No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners at West Virginia Mountaineers Preview

By Mike Atkinson
Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The West Virginia Mountaineers look to get back to their winning ways and avoid losing 5 consecutive games on Saturday as they host the No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners in what was supposed to be one of the biggest games of the season for both teams.

Now, it seems as though it would be a miracle for the Mountaineers to grab a win, and the Sooners are just hoping to avoid a stumble that would cost them a BCS bowl berth.

The Mountaineers enter the game with a record of 5-4 (2-4 in the Big XII). They are riding a four game losing streak coming into Saturday’s game.

The Sooners enter the game with a record of 7-2 (5-1 in the Big XII). They are riding a two game win streak, after losing to the No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish a few weeks ago.

Oklahoma has the 17th best offense in yards per game and the 12th most points per game. On the defensive side of the ball, the Sooners are ranked 20th in yards allowed per game, and enter the game with the 8th best passing defense in the country.

What I Saw Last Week:

The Mountaineers are coming off of a loss in a game in which they had a number of chances to win.

In case you missed it, WVU lost to the Oklahoma State Cowboys 55-34. In that game, WVU special teams made a number of mistakes that were simply inexcusable.

Head Coach Dana Holgorsen himself said the mistakes were “junior high mistakes”.

Aside from the obvious muffed returns which led to easy OSU Touchdowns, the Mountaineers let OSU kick returner Josh Gilbert return a kick back 96 yards for a touchdown, just as WVU began to get momentum. WVU had both a field goal and a punt blocked in the same game. That’s just ridiculous.

The offense is still stuck in whatever funk it hit against the Texas Tech Red Raiders as quarterback Geno Smith is still missing open receivers and seems to have lost all confidence in himself.

The defense looked a little better than normal against OSU, but only because of a big interception that kept the game close.

My Prediction:

The Mountaineers are a team that is down emotionally. The defense is ranked dead last, the offense looks average against good defense, the defense looks less than average, the special teams haven’t played well since day one, and now two receivers have left the team and others are rumored to be considering quitting as well.

In addition to all that, this game will take place in Morgantown over Thanksgiving break. After four consecutive losses, fan support will already be below average. Take away the students who decided not to stick around and watch their struggling team against the number 12 team in the country, and there could very well be less than 30,000 people at this game.

That will obviously take the crowd out of it for WVU, which would normally be a big advantage.

The team does not seem to be playing for anything in particular at the moment. It’s as if they aren’t motivated. WVU Pros reported that coach Holgorsen brought in former quarterback Pat White and current NFL first-round draft pick Bruce Irvin to help motivate the team.

I’m not sure how much of an impact that will have. A lot of people seem to think this game will be close, but not me.

I will be shocked if WVU wins this game. I have Oklahoma winning big 49-14.

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