It’s the biggest game of the college football season so far – at least it’s the biggest non-conference game – with potential playoff implications down the road. Check out the Ohio State vs. Oklahoma fearless prediction and game preview.
Ohio State (2-0) vs. Oklahoma (1-1) Game Preview
Date: Saturday, September 17th
Game Time: 7:30 pm
Venue: Memorial Stadium, Norman, OK
Why Ohio State Will Win
Is this the same Oklahoma offense of last year? The jury is still out.
It’s already got a few banged up parts, the receiving corps isn’t as good, and the line hasn’t necessarily looked the part over the first few games – at least it didn’t against Houston.
What Ohio State is missing in experience it’s making up for with blinding speed and athleticism on Greg Schiano’s D, flying all over the place coming up with big play after big play against Bowling Green and Tulsa offenses that’ll each finish in the total offense top 25 – or be close to it.
Led by safety Malik Hooker and his three picks, the Buckeyes have been breathtaking at coming up with the big turnover, taking the ball away nine times in two games, turning each one into a route and making life nice and easy for the OSU attack.
What’s going to be the problem for this Sooner O? Fast defenses that can contain Baker Mayfield and turn him into a pocket passer. OU will try to get physical, but it might not have the line to do that.
The bigger problem for the Sooners could be Mr. Barrett. If you had problems with Greg Ward Jr., then what are you going to do with a guy who, outside of one early pick, has been razor-sharp through the first two games? He’s completing 66% of his throws with six scores as the perfect conductor for the offense that found its stride in a hurry.
Why Oklahoma Will Win
Bowling Green and Tulsa might have terrific offenses, but neither one could power through tissue paper. No one’s tried to slug Ohio State in the mouth, and that might be the formula against the speed and athleticism – run right at it.
Samaje Perine might be hurting, but combining with Joe Mixon the Sooners have to blast away early and keep Barrett off the field as much as possible. At home, the OU offense should have the fire and adrenaline to get nasty early, and in a game like this, momentum and attitude should mean everything. Get a little confidence early, and put some doubt into Ohio State’s mind, The young Buckeyes have yet to deal with any adversity – here you go.
Run the ball well, and then rely on Mayfield. The O was more than fine against a bad ULM team, but Mayfield was solid against Houston, too, hitting 73% of his throws for 323 yards. He’s not running, but that’s a good thing – the Sooners can’t lose him.
As good as Barrett has been, Mayfield’s been better. Attitude is never a problem for him, and this is his showcase game after being on the wrong end of the last two big battles against Clemson and Houston.
What’s Going To Happen?
Ohio State’s defense will be the difference. It’ll get run on early, but that’ll slow down after a quarter as the Sooners won’t be able to make the plays in space they’ll need to. The tempo won’t necessarily matter – the Buckeyes can handle it. The linebacking corps will dominate in the second half, while the OSU offense will rely on Mike Weber and the tough offensive line to go on two big drives to take control.
Both quarterbacks will be magnificent. This will be a high-level game with both teams trading haymakers, but in the end, it’ll be Ohio State’s playoff showcase to announce that – youth and all – it’s arrived.
Ohio State vs. Oklahoma Prediction
Final Score: Ohio State 34, Oklahoma 27
Line: Ohio State-2, o/u: 64.5
ATS Confidence: 5: Vegas, Now – 1: Talk To Wife … 4
Must See Rating: 5: Hell or High Water – 1: This Is Us … 5