Oklahoma is a 17-point favorite. But the Sooners are down two defensive starters (Jalen Redmond and Woodi Washington). West Virginia shocked No. 15 Virginia Tech last week, and have the talent and the confidence to finally beat the Sooners. WVU’s defense ranks fourth in the nation in tackles for loss and No. 1 in the nation in red zone defense. So OU’s offensive line, which has been merely above average in its first three games, needs to be on point. Oklahoma might also need to win the turnover battle. If Spencer Rattler can raise his play to an elite level — read the coverages, manipulate the safeties and find the open receiver — OU has a shot to cover the spread and finally win a game comfortably. If he continues to play ordinary football, this one will go down to the final possession, just like the Tulane and Nebraska games did.
Final: Oklahoma 31, West Virginia 23
The Sooners have underwhelmed throughout their non-conference slate, but they should take care of business against the Mountaineers. Running back Leddie Brown will be the primary threat to the OU defense, and the inside linebackers will have to be incredibly disciplined to not get caught sleeping and allow WVU big plays in the play-action passing game. On the other side of the football, a struggling OU offensive line will face their stiffest test yet in West Virginia’s defensive front. Andrew Raym’s inclusion amongst that unit should help, but the Sooners need to establish the run early to help Spencer Rattler and the offense open things up down field. If OU can run the ball effectively, it’ll be hard for any defense, much less West Virginia, to sit back and play with two or three high safeties in an attempt to bottling up the explosive passing game we’ve seen out of past Lincoln Riley offenses.
Final: Oklahoma 34 West Virginia 24
Oklahoma is bound to open up the passing game and start scoring some points at a high clip again at some point, right? Maybe this will be it, the game where Spencer Rattler settles in and has a big night to at least, for a moment, silence his critics. The Sooners defensive line should have every chance to have an impact and likely will throughout the day, possibly forcing a turnover or two to give the Oklahoma offense a short field to work with. The Sooners won’t answer every question and quell all doubts that the public has about them in this game, but fans will feel better moving forward after a solid home win on Saturday night. Rattler turns in his best game of the young season and Oklahoma is in control throughout the game although, at the same time, West Virginia will never feel completely out of it. A late turnover ices the game for the Sooners and they move to 4-0 heading into their first road trip of 2021.
Final: Oklahoma 38, West Virginia 24