This is the first game of the season for the Sooners and, well it should be a glorified practice. Utah State is the kind of team I'd prefer that Oklahoma not schedule. First year Head Coach Gary Andersen led the Aggies to a 4-8 record in 2009, their best campaign since the 2002 season when they went 4-7. Last years wins came against Southern Utah, Louisiana Tech, San Jose State, and Idaho. Realistically, this game is over as I type this.
Look for Utah State to run the ball and run it often. The Aggies had the 20th ranked run game in 2009 with 2,311 yards. However, running back Robert Turbin (1,296 yards and 13 rushing TD's in 2009) required ACL injury for a knee he injured in February. The Junior averaged 6.26 yards per carry on 207 carries and will most likely sit out for the OU game. The Aggies will most likely play running back by committeewithSeniors Michael Smith and Derrvin Speight looking to establish themselves in Turbin's absence. Aggie Senior QB Diondre Borelwill look to add to the rushing attack after finishing last year with 458 yards and 6 TD's. However, don't expect the Sooners to give in to the dangerous ground game. Oklahoma's front seven will eat up an undersized Aggie offensive line and stuff the run all day.
The Aggies had the nation's 36th ranked passing attack last year, and when combined with the running game they were 12th in the nation in total offense. QB Diondre Borel was fairly efficient, completing 59% of his throws for 2,885 yards and 17 TDs to 4 Ints. The receivers are undersized. All of 5-9 158 lb Stanley Morrison returns after 616 yards on 33 catches. Eric Moats and Matt Austin will be competing for the number 2 job. Moats had 400 yards on 27 catches. The Aggies run a version of the spread that does not always utilize the tight end, however 6-2, 242 lb junior Matt Bartlett looks to return in his role as the starter after catching 9 passes for 81 yards. Much has been made about the inexperience of the Oklahoma defensive backfield, but don't expect a struggle against the Aggies with Jonathon Nelson, Quinton Carter, and Sam Proctor all returning for the Sooners. When Borel isn't running for his life, he will have a hard time finding open receivers against the more talented Oklahoma secondary.
This game won't give Sooner fans a clear idea of how the offense will perform as the Aggies finished dead last in the WAC in total defense in 2009, giving up an average of 455 yards per game. Stand-outs returning from last year include hybrid OLB/DE Bobby Wagner, who finished with 115 tackles on the year, DB RajricColeman, who finished with 74 tackles, 2 Ints, and 5 broken up passes, and DB Chris Randle and MLBKyle Gallagher who bothfinished with 53 tackles. Junior Keiahowill be the other LB after contributing 36 tackles and 3 sacks to last year's campaign. While the linebackers are a relative strength of this unit, they will have their work cut out for them as their front four all clock in at under 300 lbs. The Oklahoma offensive line should be able to easily open up holes and make Demarco Murray look like an early Heisman contender. Then we will all wake up and remember it's Utah State. Curtis Marsh and Joey Schrader will join Coleman and Randle in the backfield, but will be unable to keep up with Oklahoma's receivers. Ryan Broyles will get his numbers, but will see limited playing time as the Sooners score often and early.
This game won't be much of one and won't give us much of a preview of the 2010 Oklahoma Sooners. The stat line should be reminiscent of last year's match-up with Idaho State. Look for a final score somewhere in the neighborhood of 56-0, with Stoops pulling many of the starters early in the second half. For some reason games like this make me want to quote "There Will be Blood". So without further ado...
I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE!!!!