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Oklahoma Offensive Line Meshing Together Just in Time for 'Challenge' Against Kansas State

The Sooners' offensive line is hoping they can build off their strongest outing of the year against Nebraska last Saturday.

NORMAN — Under the microscope in the early part of the season, the Oklahoma offensive line delivered their strongest performance of the year in last Saturday’s dismantling of Nebraska.

Against a Cornhuskers defense that was simply outmatched, the Sooners ran the ball very effectively (312 yards on the ground) with quarterback Dillon Gabriel also having time to strike down the field through the air.

“It’s definitely a testament to us,” running back Eric Gray said this week after rushing for over 10 yards per carry against Nebraska. “Coach (DeMarco) Murray does a good job of us knowing our schemes, knowing the offense for the week. But I also would say it’s a big testament to the o-line. I think the o-line did a good job of stepping up to the challenge and playing really well last game.”

After a so-so outing the week prior against Kent State, the Sooners' run game having success could serve as a strong indicator of good things to come as the season goes on.

“We really felt good running that ball,” offensive tackle Wanya Morris said. “That’s something we’re going to build on. We take a lot of pride in that. When you can control the line of scrimmage, you can win the game right there.”

“I feel like that was the first game that we really meshed together,” guard McKade Mettauer said. “We were rushing for about seven yards a carry. I think that was a step forward from the first two games that we had. It was a great environment. I think that really fueled us. Down at the goal line, those two plays that we had before the half really solidified our kind of mentality and attitude that we're trying to have throughout the rest of the season.”

Many immediately pointed to the return of Morris, who missed the first two games with an off-field issue, as a likely source for the noticeable improvement, but Mettauer suggests the step forward goes beyond just getting one man back into the fold.

Dillon Gabriel (8) set to throw behind McKade Mettauer (72) and Chris Murray (56)

Dillon Gabriel (8) set to throw behind McKade Mettauer (72) and Chris Murray (56)

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“I think that it doesn't have to do with any particular guy,” Mettauer said. “Even if I was out, just the way we are as an offensive line room, we're really close and we always hang out with each other and stuff. I don't think it's really one particular guy. I think the way Coach (Bill) Bedenbaugh coaches us, the techniques and the play calling is what's keeping us together.”

Now, the Sooners are preparing for what will be their stiffest defensive test of the season so far in the Kansas State Wildcats.

Through the first three games of the season, the Wildcats are top 10 in the country in fewest passing yards allowed and just outside the top 10 in scoring defense.

While the rushing defense to this point does currently hang outside the top 50, Kansas State has managed to make its fair share of plays happen in the backfield,  residing inside the top 20 in team tackles for loss.

“It's going to be a challenge,” Mettauer said. “I've never personally played them before. But from what I've been told by a lot of the guys, they're one of the toughest fronts that we're going to face just from a mentality standpoint and especially the talent that they have on the edges.”

Oklahoma and Kansas State will collide on Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Gaylord Family - Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman. 

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