Mountaineer Nation's mission this week: knock on some doors and spread the good word about Real Deal Neal and the Whipping Consistent Ass Mountaineers.
Date: November 11th, 2023
Kickoff: 7:00PM EST
Where: Gaylord Family Memorial Stadium - Norman, OK
The Nation clamors for more national prime time West Virginia, in whispered voices they beg to see Garrett Greene cook..
- Kirch, @smokingmusket
Streaming: Fox Sports app
Radio: Mountaineer Sports Network from IMG (Radio Affiliates) | WVU Gameday App (Apple | Android)
Radio Announcers: Tony Caridi (PBP), Dwight Wallace (analyst), and Jed Drenning (sideline)
Reminder: It is against site policy to post links to illegal streams in the comments.
Spread: West Virginia +13.5
ML: WVU +500
13.5 seems like a lot of points right? I'm in.
Clear - high 62/42 low - Wind 6 mph
Basically a carbon copy of last weekend in Morgantown, just a perfect fall evening for a football game.
Where are they from: Norman, OK
All-time Series: 3-11. It's generally been ugly for the good guys, but we could've skinned these dudes at least a couple of times before we finally got them last year. Has the rent come due?
The Last Time We Played: West Virginia 23-20 Oklahoma. Garrett Greene took over at half time and here we are. Monkey off back.
Head coach: Brent Venables (2nd season, 13-9). Cursed record. Idk. It seems like it's getting better but I wouldn’t be super feeling myself as an OU fan right now with the SEC looming.
2023 record: 7-2 (4-2). The Texas win was probably the best of the season for any B12 team but we're looking at three straight weeks where they could've lost and two straight where they actually did.
WOMEN LIE, MEN LIE, NUMBERS DON’T
4.4 - Yards per carry on early downs for Oklahoma this year, just an extremely mid running game after a decade of averaging what felt like 17 yards per carry. Mid.
15 - Big time throws from Dillon Gabriel, tied with Garrett for most in the conference.
41 - 20+ yard passes for Oklahoma, the most in the conference. A potent passing attack.
7.9 - TFL per game for Oklahoma, the 7th best mark in FBS.
171 - Pressures by the Sooner defense, the second most in the Big 12.
94 - Passes of 10+ yards allowed by the Sooners, the most in the conference.
WHEN WE HAVE THE BALL - DO WHAT WE DO
Mountaineers to Watch: QB6 Garrett Greene, RB4 CJ Donaldson, RB22 Jaheim White, WR2 Rodney Gallagher, TE87
Turncoats to Watch: DE92 Tyler Batty, DE93 Blake Mangelson, LB22 Danny Stutsman, CB5 Woodi Washington, S15 Billy Bowman
The beta_rank numbers above rate the Sooners as the 18th best defensive unit in FBS. I’m not convinced that they're actually that good, but you do have to concede that they do one thing really well that papers over some of the other cracks, and that's creating havoc. The Sooners are second in the conference in QB pressures and average 7.9 TFL per game, and they’ve created a league-leading 19 takeaways in the wake of that.
On the flip side, teams have been able to gain yards and score points against them. Against P5 competition, the raw stats (yards, yards per play, points) place them as a middle of the road outfit, which is better than our last two opponents but certainly nothing we should be intimidated by. If we go out there and execute the way we have these last several weeks, I expect us to move the ball. I especially like our matchups with them in the passing game where their safeties appear to struggle with both covering and tackling.
WHEN THEY HAVE THE BALL - DOMINATE EARLY DOWNS
Soon-to-be-mid-level-SECers to Watch: QB8 Dillon Gabriel, RB29 Tawee Walker, WR3 Jalil Farooq, WR12 Drake Stoops
Mountaineers to Watch: DE91 Sean Martin, DE3 Tomi Durojaiye, LB1 Lee Kpogba, CB11 Beanie Bishop
The Sooners field an objectively strong offensive unit, especially in the passing game where Dillon Gabriel leads the Big 12 with 294 yards per game and 41 explosive plays. However, they're not a juggernaut. The offensive line is a shell of what it was 5 years ago, and as a result the running game is just an average Big 12 attack.
I think we need to lean into that. We've been at our best when the defensive line has been able to knock teams off schedule and into obvious passing situations. I like our matchup with their offensive line and think our front 6/7 is good enough to win at the line of scrimmage against them. To be clear, Gabriel is good enough to beat us anyways, but it would behoove us to make them as one-dimensional as possible. There will still be concerns about tackling their excellent receivers in space, but making them throw gives us the best chance to win.
X-FACTOR - TURNOVERS
The Sooners are +1.4 turnovers per game in their 7 wins and -1.0 per game in their 2 losses. That's about as cut and dried as it gets. Like I said, this is a defense that let's people move the ball, and if we can avoid giving it away then I think we're going to give ourselves plenty of scoring opportunities.
7 out of 10. They’re not back, but this is still one of the two best teams we've played this year, on the road, at night.
Here's one thing I know for sure: we ain't scared of these dudes. The aura is gone, and what remains is a team that we've played to a 36-36 stalemate over the past two seasons. I expect us to go down there and give them everything they want, and maybe a bit more. Let's send these dudes packing in style.