It was less than a year ago that West Virginia almost took down the Oklahoma juggernaut. Of course, the Mountaineers were just three-point underdogs at home and had Will Grier at quarterback. This one is expected to be a bit different with the Sooners opening as huge -33.5 point home favorites with an over/under of 65.5.
West Virginia has played well early in each of its last two home games, but eventually talent won out and it fell to both Iowa State and Texas.
The underlying stat is that the Mountaineers have actually played solid defense, allowing 211 passing yards to Sam Ehlinger and 229 to Brock Purdy.
The problem is that they’ve had seven turnovers in those games which has led to a lot of short fields for the opponent. They could be competitive against Oklahoma, but not if they give the ball to Jalen Hurts in their own territory.
Hurts played an OK defense for the first time all season last game and his numbers slipped as expected. Overall, he’s been awesome, completing 71.5% of his passes for 12.8 yards per attempt and 17 touchdowns (and three interceptions), to go with 630 rushing yards and eight touchdowns on 8.5 yards per carry.
Those numbers are great, but similar to Texas last week, WVU may have the best defense he’s played up to now. Again, if WVU didn’t turn the ball over so much, it probably would’ve held both Texas and ISU below 30 points.
Then again, this is Oklahoma, a team that dropped 59 points in last year’s meeting. Receivers CeeDee Lamb and Charleston Rambo are both averaging more than 20 yards per reception.
Running backs Rhamondre Stevenson, Kennedy Brooks and Trey Sermon have all been useful. Texas did its best last week, but it wasn’t enough, yet holding the Sooners to 34 points is still solid.
If West Virginia can keep OU around that 40-point mark, a cover is more than reasonable because it’s not like the offense is inept. Plus, Oklahoma has given up at least 14 points in every game.
The main problem for the Mountaineers is that they haven’t been able to run the ball on anyone, averaging 3.1 yards per carry as a team.
Neither Kennedy McKoy nor Leddie Brown has more than 200 rushing yards, which says everything through six games. The hope falls to quarterback and unfortunately the regular starter Austin Kendall is questionable with a chest injury.
Jack Allison completed more than 70% of his passes against ISU, but also at just 5.5 yards per clip. For the offense to have success, the quarterback needs to match what Kendall did against Texas when he threw for 367 yards with the help of receivers Sam James and T.J. Simmons.
This spread seems big considering West Virginia isn’t a complete bust, assuming it doesn’t turn the ball over two or more times again. The problem is that it’s rarely a good idea to bet against Oklahoma because it can score so quick.
The over is 7-1 in WVU’s last eight conference games and 7-1-1 in Oklahoma’s last nine home games. The Sooners are 4-0-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these teams and the over has hit in all of those.
Our Pick – OVER 65.5