Ohio State vs. Oklahoma: Q&A With Sooners’ Expert

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 17: Baker Mayfield
NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 17: Baker Mayfield /

The Oklahoma point of view prior to the Top 5 showdown between the Buckeyes and Sooners.

The Ohio State vs. Oklahoma showdown is nearly here and I wanted to get a take from the Sooners’ point of view. I asked Oklahoma FanSided expert Chip Rouse a few questions to get the vibe from Norman.

Here is my Q & A with Chip:

Q: With the strong offensive line of the Sooners, do you expect coach Lincoln Riley to challenge the Buckeyes’ front seven early in the game to try and establish the running game?

A: I do believe that Oklahoma will try to establish the run game. After all, the Sooners use the run game to further open up pass routes and fuel the Air Raid offense. It may not always be with power runs between the tackles, though. Lincoln Riley likes to use his RBs as pass receivers and especially on bubble screens in an attempt to get them into open space on the boundaries.

Q: Everyone is aware that Baker Mayfield is a threat anytime he has his ball in his hands. What other players should Buckeye fans be concerned about on either side of the ball?

A: The Sooners like to employ a committee of running backs. Abdul Adams is probably No. 1 on the depth chart, but junior-college transfer Marcelias Sutton and true freshman Trey Sermon were impressive carrying the ball against UTEP. And redshirt sophomore Rodney Anderson may be the best of the bunch.

Fourteen different pass receivers caught passes last weekend. Newcomer WR Marquise Brown and Kentucky graduate transfer Jeff Badet are extremely quick and have exhibited Dede Westbrook-like skills on deep balls. True freshman CeeDee Lamb is also a burner.

Look for the Sooners to challenge the Buckeyes’ young secondary with deep throws and the electric speed of a very underrated OU receiving corps. Senior WR Jeffery Mead’s 6-foot-5 size will create matchup problems for the Buckeye defenders.

Q: Can we expect any new wrinkles from coach Riley?

A: I wouldn’t rule this out. What Riley has emphasized all spring and into the summer is for his team to get off to fast starts and keep attacking for four quarters.

Oklahoma has the talent, especially on offense, and with Mayfield having been in Riley’s system for three seasons, executing plays with precision and everyone doing his assigned job is far more likely to be what Riley will attack with than trying to deceive the Buckeyes with gadget plays or tomfoolery.

Q: Baker Mayfield didn’t seem pleased hearing O-H-I-O often at Norman last year. Are the Sooners using that for inspiration to make it an unpleasant night for the Buckeyes Saturday in ‘The Shoe’?

A: Oklahoma has been gearing for this game ever since being humbled at home by the Buckeyes last season. Mayfield said last week that he and his teammates didn’t like Ohio State celebrating and jumping up and down to the Buckeye fight song at the center of the field at Owen Field last year.

Mayfield acknowledged that he did not play very well in that game and vowed that wouldn’t be the case in the rematch. Yes, the Sooners are using the embarrassment they suffered last season as motivation to make a different statement this time around.

Q: What is your prediction and outcome for the game Chip?

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A: I do not expect this game to be a lopsided affair like the one a year ago. I also think that Lincoln Riley is not being given the credit he deserves and too much is being made of this being his first head-coaching assignment.

Bob Stoops went 13-0 and won a national championship in his second season as a head coach, and he was being compared to Florida State’s Bobby Bowden in the same way as Riley is being talked about having to go up against Urban Meyer. The players on the field are going to make the difference in this game. I’m going with the contrarian view and the upset factor: Oklahoma 31, Ohio State 28.

Next: College Fantasy Football: Must Starts and Sits for Week 2

Thanks to Chip Rouse for the Oklahoma perspective. I’m looking forward to a great game between the Buckeyes and Sooners. I have a different take than Chip does though, Ohio State over Oklahoma 45-27.