Don’t be guilty of making the mistake of thinking that Cincinnati isn’t a good football team. The truth is that they are coming off a 10 win season in `07 and had an impressive season opening victory over Eastern Kentucky. The Bearcats have a senior led defense and an explosive offensive led by a very capable quarterback in Dustin Grutza.
|Passing||D. Grutza||21/28, 296 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT|
|Rushing||S. Johnson||9 carries 79 yards, 0 touchdowns|
|Receiving||D. Goodman||10 receptions, 144 yards, 2 touchdowns|
Cincinnati Head Coach Brian Kelly runs a pass first offense and while they are able to run the ball they have the potential to be limited to just one dimension. That is the first weakness I see in the Bearcats. If Oklahoma’s D-line and linebackers are able to put the breaks on Bearcat runners then it could be game over quickly.
The OU secondary will be certainly be tested. Brian Jackson and Dominique Franks each only have one start under their belts and they’ll have their hands full with the Cincinnati receivers. The same is true with the linebackers. Only Ryan Reynolds had experience as a starter going into last week’s game against Chattanooga. Now with Austin Box on the mend it appears that he could be making his first start as a Sooner.
Another thing that I see in the Bearcats is that they gave up three sacks last week. One was against starting quarterback Dustin Grutza and the other two were against the back up. The thing is that if Eastern Kentucky can get to the starting quarterback then you have to think that the Sooners can.
Getting Cincinnati to third down is going to be crucial for the Sooners because I find that to be another weakness. Last week the Bearcats converted an unimpressive 4-11 third down situations.
|Tackles||Ryan Manalac, Connor Barwin||5|
|Tackles for Loss||Connor Barwin||3|
Connor Barwin was the star of the Cincinnati defense last week but OU will also have to deal with defensive tackle Terrill Byrd. The combination of Barwin and Byrd will try to pressure Sam Bradford and stop Oklahoma’s rushing attack. This brings me to another potential weakness for Cincinnati. The Bearcats only registered two sacks last week against Eastern Kentucky. EKU starting quarterback Allan Holland was remarkably accurate completing 12 of 17 passes for 141 yards and a score.
In contrast, Sam Bradford was untouched last week and that was without starting left tackle Phil Loadholt who was sitting out serving a suspension. You have to think that OU’s O-Line is a lot better than Eastern Kentucky’s. With the talent that OU has at receiver if Bradford could complete 70% of his passes on Saturday then the Sooners are going to score a lot of points.
|Points Scored P/G||Points Allowed P/G||Rush P/G||Pass P/G||Home||Road|
EKU’s main struggle against Cincinnati was that they couldn’t run the ball. They only averaged 1.7 yards per carry and that was without Terrill Byrd playing. Oklahoma is going to have to set the pace early of moving the ball on the ground with DeMarco Murray and Chris Brown. The more success they have with that the more the offense is going to click.