GAME PREVIEW: WVU prepares to challenge Oklahoma one last time

By Zippy Zimmerman, RealWV

The Mountaineers are still potential contenders to compete in the Big 12 Championship game, but to get there they’ll first have to defeat the Sooners in Norman. West Virginia no longer controls their destiny to the big game following their loss to Oklahoma State. In order to make it there, the Mountaineers will have to win out, and hope for losses from Texas, Kansas, and Kansas State in the final three weeks of conference play. For now, West Virginia will look to do their part against a very talented Oklahoma team whose exiting the Big 12 for the SEC following this season.

Just as the Mountaineers appear to be heating up after having won their last two games; the Sooners appear to be cooling down, having loss their last two matchups. Despite this fact, Oklahoma has played solid football throughout the majority of the season, and are still ranked 17th in the country. They’re led by their senior Dillon Gabriel at quarterback, and their junior Jalil Farooq at wideout. Together the duo has demonstrated just how deadly they can be in clutch situations all season long.

Although the passing game of Oklahoma is strong, the rushing attack leaves much to be desired. Tawee Walker leads the running back department in yardage for the Sooners, currently having rushed for 444-yards with an average of 5.3 yards a carry this season. Oklahoma looks to open up the run game against defenses by forcing them to clear out of the box to defend against the pass. Once defenses leave the box empty, Walker will slice and dice his way into some nice rushing yardage. If it isn’t Walker who’s doing the running, Gabriel will take things into his own hands as well. Gabriel has rushed for 287-yards and 8 touchdowns this season.

For West Virginia, they come into the matchup tied for third place in the Big 12 with the Sooners. Garret Greene has really stepped up in the last four weeks for the Mountaineers, and given the offense the ability to air the ball out, or impose its will on defenses through the ground game. With the ability to be diverse in their offensive attack, the Mountaineers have found great success, and will look to keep that momentum going this weekend.

Defensively the Mountaineers played by far their best game of the season against BYU last week. From turnovers, pass breakups, sacks, and coverage, West Virginia’s defense played a fantastic game in all phases. The secondary that’s been led by Aubrey Burks at safety, and Beanie Bishop at cornerback, have steadily improved with each and every game thus far. The defense for West Virginia will have to again play phenomenally if they hope to leave Oklahoma with a win.

Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Oklahoma. The game will be televised on FOX, and available through fuboTV streaming services. Those wishing to listen to the game while at home or on the road, can do so through tuning into their local Mountaineer Sports Network radio station.

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