UCLA at Oklahoma
Time: NOON CT
Spread: OK -30
UCLA began its season on the rougher side as it fell 26-17 to the Cincinnati Bearcats. It will try against all odds to rebound as 30-point underdogs as it travels to face Oklahoma in Week 2. Oklahoma, currently ranked No. 6, won its week 1 matchup 63-14 over Florida Atlantic. The betting total for this lopsided matchup is set at 64 points, according to NCAA football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Oklahoma, as presumed, is fairly stacked this season. The Sooners mostly toyed with the Owls in Week 1, but we got some kind of idea what the team may do this season with regard to its quarterback situation. Oklahoma divvied up its snaps between Kyler Murray, Austin Kendall, and Tanner Mordecai, with Murray and Kendall both looking good with roughly the same number of passing attempts. Murray threw for 209 yards on 11 passes with two TDs, but he did throw an interception, while Kendall was good for 88 yards and a TD on 10 attempts.
Mordecai just got a short look, completing both his attempts for 37 total yards. Rodney Anderson was a monster out of the backfield with 100 yards on five carries, while Kendall rushed three times for no gains overall. But the Sooners more than displayed what its offense is capable, with a virtual stable of receivers, led by Marquise Brown’s 133 yards and a touchdown, while seven players had double-digit yardage days catching the ball. The thing is, this is just the start for a talented Sooners team that was merely testing out different things against the lowly Owls in Week 1.
Oklahoma finished 12-2 last season and posted an 8-1 record in Big 12 play, and Oklahoma has won three straight Big 12 championships. It did, however, lose Baker Mayfield, and replacing him might not be any small task, even with three stellar options to do so with. Also, Lincoln Riley upgraded his staff this offseason to help bring about some changes in a program already rolling more or less. Murray is one of the quickest quarterbacks in the nation, and he probably also has the best arm and is the most cerebral of the options. Kendall is a more traditional pocket passer, and he is 6’2” while Murray stands a mere 5’10”— but that is one of the most overblown aspects of what makes a quarterback, and all indications from a wild week 1 are that Murray will likely end up winning the gig when this is said and done.
UCLA struggled in Week 1, but Dorian Thompson-Robinson looked decent at quarterback and Kazmeir Allen was strong at running back. Thompson-Robinson threw for 117 yards on 15 of 25 passing (60 percent) while Allen rushed for 103 yards on a total of just five carries, including a touchdown. Wide receiver Theo Howard had five catches for a team-leading 52 yards, and six receivers had 10 yards or more receiving for the Bruins despite manning just 162 passing yards in the game.
The Bruins’ defense was especially weak at covering the run, as Bearcats running back Michael Warren II had 142 yards on 35 carries with three TDs. That will be at the top of UCLA’s must improve tasks, while arguably facing one of the worst teams to work on that aspect. However, if UCLA can simply limit the rush of Oklahoma and give its inexperienced QBs a few mistakes, that could muster some type of moral victory for the badly-outmatched Bruins.