Oklahoma-Stanford: Breaking down the matchups
This could have been a compelling showdown, pitting the of the nation’s best freshman QBs against one another. But Andrew Luck’s injury leaves Stanford starting senior Tavita Pritchard, who has 19 career starts, but only three pass attempts this season.
Landry Jones has struggled away from Norman, but you have to like his chances against a Stanford defense that’s been lit up by the pass all season.
The sun will set on arguably the best tandem backfield in the Bob Stoops Era. DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown have combined for more than 4,500 career rushing yards.
But Toby Gerhart is, in my opinion, the best running back in college football after leading the nation with 1,726 yards and 26 TDs. He will be a load for OU to handle. So will blocking fullback Owen Marecic.
The OU front can’t buy a break. This game, they’ll be starting LT Trent Williams at center, and TE Eric Mensik at right tackle.
Stanford’s, meanwhile, is healthy and one of the best in the nation led by tackle Chris Marinelli and center Chase Beeler, who transferred from OU two years ago. Think Beeler could help the Sooners out right now?
As bad as OU’s group has been at times this year, there are reasons to feel about the receivers heading into the bowl game and next season. Sophomore Dejuan Miller has become a solid threat. Freshman Jaz Reynolds is showing signs of life. And Stanford defensive coordinator Ron Lynn called Ryan Broyles the “best he’s seen” all season.
Ryan Whalen is solid for Stanford, and Chris Owusu can deliver some big plays. But Broyles is a difference-maker.
Does OU even have any tight ends left? After the move of Mensik, all that’s left is walk-on Trent Ratterree and James Hanna, who has made strides in recent weeks.
But Stanford’s Coby Fleener and Jim Dray are stud blocking tight ends, and can make plays in the pass, too.
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