Big 12 College Football Preview: #23 West Virginia Mountaineers at #15 Oklahoma Sooners

#23 West Virginia Mountaineers at #15 Oklahoma Sooners
Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium – Norman, Oklahoma
Saturday, October 3, 2015, 12:00 pm Eastern, TV: Fox Sports 1
Opening Line: Oklahoma -7 1/2
Current Line: Oklahoma -6 1/2
Opening Total: 61
Current Total: 59 1/2
Opening Money Line: Oklahoma -255 / West Virginia +215
Current Money Line: Oklahoma -250 / West Virginia +210

Oklahoma is a touchdown favorite against West Virginia Saturday.
Oklahoma is a touchdown favorite against West Virginia Saturday.

Both the Oklahoma Sooners and West Virginia Mountaineers are 3-0 this season as they open Big 12 play Saturday in Norman. Oklahoma is #15 in the polls and West Virginia is #23.

Oklahoma leads the series 5-2 against West Virginia, including all three contests since the Mountaineers joined the Big 12 in 2012. The Sooners are 3-1 against the Mountaineers in Norman.

West Virginia is coached by Dana Holgorsen. The Mountaineers have easy home wins over Georgia Southern 44-0, Liberty 41-17 and last week against Maryland 45-6. West Virginia thoroughly whipped Maryland inĀ  every phase of the game. The Mountaineers had 601 total yards to 326 for Maryland. The teams combined for 8 turnovers, but six of them were by Maryland. The Mountaineers jumped out to a 45-0 lead and only a meaningless fourth quarter touchdown and missed two point conversion prevented the shutout. West Virginia was a 17 point favorite and the total was 57.5. The Mountaineers are 2-1 ATS and the total is 0-3 this season.

Oklahoma is coached by Bob Stoops. The Sooners have home wins over Akron 41-3 and Tulsa two weeks ago 52-38, along with a road win 31-24 in double overtime at Tennessee. The Sooners had a bye last week. Against Tulsa, The Sooners jumped out to a 17-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. The Sooners led 31-10 but Tulsa scored two touchdowns in the last 13 seconds of the first half to make it 31-24. Oklahoma would hold on for the 14 point win. Both teams combined for almost 1,400 yards and 69 first downs. Sooner Quarterback Baker Mayfield had a huge game with 487 passing yards and 4 touchdowns, and also rushed for 85 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Sooners were 31.5 point favorites and the total was 71. Oklahoma is 2-1 ATS and the total is 1-2 this season.

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West Virginia is outscoring teams 43-8 this season. The Mountaineers are #14 in scoring and #1 in points allowed nationally. West Virginia averages 543 yards per game on offense including 323 passing and 220 rushing yards. The Mountaineers are #31 or better in all three categories nationally. On defense, WVU is allowing 307 total yards including 154 passing and 153 rushing yards. The Mountaineers are #26 or better in total and pass defense. West Virginia has forced 11 turnovers and has 2 of their own. The Mountaineers average 73 penalty yards per game and opponents average 47. West Virginia is 22/43 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 12/49. The Mountaineers have forced 4 sacks and allowed 7 this season. WVU is 17/19 scoring in the red zone with 12 touchdowns, and opponents are 1/3 with a touchdown.

Quarterback Skyler Howard has completed 69% of his passes for 916 yards with 9 touchdowns and an interception, and also has 33 carries for 88 rushing yards. Back-up William Crest, Jr. has seen some action in the three blowouts so far. He has thrown for 53 yards, and has 12 carries for 36 yards and a touchdown.

Running back Wendall Smallwood has 48 carries for 331 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 10 catches for 70 yards. Rushel Shell has 34 carries for 146 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 3 catches for 44 yards. Receiver Shelton Gibson has 12 catches for 329 yards and 4 touchdowns. Jovon Durante has 12 catches for 199 yards and 2 touchdowns. Daikiel Shorts has 10 catches for 166 yards and a touchdown.

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Oklahoma is outscoring teams 41-22 this season. The Sooners are #18 in scoring nationally. Oklahoma is averaging 553 yards per game on offense including 371 passing and 182 rushing yards. The Sooners are in the top 10 nationally in both total and passing offense. On defense, Oklahoma is allowing 361 total yards per game including 213 passing and 148 rushing yards. The Sooners have forced 2 turnovers but have 6 of their own this season. Oklahoma averages 81 penalty yards and opponents average 67. The Sooners are 22/49 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 19/57. Oklahoma has forced 6 sacks and allowed 6 as well. The Sooners are 14/16 scoring in the red zone with 11 touchdowns, and opponents are 8/10 with 5 touchdowns.

Mayfield has completed 67.3% of his passes for 1,062 yards with 10 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, and has rushed for 139 yards with 4 touchdowns on 33 carries. Back-up Trevor Knight has thrown for 51 yards with an interception.

Running back Samaje Perine has 56 carries for 263 yards and 2 touchdowns, along with 6 catches and a touchdown. Joe Mixon has 21 carries for 93 yards along with 11 catches for 176 yards and 2 touchdowns. Receiver Sterling Shepardhas 18 catches for 286 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dede Westbrook has 12 catches for 175 yards and a touchdown. Durron Neal has 12 catches for 173 yards. Mark Andrews has 7 catches for 137 yards and 2 touchdowns.

West Virginia is 4-0 ATS on grass, 4-1 after scoring 40 points or more, 5-2 after passing for more than 280 yards, 5-11 in Big 12 games, 6-14 after gaining more than 450 total yards, 8-20 after allowing less than 170 passing yards, 2-7 in October, and 1-8 after a bye week.

Oklahoma is 4-1 ATS after passing for 280 yards or more, 10-4 after allowing more than 450 total yards, 2-5 at home, after a straight up win, and after allowing 280 passing yards or more, 2-6 in Big 12 games, 1-4 after rushing for 200 yards or more and gaining more than 450 total yards. 1-5 against teams with winning records, and 1-7 in October.

West Virginia has looked very impressive so far but they really haven’t played strong competition. Even Maryland is in a rebuilding year. Oklahoma has had tough games against a good Tennessee team and a decent Tulsa team. This should be a high scoring shootout but I like the Sooners to win a close game at home.

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