cannot throw the ball. West Virginia throws for 201 yards per game and is averaging 7.8 yards per pass attempt. But it’s the running game that has helped the Mountaineers to a 31.4 points per game average the most.
The defense is allowing 24.3 points per game to teams averaging 27.1 points. West Virginia is a better team against the pass than the run. But the Sooners will test them on the ground and through the air. Overall, West Virginia is holding teams to about 15 total yards less than they average. That isn’t due to playing great defense. But it is due to being on the field less than 27 minutes per game due to the team’s running game.
The Mountaineers are tied with Oklahoma for second placing in the Big 12 Conference NCAAF standings. But there are five teams at 4-2, with Texas and Oklahoma State at 5-1. If the Big 12 Conference championship game teams are decided by tie-breaker, it’s going to be a mess.
Sooners Need to Regroup Quickly
The NCAAF scores and odds haven’t gone well for Oklahoma backers the past three weeks. Before losing its last two games, the Sooners defeated UCF 31-29 as 17-point favorites. So it’s three straight games without a cover and back-to-back losses. Oklahoma didn’t necessarily play bad in either loss. But the Sooners didn’t come up with the plays when the game was on the line. That’s something the team needs to fix quickly.
The Sooners are averaging 39.9 points per game against teams, allowing 25.7 points. That means Oklahoma should be able to score some points in this game. The Sooners run the ball more than they pass. But they don’t run as well as West Virginia, but are a better throwing team. Oklahoma might want to mix it up a little bit more against the West Virginia defense.
Oklahoma’s defense has been battered a little bit the past month, but it still holds teams to 10 fewer points than average. Oklahoma allows 19.8 points per game to teams scoring 29.8 points. Oklahoma is especially tough against the run, limiting teams to 3.7 yards per carry.
What to Expect
The West Virginia vs Oklahoma preview knows the Mountaineers are going to run the football. That much is a given. Oklahoma is solid defending the run, but the Mountaineers are going to try and do what they do best. West Virginia isn’t a good enough passing team to move the ball with any consistency if forced to throw frequently. So West Virginia needs a decent start, as it’s not a team designed to return from a big deficit.
Oklahoma has to put the past couple of weeks behind them and come out and play Sooner football. That means mix up the run and the pass and keep the West Virginia defense off balance. If the Sooners can keep the Mountaineers guessing defensively, they’ll score plenty of points.
Who to Bet On?
Oklahoma’s frame of mind is the key to this game. If the Sooners just come out and play football, there’s a good chance they’ll win by at least two touchdowns. If not, West Virginia can make a game of it. But the Sooners are better on both sides of the ball if they’re ready to play.
The West Virginia vs Oklahoma preview is expecting the Sooners to take away the West Virginia running game a bit, forcing the Mountaineers to throw more than they like. That’s going to favor the Sooners and possibly help over bettors. But the play here is Oklahoma -13. The Sooners run defense should be the difference in the game.