The West Virginia Mountaineers are faced with a tall task on Saturday as they head into Norman, Oklahoma, to face the undefeated No. 4 Oklahoma Sooners.
Since joining the Big 12, West Virginia (2-1) has never defeated Oklahoma (3-0) in Norman. The last time the Mountaineers made the trip to the Palace on the Prairie, they lost, 52-14, during Neal Brown’s first year as head coach in 2019.
In order to reverse that fate, West Virginia will need to focus on pressuring quarterback Spencer Rattler while containing his options downfield. The Mountaineer offense has been a liability so far this season and will look to Leddie Brown to propel the rushing attack.
Heading into a venue that the Mountaineers haven’t won in since 1982, head coach Neal Brown acknowledges the test ahead.
“Huge challenge this week with Oklahoma,” Neal Brown said at his weekly press conference. “We’re going to the six-time defending champion. Just saying that is a lot.”
“I think it’s a great opportunity for our program playing in one of the most tradition-rich venues in college football,” Brown added.
West Virginia recently defeated No. 15 Virginia Tech in the Battle for the Black Diamond Trophy as it avoided a fourth quarter collapse by the offense. This season, the Mountaineers have three fourth quarter turnovers (two against Virginia Tech).
WVU will tout the No. 6 total offense in the Big 12 with quarterback Jarret Doege leading the way. Through three games, Doege has 729 passing yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions with a 60% completion rate. This ranks the redshirt senior No. 3 overall in passing in the conference right behind Rattler.
Running back Leddie Brown leads the Mountaineer running game which ranks eighth in the Big 12 with 139.7 yards per game. In 2020, WVU averaged 135 yards per game after 10 contests.
On the year, Leddie Brown has 265 yards on 51 carries with five touchdowns. Leddie Brown is tied for first in the conference in rushing touchdowns.
Oklahoma rolls in with one of the top offenses in the country. Rattler has 761 passing yards, seven touchdowns and just two interceptions. He leads the Big 12 in completion percentage at 74.7%.
The Sooners rank No. 23 in NCAA Division I FBS football with 487 yards per game of total offense. Oklahoma is No. 6 in FBS football in scoring at 46.3 points per game.
Defensively, both units are relatively ranked the same. West Virginia is No. 6 in total defense in the Big 12 while Oklahoma is No. 7. The Sooners have allowed seven touchdowns this year while the Mountaineers have allowed just six.
Oklahoma head coach Lincoln Riley is looking forward to Saturday’s matchup especially since there wasn’t a meeting last year between the programs due to COVID-19.
“Looking forward to starting our conference journey here with a really good West Virginia team,” Riley said. “Obviously this is the one game that we missed last year playing in the conference. They’re playing at a very high level.”
“This is a complete football team coming in here with an experience quarterback, strong run game and one of the top defenses in the country,” Riley added.
Kickoff between the Mountaineers and Sooners will be at 7:30 p.m. on ABC.