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Staring Down The Musket At The Oklahoma Sooners: A Q&A With Crimson & Cream Machine

Big 12 conference play is finally here. Matt Hofeld from the Sooners SB Nation blog, Crimson and Cream Machine joins us to give us the low down on the Sooners.

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Matt Hofeld from Crimson and Cream Machine was kind enough to answer some questions about the 'Eers and Sooners. Let's get started, shall we?

Matt: Oklahoma's secondary is going to get tested a ton by young receivers Shelton Gibson and Jovon Durante. OU looked weak against Tulsa but pretty staunch late against Tennessee. What's your read on this secondary and how they stack up against WVU?

Matt: Oklahoma's secondary is completely different without sophomore corner Jordan Thomas. He's OU's second best corner but has struggled to stay out of Bob Stoops' doghouse this season. He was suspended for the first quarter of the season opener, against Akron and then the entire game against Tulsa. In his place the Sooners placed true freshman P.J. Mbanasor who struggled heavily.

Even the coaches talked about how much Mbanasor struggled but also said that the responsibility was on Thomas who had let the team down by drawing a suspension. Now, the question is, did Oklahoma's safeties struggle because they were cheating to look out for the true freshman or were they just out of place and blew their assignments? I think we'll find the answer this weekend when Thomas presumably steps back into the starting lineup.

Matt: What are the chances that Baker Mayfield continues his high level of play as we enter the league schedule and what are the biggest factors that have made him successful?

Matt: I think that seeing Mayfield lead the team back to victory in Knoxville has boosted the confidence of the players on both sides of the ball. He's still pretty young in the college game so I would expect there to be the potential for a mistake or two but the more experience he gets under his belt the more confidence he builds.

I believe that the biggest factor to his success has been his ability to keep plays alive with his feet while also keeping his focus down field. He's done it multiple times through the first three games and the result have been some of Oklahoma's biggest, and most significant, offensive plays.

Matt: The key to beating WVU is holding the ball and keeping us out of rhythm. How has the Perine/Mixon time share been playing thus far and can you succeed with a TOP based game plan?

Matt: I actually think that they key to beating West Virginia is making the offense one dimensional and putting pressure on Skyler Howard. The duo of Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon is still evolving. Perine is still the workhorse and Mixon is the guy who can hurt your defense coming out of the backfield on a wheel route or by running between the tackles. They've yet to be in a situation this season where they needed to grind out yardage and burn the clock. We'll see how that works out on Saturday.

Matt: Anyone outside of the household names that WVU fans should be watching for on Saturday?

Matt: I think tight end Mark Andrews is a guy that could be a significant factor for Oklahoma's offense and on defense linebacker Devante Bond. Both have shown flashes of being significant contributors who make game-changing plays.

Matt: How do you feel this one shakes out?

Matt: I think it's going to be an uncomfortably close game for both squads, as their history together has shown. In the end I think a special team's play will be the deciding factor and the Sooners win 30-24.

Matt: *Bonus* Who would win in a race between Sonic the Hedgehog and The Flash?

Matt: Sonic, man! The Flash is over 70 years old and there's no way that he can roll up into a ball a break-neck speed.

Thanks again to Matt from Crimson and Cream Machine taking the time to help us preview this weekend's game. You can follow him on Twitter @MattHofeld and be sure to check out @CCMachine for more Sooner coverage.