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Three Key Players For Sooners Offense vs WVU

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Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Sooners offense gets to go up against the Big 12's best defense this week in Norman. The game will be a huge benchmark as to where Lincoln Riley and Baker Mayfield's offense is heading into conference play. If they light it up, then Oklahoma might be a for real playoff contender. If they struggle moving the ball or turn it over a lot, then the Sooners will luckily have some time to straighten things out before they reach Baylor and TCU. Although Oklahoma State and West Virginia might be better defensively than the two preseason conference favorites.

For the offense to get rolling in Norman this Saturday, here are the three key players that will have to be on the top of their game in order to get the ball moving.

C Ty Darlington - The senior missed the Tulsa game with a leg injury, but the Sooners offense had no problem scoring points against the Golden Hurricane. However, Darlington will be back for the Mountaineers game along with RG Nila Kasitati (started Tulsa game but didn't play a lot) so the offensive line should be back at full strength. It will be up to them to create space for Samaje Perine and Joe Mixon, something the offense has struggled with three games into the season. It will be up to the offensive line's leader, Darlington, to make sure the big boys up front play well.

QB Baker Mayfield - This one may be obvious, but Mayfield has been solid this season and has been a huge reason why the Sooners are 3-0. If Oklahoma makes it 4-0, then he'll once again have to take charge of the offense as he did in the fourth quarter at Tennessee and the whole game against Tulsa. No team in the country has forced more interceptions than West Virginia and while Mayfield has done a good job of taking car of the ball this year he was rattled in the first three quarters against Tennessee and threw two interceptions because of it.

Mayfield's ability to take care of the ball will be the difference between a win and a loss on Saturday.

WR Mark Andrews - In my last article about what to expect from Oklahoma's offense, I named Mark Andrews as a player to watch out for. He's a pretty big receiver and is going to be the Sooners main weapon on third downs like he has been all season. He's pretty fast for his size, which makes him dangerous when he catches the ball. West Virginia's secondary is experienced, but no cornerback can go toe to toe with a tight end and win every time. That's what four to six inches of a height advantage will do for a player. Usually against experienced defenses, teams rely on size and athleticism from their skill players to create mismatches. For Oklahoma, that means getting Mark Andrews the football.