Ohio State defeated the Sooners 45-24 last season. A year ago, the Buckeyes narrowly squeezed their way into the College Football Playoff without playing in the Big Ten Championship. Thanks to a ruling in 2016 that allowed Mayfield to regain an extra year of eligibility after transferring to Oklahoma from Texas Tech, where he walked on, he now has a chance to do it three times after he returned for his senior season.
OU has won 11 straight since then, the longest current winning streak in the nation, and the lessons from that loss are both motivational and educational as Oklahoma faces the Buckeyes this Saturday. We'd never seen a team sing their fight song on our field.
This season, the Buckeyes find themselves ranked number two in the country with a whole season ahead of them. Still, that Ohio State front seven are outstanding, and the defense as a whole is better at creating turnovers. Mayfield is athletic enough to make plays with his legs, so if Riley draws up variety of rollouts or waggles to get his quarterback on the move, this could force the Buckeyes' defensive staff to counter by using a linebacker as a spy to contain Mayfield, which means one less defender to help in coverage. "They carried on from what they did past year".
OU's new running backs, led by Abdul Adams and freshman Trey Sermon, looked fine in a 56-7 blowout of UTEP but the Sooners averaged a pedestrian 4.7 yards per carry.
If Ohio State-Oklahoma is a primetime shootout, though, the winning quarterback nearly certainly has to vault into the Heisman lead.
Murray completed 10 of his 12 pass attempts for 149 yards passing including a touchdown. The only players to finish in the top fivethree times are Doc Blanchard, Glenn Davis, Doak Walker, Archie Griffin, Herschel Walker and Tim Tebow, a who's who of all-time college football greats.
In many ways, the Oklahoma team coming to Columbus this weekend should feel familiar to Ohio State. This week, it's Ohio State's turn. "You go back and watch it after the game. You see a lot of mistakes we made against Ohio State that we didn't make against other teams", said Parker. He helped track the worldwide shipping routes for those companies and got an inside look at the hundreds of unseen decisions that go into setting up flagship retail locations for huge companies.
"Our approach to this game is it's the biggest game of the year", he said. "These guys are probably going to come in here with a chip on their shoulder from last year's game".
On defense, the Sooners finished 68th nationally past year in points allowed per game, but the bulk of their struggles came in the early part of the season.
"I was really proud of how our receivers stepped up and how good those guys played", Riley said. "The defensive line played outstanding". Look for Oklahoma to start strong this time around. Ohio State did lose a few key pieces from last season at all three of the levels. "I think the footwork is the biggest difference between all the positions".
"The accuracy of a quarterback has to do with the timing and relationship he has with the receivers", Meyer said.
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