NORMAN — Oklahoma and West Virginia meet in their Big 12 Conference opener tonight at 6 p.m. on Owen Field.
Continuing our new gameday blog routine, Ryan Aber and I will each give our one pressing question we hope to see answered, pick a player who has something to prove tonight and make one bold prediction.
These will come in three posts today at noon, 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
So without further ado, here are our pressing questions for tonight’s game:
RYAN: How effective can Trevor Knight be through the air?
It took OU’s running game about a quarter to get into the game last week and the offense really struggled as Trevor Knight got off to a shaky start. Against Louisiana-Monroe, there’s plenty of time to work through those things. Against West Virginia, though, the situation is going to be different.
The Sooners are going to need Knight to be effective through the air throughout the game.
The good news is that Knight finished last week strong, with his last four throws all on target (though the final one was intercepted after being wrestled away from the receiver).
JASON: Can the Oklahoma defense replicate last week’s strong season-opening performance?
The Sooners allowed just 166 total yards — and, most notably, zero points — to Louisiana-Monroe last week in an impressive showing that few expected. West Virginia should present a tougher challenge, and there are certainly lingering memories from last season’s shootout in Morgantown.
Obviously, the Mountaineers lost superstars Tavon Austin, Stedman Bailey and Geno Smith, making another offensive showing like last year’s highly unlikely. But don’t forget that last year, coach Dana Holgorsen surprised the Sooners by lining Austin up at running back, and OU wasn’t at all prepared for the wrinkle. Might Holgorsen have another unexpected twist up his sleeve this year?
Truth be told, we probably won’t know much about this Sooner defense until they play at Notre Dame later this month. West Virginia doesn’t appear to be much of a real threat, and next week’s opponent — Tulsa — shouldn’t challenge OU much, either.
But if OU’s defense is dominant for a second consecutive week to open the season, it should be taken as a good sign that things have improved since the end of last season.