The Sooners kickoff against the UTEP Miners in only two days, and I could not be more excited. The wait is finally over, and we get to see Oklahoma in action. Head Coach Brent Venables will make his debut in an electric atmosphere, complete with new stadium lights and a newfound swagger throughout the OU fanbase. What can we expect to see from the Sooners? How does UTEP stack up? Let’s preview the first game of the season in Norman, Oklahoma vs UTEP
Oklahoma vs UTEP Game Information
Current Records: UTEP (0-1) @ Oklahoma (0-0)
Date/Time: September 3rd @ 2:30p.m. CST
Where: Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium – Norman, Oklahoma
Spread: Oklahoma (-31.5)
What to Expect From Oklahoma
I fully expect the Sooners to come out firing on all cylinders to start the game. With Jeff Lebby calling plays for the offense, OU will play an up-tempo, hurry up style of offense. There will be a steady mix of run and pass plays called. In the run game, expect to see a lot of zone schemes using multiple backs. Through the air, expect RPO plays, as well as deep play-action shots down the field. OU will be missing RT Wanya Morris due to suspension, so expect R-So. Tyler Guyton to take his place.
Defensively, we’ll likely see multiple looks from the Sooner front. While there will be substitutions, it won’t be anywhere near the level that is was on last year (trust me, that’s a good thing). Expect to see an aggressive, physical defense that will be looking to force turnovers at every opportunity. The secondary will be much improved from last year, and I fully expect to see multiple INTs from the back seven.
How Does UTEP Stack Up?
UTEP started off their season with a 31-13 loss to North Texas. QB Gavin Hardison went 21/48 for 293 yards and a touchdown through the air. Star WR Tyrin Smith hauled in seven catches for 127 yards and a touchdown. They struggled to run the ball, only averaging 3.6 yards per carry as a team. On top of that, they didn’t rush for a single touchdown. This offense is lackluster at best, and if they’re going to be able to get anything going against OU, it’s going to have to be through the air.
The story of the game was UTEP’s poor rushing defense. North Texas had three separate players rush for over 4.5 yards per carry, as well as three total touchdowns. If the Miners want to have a chance at keeping this game close, they’re going to have to do much better defending the run. Their defensive line got pushed around, as they did not record a single TFL or sack all game. Oklahoma should be able to do whatever they want offensively this Saturday.
Prediction for the Game
I fully expect Oklahoma to dominate throughout the entire game. UTEP doesn’t really have much to work with, as WR Tyrin Smith is their only notable player. OU should take the lead early, and force UTEP to be one-dimensional with their offense. The defense will likely force multiple turnovers, and the offense will be able to run all over the Miners. I expect this game to be over from the start, with Oklahoma taking home a victory and cover the spread in the process.
Prediction: Oklahoma 52, UTEP 10