Don't expect repeat of last year's WVU-Oklahoma matchup

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- The previous meeting between West Virginia and Oklahoma ended with 99 combined points, 1,440 yards of offense and scores of records shattered.

When the clock ran out in November, a last-minute touchdown pass from Sooners quarterback Landry Jones to Kenny Stills held up to give the Sooners a 50-49 victory at Milan Puskar Stadium.

Jones passed for an Oklahoma-record 554 yards and six touchdowns. Tavon Austin, a receiver by trade, broke out for a West Virginia-record 344 rushing yards and a Big 12-record 572 all-purpose yards. The Mountaineers' 778 yards of offense were the most allowed -- ever -- by a Sooners defense.

But, when the Sooners (1-0) play host to the Mountaineers (1-0) in prime time tonight at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium to open the Big 12 season, don't expect the same kind of fireworks. The teams aren't built to be the offensive juggernauts they were last season.


Scouting report

  • Matchup:

    West Virginia (1-0, 0-0 Big 12) at No. 16 Oklahoma (1-0, 0-0), 7 p.m. today, Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, Okla. Sooners are favored by 21.

  • TV, Radio, Internet:

    Fox, Mountaineer Sports Network, Sirius 132, XM 192.

  • West Virginia:

    Junior quarterback Paul Millard will make his second career start, although backup Clint Trickett also took repetitions with the first team this week. ... Allowed 207 passing yards last Saturday, well below its average of 312 yards last season.

  • Oklahoma:

    Coach Bob Stoops is seven wins behind Barry Switzer on school's all-time win list. ... Former West Virginia offensive line coach Bill Bedenbaugh is the Oklahoma line coach

  • Hidden stat:

    West Virginia punter Nick O'Toole boomed five punts for an average of 50.6 yards last week, including a 60-yarder. That (and his slick moustache) quickly earned him the nickname "Boomstache."


West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said this week that his team wouldn't watch tape of the game last year. "You can't use it for anything," he said.

Both teams debuted new-look offenses in their season openers last weekend.

West Virginia started junior quarterback Paul Millard but owed its 24-17 comeback victory against William & Mary to the three-headed rushing attack of Charles Sims, Dreamius Smith and Wendell Smallwood.

Holgorsen said he hopes the Mountaineers offense will be more balanced than it was in the opener. His team rushed 44 times, threw 27 passes -- the second-largest run-pass ratio of Holgorsen's three seasons at West Virginia.

"I'd like to throw the ball a lot more than we did," Holgorsen said. "We're talking about throwing the ball 30 percent of the time. That's embarrassing."

The Sooners installed a read-option offense and started redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Knight in the opener. Oklahoma walloped Louisiana-Monroe, 34-0, but Knight was raw in his debut, completing 11 of 28 passes for 86 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. He did most of his damage on the ground, running for 103 yards.

"He's a talented guy," Holgorsen said. "His completion percentage wasn't very good, but, when I watched the tape, he's pretty good. He can throw.

"Hopefully, he doesn't get things figured out this week. I would anticipate him figuring things out and being a very good quarterback for Oklahoma."

The Sooners, 21-point favorites against West Virginia, can play the trump card of home-field advantage, too. Oklahoma has lost just five games since 1999 at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, capacity 82,112.

"The atmosphere is rowdy and it's loud," Holgorsen said. "The people are right on top of you. ... Literally, the chairs are up against the wall, and there are people right behind you. Is there a competitive disadvantage to it? No. It's a distraction."

"If you don't let them bother you, then, eventually, they'll be quiet," said redshirt senior defensive end Will Clarke of the Norman, Okla., crowd.

The Mountaineers have not visited Norman since 1982, when the Mountaineers upset the Sooners, 41-27. Oklahoma has a 3-2 edge in the series.

"Oklahoma has 85,000 people there, so that's 85,000 plus the 100 on their sideline who are against us," said redshirt senior nose tackle Shaq Rowell. "There couldn't be a better feeling than that. Your back is against the wall. Let's be honest, no one expects us to go out and win. So why not just go in there and play? I'm looking forward to the challenge this weekend."


Correction/Clarification: (Published Sept. 27, 2013) An earlier version of the story contained an incorrect date for West Virginia's last visit to Norman, Okla. wvusports

Stephen J. Nesbitt: snesbitt@post-gazette.com, 412-290-2183 and Twitter @stephenjnesbitt. First Published September 7, 2013 12:00 AM


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