Keys to the Game: Minimal mistakes, slowing Rattler both musts vs. Sooners

Gold and Blue Nation

There’s nothing like opening your conference schedule against the team predicted to win the conference for the seventh consecutive season — the No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners, the only team the Mountaineers have not beaten during their nine years in the Big 12.

In the four previous meetings in Norman, the Sooners have outscored West Virginia 171-86 and have scored 44 or more points in three of those meetings.

WVU has to find away to carry the momentum of the Virginia Tech win with them to Oklahoma, that should at least help sustain them early on.

In their win over the Hokies, the Mountaineers were able to move the ball on the ground. The offensive line performed well opening holes for Leddie Brown and Garrett Greene to run through as they rushed for 5.2 yards per carry and 173 yards in the game. They will need that kind of performance again this week to have success, and it might be tough as the Sooners limited Nebraska to just 95 yards in their 23-16 win last Saturday.

WVU has to avoid turnovers and penalties. In their win over Virginia Tech, the Mountaineers committed nine penalties for 65 yards — on the season, they are averaging six flags for 63 yards per game. Plus, Jarret Doege’s late interception against the Hokies was nearly a a game killer, as it set them up with a last-minute red zone drive.

WVU’s defense was outstanding against Virginia Tech, finishing with with 10 tackles for loss and six sacks as they harassed Hokie quarterback Braxton Burmeister all day. They face a different animal this week in possibly the most talented quarterback they will face all year — Spencer Rattler. His numbers against Nebraska were not eye-popping, but good enough to get the job done, tossing for 214 yards and a touchdown while adding 35 yards and a score on the ground. The Mountaineer defense has to find a way to keep him in check, which is easier said then done.

The Mountaineers will not just be looking for their first win over the Sooners in conference play, but to also snap their five game road losing streak. Their last road win came Nov. 29th, 2019 at TCU — a win in Norman this week might be celebrated like Don Nehlen’s team’s victory in 1982.

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