Oklahoma football: Takeaways from WVU for Championship Saturday

NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 25: Running back Rodney Anderson
NORMAN, OK - NOVEMBER 25: Running back Rodney Anderson /
3 of 5
NORMAN, OK – NOVEMBER 25: Running back Kennedy McKoy
NORMAN, OK – NOVEMBER 25: Running back Kennedy McKoy /

Inability to stop the run

There wasn’t much to dislike about OU’s domination of West Virginia, giving the Sooners 11 wins in 2017 with two more games to play. While they exceeded 50 points for the fourth time this season, it also was the eighth time in nine Big 12 games that they allowed their opponent to score 20 or more points.

OU nearly doubled West Virginia in total yards of offense, but the Mountaineers still managed 383 yards of offense, most of that coming on the ground (250 rushing yards). The Sooners have allowed an average of 149 rushing yards in 12 games this season.

Oklahoma probably went into the game with West Virginia wanting the Mountaineers to beat them with the pass. Recognizing that West Virginia was going with a backup quarterback, it appeared that the Sooners wanted to sell out against the run and force West Virginia to put the ball in the air.

Only the Mountaineers crossed up OU by running out of a wildcat formation for much of the game and employing a heavy dose of a running game that the Sooners seemingly had difficulty adjusting to.

West Virginia sophomore running back Kennedy McKoy did the most damage, gaining 144 yards against the OU defense on 25 carries, and Justin Crawford, who gashed the Sooners for 313 yards a year ago in a 28-point Oklahoma victory at West Virginia, added 98 more on the ground in the game on Saturday.

If the Sooners are going to defeat TCU in the Big 12 Championship, they are going to have clean up their rush defense and not allow the seven- and eight-yard running plays they were giving up far too often to the Mountaineer running backs. If TCU is able to move the ball effectively on the ground against OU in the conference title game, it will put more pressure on the Sooner defensive backs, and we all know about the bad things that can happen when there aren’t enough defenders in pass coverage.