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#2 Ohio State hosts #5 Oklahoma on Saturday
By: Staff Writer - StatFox
Published: 9/8/2017  at  3:17:00 PM
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OKLAHOMA SOONERS (1-0)
at OHIO STATE BUCKEYES (1-0)

Ohio Stadium Ė Columbus, OH
Kickoff: Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET
Line: Ohio State -7.0, Total: N/A

#2 Ohio State hosts #5 Oklahoma in a matchup that could have College Football Playoff implications on Saturday.

Oklahoma was extremely impressive in its home opener last Saturday, as the team won 56-7 as a 41.5-point favorite. The Sooners racked up 676 yards of total offense in that one and held the Miners to just 167 yards. Things wonít be as easy against Ohio State, but the Sooners will at least be a confident bunch when they take the field at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes, meanwhile, faced a scare in Bloomington, as the Hoosiers were actually beating them heading into halftime. Ohio State did, however, regroup to win 49-21. The Buckeyes also covered the gameís 21-point spread. They now turn and host a Sooners team that they manhandled a year ago, when they won 45-24 as 1.5-point road favorites. Norman is a very difficult place to play, but the Buckeyes had no trouble coming away with a win in that one. The Sooners will be hoping to bring the same tenacity on the road, but this will be the first true test for new head coach Lincoln Riley. Riley replaced the legendary Bob Stoops, who retired unexpectedly over the summer. Riley is viewed as one of the gameís best young minds, but it will be interesting to see how he responds to a week of preparation against an elite head coach like Urban Meyer.

QB Baker Mayfield looked like a guy that is ready to contend for the Heisman Trophy once again last week, as the senior torched UTEP for 329 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. Perhaps the most impressive part of his performance was that he was 19-for-20 in that one. Mayfield now must try to figure out an Ohio State defense that gave him fits a year ago. Mayfield was 17-for-32 for 226 yards, two touchdowns, and two picks against the Buckeyes last season. His offensive line didnít do him any favors in that game, but Mayfield canít afford to turn the ball over that much on Saturday. If he does then the Buckeyes are going to win this game by double digits. One thing Mayfield would be wise to do is target TE Mark Andrews. Andrews was a monster against UTEP, hauling in seven receptions for 134 yards and a touchdown. There are few teams that can scheme against a player like him, so the Sooners will need to take advantage of his ability to make plays in the middle of the field. On defense, Oklahoma will be more concerned with stopping the run than the pass. The Sooners know that the Buckeyes are not going to shred them through the air, but things will be difficult for Oklahoma if Ohio State gets the ground game going.

The Buckeyes had trouble pulling away from the Hoosiers on the road last week, but they were eventually able to do it late. The most impressive player for Ohio State in that game was RB J.K. Dobbins. The freshman rushed for 181 yards on 29 carries in that game, breaking a school record for rushing yards for a true freshman. Had it not been for Dobbinsí ability to break off big runs, itís very likely that Indiana would have won that game at home. Dobbins will likely be the go-to back against the Sooners as well. There is a lot of talent in the backfield, but Ohio State just canít ignore what he did in that last one. QB J.T. Barrett did not show many signs of improving as a passer despite going 20-for-35 for 304 yards, three touchdowns, and no picks. Most of his big plays came on short crossing routes that his receivers took down the field. Barrett will need to be a lot better as a thrower on Saturday, as he canít afford to be as inaccurate as he has been since pretty much the second half of last season. As for the Buckeyesí defense, the team had a ton of success getting after Mayfield last season. Ohio State will be hoping to do the exact same thing this time around, so look for guys like DL Nick Bosa and DE Sam Hubbard to get a ton of pressure on in this one.

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