September 3rd at 11:00 AM, the number 3 ranked Oklahoma Sooners begin their chase for eight. There will not be any second chances, nor will there be any room for error at all as the Sooners travel to NRG Stadium to face the 15th ranked Houston Cougars. Let’s get to know this Greg Ward led, offensive minded Houston team.
Offensively speaking, the Cougars will be a tough team to slow down. QB Greg Ward III is a borderline Heisman candidate after his extremely impressive season last year. Ward threw for nearly 3,000 yards and ran for 1,100 while accounting for 38 touchdowns. (21 rushing TDs). Texas transfer Duke Catalon will step in right away and could become a star in Tom Herman’s offense. Ra’Shaad Samples, a former OSU receiver, has also joined the Cougars and looks to make an immediate impact. The defensive front seven has been underrated for quite a while now and could wreak havoc on OU’s offensive line.
The biggest weakness for Houston, is their secondary. It will be a good game for the Oklahoma wide receivers to get acclimated considering there are some fairly newstarters there as well. The secondary lost all three stars from last season’s 13-1 team. The only one with real experience would be Khalil Williams who recorded 18 tackles in 14 games last year. On offense the one thing really slowing the Cougars down is the offensive line. They return only one starter from last year. OU should be able to get to Greg Ward, the question now would be can they contain him on the outside.
WHERE OKLAHOMA HAS AN ADVANTAGE:
The Sooners have a big advantage in the secondary. Houston lost their number 1 receiver from last year as Demarcus Ayers unexpectedly declared for the NFL draft. With new receivers, OU’s veteran secondary should be excited for this matchup. OU’s defensive line will also have an advantage over the Cougars offensive line. Expect Charles Walker and Matt Dimon to end up in the Houston backfield quite a bit.
KEYS TO A SOONER VICTORY:
Greg Ward III cannot have time in the pocket. Simple. If he has more than three seconds it is going to be a long game for sooner fans. If the defensive line is able to pressure Ward, he will make mistakes. Our OLB’s need to contain him, if he gets out of the pocket he will make big pays. Dakota Austin needs to step up and be a playmaking #2 CB alongside Jordan Thomas. Houston does have inexperience in the receiver position so Austin needs to take advantage of that. Lastly, Baker Mayfield needs time to throw the ball. We saw what happened against Texas. Houston has a solid defensive line and that could be a recipe for disaster. If we can control the game up front, and win the line of scrimmage, there is no reason why Oklahoma shouldn’t win this game.
Written by Ross Lovelace