Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 match up in our Oklahoma vs. West Virginia preview and prediction.
Saturday, September 25, 2021; 6:30 pm Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium; Norman, OK
TV: ABC (Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, and Holly Rowe)
Radio: Sooner Sports Network (Toby Rowland and Teddy Lehman); Mountaineer Sports Network (Tony Caridi and Dwight Wallace).
Spread: OU -16.5
Fun Fact: The Sooners and Mountaineers were 2-2 in meetings before WVU joined the Big 12 Conference in 2012. Since then, OU has won all eight meetings as conference mates. WVU is 5-3 in Big 12 Conference openers; OU is 18-7 when opening league play in the conference.
West Virginia Mountaineers
QB Jarret Doege
This year, the redshirt senior has completed 60.2 percent of his passes for 729 yards with a 6/3 TD/INT ratio. His average passing yardage output has declined by 16 yards compared to a year ago.
Running back Leddie Brown
The senior has averaged 88 yards (5.2 per carry) per game this season with a total of five touchdowns. Brown also has caught 9 passes for 92 yards and scored once. He was an All-Big 12 back in 2020 by rushing for 1,010 yards and nine TDs, and he also had 32 receptions for 202 yards and a couple of scores. Brown rushed for 161 yards and a touchdown (80 yards) against the Hokies last Saturday.
Kick Return Specialist Winston Wright
Wright is second in the nation with an average of 43 yards per kickoff return with one TD. The junior also plays wide receiver, where he has hauled in 10 passes for 107 yards.
Linebacker Jared Bartlett
Bartlett, a redshirt sophomore, earned the Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week honor last week. He recorded a season-high five tackles, including a game-high and career-high three sacks in the Mountaineers’ 27-21 win over No. 15 Virginia Tech. Bartlett also forced and recovered a fumble, and had a quarterback hurry.
Tight End/H-Back Jeremiah Hall
The redshirt senior is one of the best offensive players in a crimson uniform. A punishing blocker, he doesn’t have the flashy numbers (eight carries for 34 yards). An All-Big 12 first-teamer a year ago, Hall this year has eight receptions for 41 yards and a touchdown (one-yarder in OU’s 23-16 win over Nebraska). He has a career 44 receptions for 464 yards and 9 TDs.
DBs Pat Fields and D.J. Graham
Speaking of flash, senior safety Pat Fields and sophomore D.J. Graham had the most memorable moments vs. the Huskers last week. Nebraska scored a touchdown late in the third quarter to narrow its gap to 14-9, but noseguard Isiah Coe blocked the PAT, which fell into White’s hands in the end zone. White blazed 100-plus yards down the east sideline for two points and took away the Huskers’ momentum.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Graham leaped up to make a one-handed grab to intercept Nebraska’s pass at the OU 3-yard line. The Huskers did burn Oklahoma for 289 passing yards, but the Sooners’ secondary will have play better this weekend vs. Doege, who is a better passer than NU’s Adrian Martinez.
West Virginia Mountaineers
WVU lost to Maryland in its season opener but has rebounded with two straight wins (Long Island University and Virginia Tech). The Mountaineers led VT, 27-7, through the two-and-a-half quarters last week. The No. 15 Hokies got a couple of touchdowns to trail, 27-21, with three minutes to go, but WVU held on for the upset. But for the Mountaineers to pull off the upset, it will have to be on the back of RB Leddie Brown, while QB Jarret Doege needs to have a mistake-free game, which didn’t happen against Virginia Tech, and his late fumble and interception nearly gave the game away to the Hokies. That can’t happen this week aginst a team like the Sooners.
Many fans aren’t happy that the No. 3 Sooners don’t have huge wins over their FBS foes. They must not forget OU began 2020 with a 1-2 mark. Several powerhouse teams would love to be undefeated right now—Ohio State, Clemson, Wisconsin, and Texas, to name a few. The Mountaineers have proven vulnerable against the pass. Maryland tossed the ball for 332 yards, and Virginia Tech put up 223 yards. Both teams combined for five TDs and no picks. OU QB Spencer Rattler should be improved this week and pick apart WVU’s secondary.
Prediction: Oklahoma 34, West Virginia 17
The Sooners, a preseason playoff contender, have yet to show they’re one of the elite teams in the country. They were supposed to coast against Tulane and Nebraska, but the Green Wave and Huskers came to play and made it too close for crimson comfort. Oklahoma’s offense must fund a rhythm to click on all cylinders. The Sooners’ defense must contain a two-headed monster in Doege and Brown. If they do, they’ll celebrate their ninth straight victory over the Mountaineers.