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Cheez-It Bowl Preview and Prediction: Oklahoma vs. Florida State

NCAA Football: Texas El Paso at Oklahoma

Here is everything you need to know about the 2022 Cheez-It Bowl between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Florida State Seminoles.

GAME INFO

Thursday, December 29, 2022; 4:30 p.m. CT; Camping World Stadium; Orlando, Florida

TV: ESPN (Bob Wischusen, Dan Orlovsky, Kris Budden)

Radio: Sooner Sports Radio (Toby Rowland, Teddy Lehman, Gabe Ikard, Chris Plank)

Records: Oklahoma (6-6, 3-6 Big 12); Florida State (9-3, 5-3 ACC)

Rankings: Oklahoma not ranked; Florida State ranked No. 13 (CFP Top 25)

Last Week: Oklahoma 48, Texas Tech 51; Florida State 45, Florida 38

Series History: Oklahoma leads 6-1

Last Meeting: Oklahoma 23, Florida State 13 (2011)

Favorite: Florida State (-10)

Fun Fact: In its all-time series against Florida State, Oklahoma is 6-1 and has won each of the last six meetings after losing their first matchup in 1965.

 

KEY PLAYERS

OKLAHOMA SOONERS

QB Dillon Gabriel

Being the quarterback at Oklahoma almost requires a player to make the trip to New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony, and when you don’t, the fans seem to think that changes need to be made. In 2022, Gabriel completed 63% of his passes for 2,925 yards and 24 touchdowns with six interceptions. Add to that five rushing touchdowns and you have an impressive first season in Norman. Against a good Florida State defense, Gabriel will have to play behind a makeshift offensive line. To win the game, Oklahoma will need No. 8’s arm to be locked, loaded, and ready to go.

LB Danny Stutsman

Go and buy all the stock that you can on Oklahoma sophomore linebacker, Danny Stutsman. In his first season under linebacker guru Brent Venables, Stutsman had 118 tackles, which led the Big 12 and ranks third among all Power Five players. Against Florida State, Stutsman will be a busy man yet again and should find his way to double-digit stops again. In 2023, Stutsman will likely be one of the most talked about “breakout” guys in the country, and that is something that I feel strongly about.

 

FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES

QB Jordan Travis

Florida State quarterback Jordan Travis has had quite a season and has been a major reason for the Seminoles’ change of fortune in 2022. On the year, Travis has completed 63.2% of his passes for 2,796 yards and 22 touchdowns to just four interceptions, while also adding seven rushing touchdowns on the ground. Oklahoma has struggled with running quarterbacks all season and Travis is more than capable of hurting the Sooners with his legs and his arm.

DE Jared Verse

Not only will Oklahoma have a hodge-podge offense line thrown together for this game, but they will have the unfortunate task of making that O-Line work against a Top-10 draft pick in defensive end Jared Verse. Verse, who transferred to Florida State from Albany this past offseason, is an absolutely dominant athlete on the edge and is widely regarded as one of the top edge rushers in the 2023 draft class. The Dayton, Ohio native leads the ACC with 14.5 tackles for loss and also has 7.5 sacks on the year.

 

KEY STORYLINES

OKLAHOMA SOONERS

With over 30 players set to transfer, graduate, or enter the NFL Draft, Oklahoma’s roster turnover for 2023 is already in full swing. The Sooners will likely play several young guys in this game, some of which will be in line for substantial playing time in 2023. Of those guys, do we see any budding stars emerge? It might be a tough day for the Sooners on the scoreboard, given the matchup, but this is still a game that Sooner fans need to tune in for. Plus, Brent Venables is very familiar with Florida State having been in the ACC for the last decade, so perhaps he has a trick or two up his sleeve.

FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES

Florida State has had a renaissance year in 2022 and has looked much like its old self in Mike Norvell’s third season. This bowl game means a lot to the Seminoles and a win would get them to 10-3 on the year. FSU hasn’t won double-digit games in a season since 2016, so I fully expect this team to be focused and energized against the Sooners in Orlando. The Big 12 was extremely tough in 2022 and I believe that Oklahoma is capable of pulling off the upset, but it will be tough with how the Noles have looked thus far.

PREDICTION: Florida State 34, Oklahoma 21

At the end of the day, I think Florida State is just too much for the short-handed Sooners, and end up winning this game by a couple of scores. Oklahoma has way too many personnel issues heading into this game and will be missing its two best offensive linemen and top rusher from this season in Eric Gray. On the other sideline, Florida State isn’t expected to have many opt-outs at all, and that could provide just enough of a mismatch that the Noles can pull away for their first win against Oklahoma since 1965.

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