Regardless of what went down in Blacksburg last Saturday afternoon we shouldn't expect anything to be easy for OU Saturday night. The Hurricanes are going to be looking for national redemption after taking it on the chin from the Hokies last weekend and will have a bit of a personal vendetta after falling to the Sooners 51-13 in Norman during the 2007 season.
Oklahoma/Miami is a storied rivalry that stands tied at three games apiece. The Sooners will need several things to go right in order for them to chalk this up as a win but there are five reasons to be confident in OU coming out of Miami with a win and a 4-3 advantage in the series.
- Miami Is Athletic But Inexperienced
Between the 22 offensive and defensive starters the Miami Hurricanes feature six sophomores and two freshmen. They are replacing seven starters on offense and five on defense. Both units are incredibly athletic but not necessarily seasoned which means that they may wow you on one play and then turn around and make a total boneheaded play the next. Quarterback Jacory Harris had been as cool as ice for the Hurricanes this season but under the relentless pressure of Virginia Tech's defense he made several costly errors.
- Miami Has Trouble Stopping The Run
OU fans would certainly like to see Sam Bradford back in action this Saturday night but if he is or isn't it may not change the game plan. By giving up an average of 159 yards per game on the ground the Miami defense ranks 86th nationally against the run. In last week's game Virginia Tech quarterback Tyrod Taylor only completed four of his nine passing attempts but the Hokies ran the ball 55 times for a net average of 272 yards. That equals out to 4.9 yards per rush.
3. Miami Has Trouble Running The Ball
Oklahoma's rushing offense may not be overly impressive with a national ranking of 33rd but it's a lot better than 93rd where the Hurricanes sit. Miami is averaging 111 yards of offense on the ground but against a stout Virginia Tech defense last Saturday the Hurricanes were nearly shut down completely. They managed just 59 yards on 34 rushing attempts for an average of 1.7 yards per rush. Oklahoma is currently ranked first nationally in rushing defense by only allowing 40 yards on the ground per game.
2. Coaching Tilts In Oklahoma's Favor
Let's be honest and call a duck a duck here. In Oklahoma's last two trips to Dolphin/Land Shark Stadium they've had to play USC and Florida and this Miami squad is neither of those. Don't get me wrong though, the Hurricanes deserve their Top 25 ranking but this is the best chance Bob Stoops has had to win in South Florida in his last three attempts. Into his third season as Miami's head coach, Randy Shannon has a 141-14 record, just barely keeping his head above water. When Bob Stoops was in his third season at Oklahoma he was the defending national champion. You have to give the coaching advantage to Oklahoma.
- Defense Leads The Way For Oklahoma
They say that defense wins championships and that appears to he Oklahoma's best hope in 2009. Just a month removed from a season opening loss the Sooners are back in the thick of a national championship hunt and where all the focus was put on the offense last season it's the defense setting the pace in `09. Oklahoma has gone eight consecutive quarters without being scored on and regardless of who you are playing that is impressive. The Sooners are currently 5th in the nation in total defense and 1st in scoring defense. I like OU to get more defensive stops and subsequently better field position than Miami.