No. 3 Oklahoma’s defense looks to slow No. 15 Houston’s Ward
Ponca City Now - August 30, 2016 10:14 am
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) – Oklahoma's defense might need to reach midseason form in the opener.
Houston, led by explosive quarterback Greg Ward, Jr., is ranked 15th and looking to make a jump on the big stage against the third-ranked Sooners on Saturday at Reliant Stadium.
Ward went 13-0 as a starter last season and closed by winning most valuable player honors in a Peach Bowl victory over Florida State. A victory for Houston could push the Cougars into the Top 10 and Ward into the Heisman conversation.
Ward finished last season with 1,108 yards and 21 touchdowns rushing and 2,828 yards and 17 touchdowns passing.
OU coach Bob Stoops noted that offensively, everything for Houston goes through Ward.
The Sooners return six defensive starters from a unit that led the Big 12 in total defense (364.5 ypg), scoring defense (22.0 ppg), passing defense (202.8 ypg), pass efficiency defense (108.5) and sacks (3.08 per game).
Linebacker Jordan Evans is the team's top returning tackler, and the Sooners are expecting big things from linebacker Ogbonnia Okoronkwo. Those returnees help Oklahoma enter the game with confidence.