Oklahoma-Ohio State: Q&A with Buckeyes’ FanSided expert

NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 17: J.T. Barrett /

On the eve of the much-anticipated rematch — much anticipated by Sooner fans, at least — of Saturday’s game between No. 5 Oklahoma and No. 2 Ohio State, we posed several questions to Ohio State FanSided expert Charlie Lockhart.

What follows are his responses:

Q: The two quarterbacks return in the 2017 rematch, but there are plenty of other changes on both sides. What are the big differences year over year in the Buckeyes’ personnel, as well as the team’s strengths and weaknesses?

Lockhart: The Ohio State strengths are the front seven of the defense and the running attack (with freshman J.K. Robbins and returning running back Mike Weber, who had a 123-yard rushing performance against the Sooners a year ago). Question marks are the wide-receiving corps and the rebuilt secondary. I guess we will find out if they are truly weaknesses after Saturday.

Q: The two teams have played each other only three times in their histories. The home team in the three previous games has failed to win a game. In fact, Ohio State has never beaten a No. 5-ranked team at home in Columbus. Is the home-field jinx an X-factor in this year’s game?

Lockhart: That’s a great question, and one I for which I don’t have an answer. Perhaps when two storied programs go up against each other the home team does feel added pressure.

Oklahoma Sooners Football
Oklahoma Sooners Football /

Oklahoma Sooners Football

Q: Bob Stoops is out and Lincoln Riley is in as the Oklahoma head coach. What effect does this have on how Ohio State prepared for Oklahoma and what, if anything, do the Buckeyes expect differently from a Riley-coached Sooner team than from the Sooners under Stoops?

Lockhart: Urban Myer has said he doesn’t expect many changes because the assistant coaches are still there. I agree, because why would you make major changes when you already have a strong team?

Q: Some CFB experts say Ohio State has the best defensive line in the country this season. Those same experts say the same about the Oklahoma offensive line. How does Ohio State view this key matchup in the trenches? 

Lockhart: I agree with the experts, and you as well, Chip. As a college football purist, this, to me, will be the most fascinating matchup in the game.

Q: Outside of J.T. Barrett (who is public enemy No. 1 as far as the Sooners are concerned), which Buckeye players will have the biggest impact on this game, and why?

Lockhart: The Ohio State defensive ends and the H-back, Paris Campbell. This kid has just scratched the surface of his talents.

Q: Your prediction?

Lockhart: The Buckeyes aren’t going to stop Baker Mayfield and the Sooner offense, but I think they will hold them down somewhat. And Kevin Wilson (former Indiana head coach and former offensive coordinator at Oklahoma) finally had the Buckeye offense rolling late in the Indiana game, and I expect more of the same.