No. 18 Oklahoma looks to build momentum against SMU after winning big in opener

The Associated Press - September 7, 2023 9:03 am

By The Associated Press

SMU (1-0) at No. 18 Oklahoma (1-0), Saturday, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

Line: Oklahoma by 16 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: Oklahoma leads 5-1-1.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Oklahoma is coming off a 73-0 opening win over Arkansas State. The Sooners outgained the Red Wolves 642 yards to 208. It won’t matter if the Sooners lay an egg against SMU. The Mustangs offer a significant jump in quality of competition. SMU will leave the American Athletic Conference for the Atlantic Coast Conference next year. They wouldn’t mind beating a Power Five opponent ahead of the move.

KEY MATCHUP

Oklahoma run game vs. SMU defensive front. Oklahoma rushed for 220 yards on 49 carries in the opener. SMU held Louisiana Tech to 28 yards rushing on 24 carries. The Mustangs need to limit Oklahoma’s ground attack and try to pressure Sooners quarterback Dillon Gabriel. The Sooners didn’t pass downfield much in their opener, but they appear to be capable.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

SMU: RB LJ Johnson Jr. The Texas A&M transfer ran for 128 yards on 14 carries in the opener. He will face an Oklahoma defense that held Arkansas State to 48 yards rushing on 23 attempts.

Oklahoma: RB Jovantae Barnes. Even thought there is a logjam at the position and Barnes is not listed as a starter, he got the most carries in the opener. He had 13 attempts for 49 yards, but he’s capable of much better. He ran for 519 yards last season as a freshman.

FACTS & FIGURES

SMU had seven sacks against Louisiana Tech. … Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel passed for 308 yards last week, all in the first half. … Oklahoma WR Jaquaize Pettaway caught nine passes last week to match a single-game school record for a freshman. … Sophomore Gavin Freeman returned a punt 82 yards for a touchdown last week. He leads the nation with 45.0 yards per return. … Oklahoma freshman QB Jackson Arnold completed all 11 of his passes last week. … SMU’s only win against the Sooners came on December 31st, 1968, a 28-27 victory in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl. … SMU’s Preston Stone threw three touchdown passes in the opener.

 

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