Here are some of the key matchups to watch in Saturday’s game between No. 1 Oklahoma and No. 5 Florida State.
1. Florida State defensive line vs. Oklahoma offensive line.
Florida State boasts one of the best defensive lines in the country. The Seminoles racked up 48 sacks in 2010 which was tied with Boise State for tops in the country. The OU offensive line has improved a lot over the past two years with stability and minimal injuries last season being a big factor in that. If the offensive line can give Landry Jones time to throw, then he’ll be able to pick the Seminoles apart, no matter how good the secondary is. If Florida State can get pressure on Jones consistently, it gives the Noles an excellent chance of winnin.
2. OU linebackers vs. EJ Manuel
EJ Manuel is a throw first quarterback, but he does have a good skill set to be a mobile quarterback. The OU linebackers are going to have to b disciplined in order to contain Manuel, keep him in the pocket and prevent him from maneuvering a lot and making throws on the run. Also, if OU can put some pressure on Manuel, who is starting in the biggest game of his life by far, they’ll be able to rattle him into making mistakes.
3. Florida State secondary vs. OU wide receivers
The Florida State secondary has improved dramatically over the past two years and their athletic trio of Xavier Rhodes, Greg Reid and Mike Harris is a big reason why. However, they were torched a year ago by a group of OU receivers that returns all but one of the receivers that played against the Seminoles a year ago. It will be a key for FSU to at least contain the OU passing game because there is no way that they will stop it completely. If Ryan Broyles and company roam the field freely, this game could get ugly.