Two of the most successful programs in college football history meet for the second straight season when No. 6 Oklahoma visits second-ranked Ohio State on Saturday night in a battle of high-powered offenses with veteran quarterbacks. The Buckeyes won 45-24 at Oklahoma last year and went on to make the College Football Playoff while the Sooners have won 11 straight since that setback.
“It’s definitely probably one that’s been circled on each person’s and each team’s schedule,” Oklahoma junior offensive tackle Orlando Brown told reporters. “I think Ohio State knows what they have to prove and we know what we have to prove.” Baker Mayfield completed 19-of-20 passes for 329 yards and three touchdowns in last week’s 56-7 season-opening victory over UTEP and the senior quarterback needs another big effort against the Buckeyes to give new coach Lincoln Riley his second win. Ohio State struggled before pulling away from Indiana for a 49-21 victory in its opener on Aug. 31 as freshman J.K. Dobbins emerged with 181 yards rushing in his collegiate debut with injured starter Mike Weber unavailable. Senior quarterback J.T. Barrett threw for 304 yards against the Hoosiers after a slow start and had four touchdown passes in last year’s victory over Oklahoma, which has won 11 straight true road games.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC. LINE: Ohio State -7.5
OKLAHOMA (1-0): The Sooners’ three quarterbacks completed 32 of their 36 pass attempts for a total of 496 yards, but Riley told reporters this week that his team is “going to have to be able to run the football.” Sophomore Abdul Adams (53 yards), junior Marcelias Sutton (52, touchdown) and freshman Trey Sermon (51) all showed promise at running back in the opener while tight end Mark Andrews caught seven passes for 134 yards and a score. Senior edge rusher Ogbonnia Okoronkwo led the Oklahoma defense with four tackles and a sack against UTEP while cornerback Jordan Parker (knee) was lost for the season.
OHIO STATE (1-0): Weber (hamstring), who ran for 1,096 yards last year as a freshman, practiced fully this week and is expected to add to a rushing attack that averaged 5.7 yards per carry and three touchdowns last week. Barrett completed 20-of-35 passes against Indiana and junior receiver Parris Campbell had a big night with six catches for 136 yards and a touchdown to go along with one run for six yards in his swing role on offense. The Buckeyes’ defense stepped up in the second half while allowing just seven points and All-American candidate senior defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis finished with a pair of sacks.
1. The Sooners won 29-28 in their only other visit to Columbus in 1977, but lost the other two meetings to Ohio State.
2. Barrett needs to have a hand in two more touchdowns to tie Drew Brees’ career Big Ten record of 106.
3. Mayfield needs six passing yards to reach 8,000 and is two TD passes from tying Jason White (81) for third on the school’s all-time list.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma 31, Ohio State 24