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WVU-Oklahoma Matchup: By The Numbers

Here are three sets of stats that matter going into Saturday night’s conference opener for both teams.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Here are three sets of stats that matter going into Saturday night's conference opener for both teams.

When the Mountaineers have the ball

Oklahoma Defense

West Virginia Offense

Passing Yards Allowed

209 ypg

Passing Offense

410 ypg

Team Sacks

3.0 pg

Sacks Allowed

2.67 pg

Rushing Defense

87 ypg

Rushing Offense

154 ypg

Tackles For Loss

7.0 pg

Tackles For Loss Allowed

7.33 pg

3rd Down Conversions

33%

3rd Down Conversions

51.0%

Red Zone Scoring %

57%

Red Zone Scoring %

68%

WVU must successfully run on a defense that is allowing only 87 yards per game.  Trickett must continue to take what the defense gives him.

The Sooners must stop the Mountaineer passing attack, forcing WVU into long yardage situations on second and third downs.

WVU must continue to extend drives by maintaining their season average of converting over half of their third downs.

Key stat:  Can WVU minimize the damage when Oklahoma's defense brings the heat?  WVU's offense has allowed almost three sacks per game and over seven tackles for loss...both stats are right at the Sooner's average.

When the Sooners have the ball

WVU Defense

Oklahoma Offense

Passing Yards Allowed

205 ypg

Passing Offense

294 ypg

Team Sacks

2.0 pg

Sacks Allowed

0.67 pg

Rushing Defense

164 ypg

Rushing Offense

197 ypg

Tackles For Loss

6.7 pg

Tackles For Loss Allowed

3.0 pg

3rd Down Conversions

38%

3rd Down Conversions

39%

Red Zone Scoring %

100%

Red Zone Scoring %

93%

The Mountaineer defense has to find a way to stop a balanced Sooner offensive attack, especially late in a close game.

WVU's front six to seven needs to break down an Oklahoma offensive line that so fare has dominated the trenches.  The Sooners have only allowed two sacks and nine tackles for loss in three games.

Can the Mountaineers stop an Oklahoma offense that is deadly in the red zone?

Key stat:  Can WVU force Oklahoma into third and long situations, which at this point seems to be the Achilles heel of Bob Stoops' offense?  OU is moving the chains less than two out of every five times on third down.

Stats that break open a close game

Oklahoma

West Virginia

Net Punting

37 ypg

Net Punting

34 ypg

Punt Return Defense

2 ypp

Punt Return Defense

34 ypp

Kick Returns

23 ypk

Kick Return Defense

22 ypk

Turnover Margin

1.33

Turnover Margin

-1.00

Neither team's punting game has been impressive.  However, the Sooners punt team has only allowed two yards per return.  In contrast, WVU has allowed 34 yards per return.  Which team turns field position to their advantage on Saturday night with a strong punt game?

WVU's kick return defense must put Oklahoma in poor starting field position.

Key stat:  Can the Mountaineers reverse a turnover margin slide that has gone from +1 in the Alabama game to -3 against Maryland?  The Sooners have recovered two fumbles and forced six interceptions in three games.  Winning the turnover battle could help the Mountaineers pull out the win - especially if this game remains close.

May WVU continue to improve enough in all three phases of the game to beat the Sooners.

As always,

Let's Go, Mountaineers!