Here is everything you need to know about the Sooners upcoming game in Columbus in our Oklahoma at Ohio State preview.
6:30 p.m. Central Time, Saturday, Sept. 9, 2017, Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
TV: ABC (Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Maria Taylor)
Radio: Flagships KOMA 1520 AM & KRXO 107.7; Sirius 145/XM 195
QB Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield, as he admitted, was the biggest reason the Sooners lost to the Buckeyes in 2016. He completed only 53% of his passes to go along with 2 interceptions. Mayfield is without a doubt one of the top 5 players in all of college football, and he will have to play like it on Saturday. Ohio State has an unbelievable defensive line, and the senior quarterback will have to help his offensive line, by making some plays, as well as getting rid of the ball quickly when he can.
MLB Kenneth Murray
Murray is the first true freshman to start at this position for Oklahoma since 1974. The Sooners have a great secondary, but there is a lot of unknown on the front seven. Murray will have to play disciplined, and make plenty of plays, especially in the run game. If Murray can’t execute, the Buckeyes could gash the Sooners on the ground, once again.
Ohio State Buckeyes
RB J.K. Dobbins
J.T. Barrett may not play a better secondary all season long than he will this Saturday against the Sooners, and as such there needs to be lanes opened up through the running game. Dobbins will need to be the lightning to Mike Weber’s thunder. This will keep the Oklahoma defense honest and open things up for Barrett and the young Ohio State wide receivers. The Sooners do have some inexperience in their front seven, and that’s the place you want to attack OU.
DE Sam Hubbard
He will be matched up often with Oklahoma LT Orlando Brown. It should be a fun one-on-one, as both are projected as first-round selections in next year’s NFL Draft. Orlando Brown gave up zero sacks in 2016, and the Buckeyes only registered one sack a season ago in Norman. This time around that may not be enough. Hubbard has the challenge of getting past Brown, and then finishing off the pesky Baker Mayfield. But the Buckeyes need their All-American more than ever in this big showdown.
Oklahoma’s offensive line vs. Ohio State’s defensive line
Oklahoma’s offensive line is one of the best units in all of college football, and Ohio states defensive line boasts the same claim. This is the real deal. There are plenty of future NFL players on both lines, and ultimately the game may come down to which of these groups makes, or prevents, one or two extra plays.
J.T. Barrett vs. Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield is 23-4 record as the Sooners starting QB, and Barrett is 27-4 at Ohio State. These guys are legitimate Heisman contenders and two of the elite QBs in the country. Mayfield holds the edge as a passer, but Barrett is the better runner. Their leadership and experience bring a rare twist to this game that you won’t see often in college football these days.
Oklahoma 34 Ohio state 27
This is going to be an instant classic, and perhaps this game ends up in Sooner or Buckeye lore for generations to come, like their last meeting in Columbus. Oklahoma seems prepared and the Buckeyes are always stout, a game in the shoes with two elite, blue bloods of college football. I will also make the boldest prediction of all: This game is only the prequal.