Saturday's game between Oklahoma and Missouri presents strength on strength.
The Tigers rank 10th nationally in rushing offense, running for an average of 252.3 yards in their three games. The Sooners, though, have allowed only 78 rushing yards a game in their two wins.
Mizzou sophomore Henry Josey leads the Big 12 in rushing, averaging 133.3 yards a game, but that's deceptive. He has only 29 carries but is averaging 13.8 yards, bolstered by six runs of 20 or more yards. Quarterback James Franklin leads Mizzou in carries (47).
“Their backs and their (offensive) line will be a step up from what we played last week,” OU defensive coordinator Brent Venables said. “Their O-line is stronger (than Florida State), and their backs are better. And their quarterback is every bit as good at running the football. It's a big-time challenge for us.
“We'll need to be physical and stop the run. We can't give up big plays like we did a year ago.”
OFFENSE HANDLED NOISE WITH POISE
Center Ben Habern said the win at Florida State was especially satisfying because it was the loudest environment he had ever played in.
“What we talked about after the game was how consistently loud it was the whole game,” Habern said. “At some hostile environments I've played in, it gets loud in spurts. It gets really loud on big downs, especially third down. That game, they were loud the entire game.”
OU coach Bob Stoops was complimentary of quarterback Landry Jones and the offense for going the entire game without a false start or delay penalty.
A 15-play touchdown drive to start the game helped to quiet the rowdy crowd of 84,000-plus.
“Still, it was hard to communicate,” Habern said. “But that was a fun atmosphere. What a cool environment. That's a game I'll always remember.”
BROYLES LEARNS FROM BILETNIKOFF
Fred Biletnikoff, the legend who the college wide receiver award is named after, played at Florida State. He wasn't at Saturday's game, but co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell knows Biletnikoff and introduced him to All-American receiver Ryan Broyles during last year's award show.
“It was funny because it was like old school meets new school,” Norvell said. “When they were talking Ryan, had his cellphone out, taking notes on his cellphone. He's texting all this stuff in. It was funny because Ryan had a checklist of questions.
“He wanted to ask about bump coverage. The Raiders invented bump-and-run coverage, so Biletnikoff had to work against it every day, the mentality how you play against it, how you attack it, use your hands. Those were some of the things Ryan asked Fred. It was pretty neat to watch them talk.”
BROYLES LEAVES REID WITH PARTING SHOT
Asked about Kenny Stills beating Florida State cornerback Greg Reid for the game-winning touchdown, Broyles just smiled and shook his head. If you take away one thing from the past two OU-FSU games, it's that the Sooners don't think much of Reid.
“The media loves the guy,” Broyles said. “We've seen the film on Greg Reid. If you watch the film, you can get a feel for him.”
HAYWOOD IS A ‘BIG HITTER'
Even though he spoiled the moment with a taunting penalty, tight end Austin Haywood's teeth-rattling tackle on kickoff coverage stood out.
“Austin is a big hitter,” said nickelback Tony Jefferson. “I go against him and have a migraine after practice. I knew it was because of Austin because he leads with his head. I was like, ‘Man, I need him to wear some extra padding in his helmet.'”