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Staring Down the Musket at the Oklahoma Sooners

It’s winner take all in Morgantown as a trip to Dallas is on the line. Jack Shields from Crimson and Cream Machine joins the Musket to preview the big game.

NCAA Football: Big 12 Media Day Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

What has made it possible for Kyler Murray to come in and not just keep OU rolling, but be even more efficient than Baker Mayfield?

It’s easy to point to his 4.3 speed and his cannon of an arm, but his accuracy and composure have surpassed even the most optimistic of expectations. Both areas somewhat unproven commodities coming into the season, as pretty much all of his meaningful collegiate snaps were from his freshman season at Texas A&M. During that time, he obviously showed his flashes of brilliance, but he also encountered many of the issues one would expect to see with a true freshman QB playing in the SEC West.

It also helps that a large chunk of Baker Mayfield’s offensive line returned in 2018, and that unit has been nothing short of spectacular – particularly down the stretch.

What exactly has gone wrong with Oklahoma’s defense? It would be easy to say everything, but what are the two or three biggest reasons that it’s such an Achilles heel?

Coaching is obviously a large part of it. Players seem to be confused far too often, and that’s something that falls on the staff in the end. The passive defensive scheme is also frustrating, as Oklahoma often rushes three guys and has its corners giving huge cushions. Tackling has been abysmal. The defensive front can’t consistently get a push. Basically, everything is broken.

Tell me about someone under the radar for Mountaineer fans to be watching out for when the Sooners have the ball.

Lee Morris would definitely be the guy. The former walk-on is the backup at the ‘Y’ position (essentially the tight end in OU’s offense), but he he’s scored 10 touchdowns on 21 career receptions (including eight on 19 catches in 2018). That’s a pretty solid TD/catch ratio right there.

Give me your elevator pitch as to why a hypothetical 12-1 Oklahoma should make the College Football Playoff.

If you’re going to deduct points for Oklahoma’s defensive performances, the offense deserves to swing the pendulum in this instance. Remember that unbalanced 2017 team? Those guys faced a balanced SEC team in the Rose Bowl last season, and the result was a high-scoring, double-OT thriller that made for great television. If you’re looking for excitement, match this team with the Tide in the first round. Ratings gold, y’all.

Finally, how do you think that this one plays out on Friday?

I think Oklahoma’s ability to grind it out on the ground will be crucial, as it was the team’s saving grace down the stretch in the games against both Texas Tech and Oklahoma State. Will it be a shootout? Hell yeah, but I’d give OU the slightest of edges if Kyler Murray is able to avoid turnovers. My pick earlier in the week was 58-54 in favor of the Sooners, and I’m sticking to it.