Big 12 College Football Preview: #9 Oklahoma Sooners at #14 West Virginia Mountaineers

#9 Oklahoma Sooners at #14 West Virginia Mountaineers
Saturday, November 19, 2016, 8:00 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
Milan Puskar Stadium – Morgantown, West Virginia
Opening Line: Oklahoma -3
Current Line: Oklahoma -3 (-125)
Opening Total: 67 (over -112)
Current Total: 64 (over -115)
Opening Money Line: Oklahoma -145 / West Virginia +125
Current Money Line: Oklahoma -160 / West Virginia +140

Okalhoma travels to West Virginia with first place in the Big 12 on the line.
Oklahoma travels to West Virginia with first place in the Big 12 on the line.

Up until last week, the Big 12’s chances for qualifying for the playoff were considered extremely long at best. Then three of the top five teams lost last week and #5 Louisville lost Thursday night to Houston 36-10. The Big 12 still needs some help but they are back in the discussion at least. The 8-2 Oklahoma Sooners travel to the 8-1 West Virginia Mountaineers Saturday in a crucial contest. Oklahoma leads the Big 12 at 7-0 ahead of 6-1 Oklahoma State and 5-1 West Virginia. The Sooners can clinch the conference title for the second straight year outright with a win and an Oklahoma State loss at TCU. Oklahoma has won 14 straight conference games.

Oklahoma leads the series 6-2 including 4-1 since West Virginia joined the Big 12. The Sooners won last year 44-24 in Norman. Oklahoma is 2-0 all time in Morgantown.

Oklahoma is coached by Bob Stoops. The Sooners lost at Houston 33-23 and at home against Ohio State 45-24.  The Sooners have home wins over Louisiana-Monroe 59-17, Kansas State 38-17, Kansas 56-3 and Baylor 45-24 last week, plus road wins at TCU 52-46, Texas Tech 66-59 and Iowa State 34-24. Oklahoma has a neutral site win over Texas 45-40 in Dallas. Oklahoma was a 17.5 point favorite against Baylor and the total was 78. Oklahoma is 4-6 ATS and the total is 5-5 this season.

West Virginia is coached by Dana Holgorsen. The Mountaineers have home wins over Missouri 26-11, Youngstown State 38-21, Kansas State 17-16, TCU and Kansas 48-21. West Virginia has a neutral site win over BYU 35-32 in Landover, MD plus road wins over Texas Tech 48-17 and Texas 24-20 last week. The Mountaineers lost at Oklahoma State 37-20. West Virginia was a 1 point favorite against Texas and the total was 66. The Mountaineers are 4-5 ATS and the total is 3-6 this year.

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Oklahoma is outscoring teams 44-31 this season. The Sooners are #9 in scoring and #81 in points allowed. The Sooners average 558 yards per game on offense including 338 passing and 219 rushing yards. The Sooners are #3 in total offense, #10 in passing and #26 in rushing nationally. On defense, Oklahoma allows 430 yards per game including 297 passing and 132 rushing yards. The Sooners are #121 in pass defense but #30 against the rush. Oklahoma is -3 in turnovers with 15 giveaways. The Sooners average 45 penalty yards per game and opponents average 53 per game. Oklahoma is 72/140 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 89/193. The Sooners have forced 22 sacks and allowed 20 this season. Oklahoma is 37/42 scoring in the red zone with 27 touchdowns and opponents are 27/33 with 15 touchdowns.

Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield has thrown for 3,212 yards with 33 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He has 66 carries for 141 yards and 4 touchdowns. He has emerged as a Heisman contender.  Back-up Austin Kendall has thrown for 143 yards with 2 touchdowns

Running back Joe Mixon has 133 carries for 937 yards and 6 touchdowns, and also has 29 catches for 420 yards and four touchdowns. He also has a touchdown pass. Samaje Perine has 111 carries for 575 yards and 8 touchdowns along with 9 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. He missed three games with muscle strain in his leg but returned last week. Abdul Adams has 52 carries for 281 yards, plus 3 catches for 25 yards. Devin Montgomery is questionable with a head injury.

Receiver Dede Westbrook has has 68 catches for 1,254 yards and 14 touchdowns, plus 83 rushing yards. Mark Andrews has 27 catches for 412 yards and 6 touchdowns. Geno Lewis has 25 catches for 295 yards and a touchdown. Nick Basquine has 19 catches for 252 yards and 2 touchdowns.  A.D. Miller has 12 catches for 145 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dimitri Flowers has 10 catches for 133 yards and four touchdowns, plus 22 carries for 115 yards. Six defensive players are listed on the injury report.

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West Virginia is outscoring teams 32-21. The Mountaineers are #19 nationally in points allowed. WVU averages 497 yards per game on offense including 285 passing and 211 rushing yards. The Mountaineers are #18 in total offense and in the top 35 in passing and rushing nationally. On defense, West Virginia allows 410 yards per game including 254 passing and 156 rushing yards. The Mountaineers are -1 in turnovers with 16 takeaways. West Virginia averages 55 penalty yards per game and opponents average 61 per game. The Mountaineers are 66/136 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 69/164. WVU has forced 17 sacks and allowed 16 this season. The Mountaineers are 36/43 scoring in the red zone including 23 touchdowns and opponents are 30/37 with 17 touchdowns.

Quarterback Skyler Howard has completed 64.5% of his passes for 2,562 yards with 17 touchdowns and 9 interceptions, along with 88 carries for 274 yards and 6 touchdowns.

Running back Rushel Shell has 104 carries for 505 yards with 5 touchdowns, plus 11 catches for 94 yards. Justin Crawford has 98 carries  for 599 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 11 catches for 58 yards and a touchdown. Kennedy McCoy has 68 carries for 459 yards and two touchdowns plus 7 catches and a touchdown.

Receiver Daikel Shorts has 51 catches for 753 yards and 4 touchdowns. Shelton Gibson has 35 catches for 701 yards and 6 touchdowns.  Ka’Raun White has 42 catches for 488 yards with 3 touchdowns. Jovon Durante has 28 catches for 272 yards and a touchdown. Seven defensive players are on the injury report.

Oklahoma is 10-4 in Big 12 games, and against teams with winning home records, 5-2 in November, 16-7 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 3-7 after gaining  more than 450 total yards, 2-5 after scoring more than 40 points, 1-4 in road games, 0-5 after a cover, and 0-4 after a straight up win by 20 points or more.

West Virginia is 4-1 ATS in November, 3-7 after a cover, 2-5 after allowing more than 200 rushing yards, 4-11 against teams with winning records, and 6-20 against teams with winning road records. The over is 4-1 in this series recently.

The crowd will be fired up in Morgantown for a prime time game in front of a national TV audience on ABC. Oklahoma has won 21 of their last 23 true road games. West Virginia can move the ball, but their offense is nowhere near as prolific as Oklahoma. On the other side of the ball, West Virginia has a much better defense. Still, I think the Sooners win a shootout.

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