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Sooners: Previewing The Mountaineers' Offense

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This Saturday marks the beginning of Big 12 play for the Sooners, and they’ll host the No. 23 West Virginia Mountaineers (3-0) with kickoff set for 11 a.m. Last season OU walked away with a 45-33 win in Morgantown, and they’ll look to improve to 4-0 overall with a win this weekend.  

Breaking down the WVU skill players

There are a lot of good things you could say about the West Virginia offense through three games this season. We all know of the creativity that WVU head coach Dana Holgorsen possesses from his one year in Stillwater, and he definitely knows how to concoct a stellar game plan.

Quarterback Skyler Howard has been the steady leader of the Mountaineer offense, and has thrown for 916 yards and nine touchdowns while completing 69 percent of his passes. Howard has a tremendous quarterback rating (83.9), and threw 178 straight pass attempts without throwing his only interception last week against Maryland.

10/1/15 Related Story: WVU Defense Among Nation's Best 

Any good quarterback has a solid crew of receivers, and Howard has a plethora of athletes at his disposal. Shelton Gibson is a big time playmaker for the Mountaineers, and his incredible speed has helped him to total 12 receptions for 329 yards and four touchdowns this season. True freshman Jovon Durante has 12 catches as well to go with his 199 yards and two scores while Daikiel Shorts also has double digit receptions with ten. Howard knows how to spread the ball around to all of the weapons he has, and more importantly he rarely makes mistakes.

What makes this offense stand out most is its balanced attack. The Mountaineers have averaged 323 passing yards a game to compliment the 220 yards they grind out on the ground. Wendell Smallwood is a dynamic threat at running back, totaling 331 rushing yards on the season to go with four touchdowns and an impressive ten catches out of the backfield.

If OU wants to win this game they must force turnovers on defense and create havoc. OU has only forced two turnovers this season, and that number will need to improve moving forward. To the delight of most Sooner fans, there should be times we’ll get to see both Eric Striker and Devante Bond on the field at the same time. Holgorsen mixes things up sometimes by using both a fullback and a tight end, and that will allow Striker and Bond to both be out there together. That disruptive rushing attack could potentially force Howard into some poor decisions which could benefit the Sooners.

Key recruiting targets headed to Norman

With a big conference opponent like West Virginia in town, we can expect to see a solid group of recruits making the visit to Norman this weekend.

Two Louisiana recruits really stick out as players the Sooners would like to impress. Defensive tackle Stephon Taylor is a beast in the trenches, and hundreds of schools are interested in signing the top prospect. The 6-5 tackle is considering TCU, Ole Miss, Auburn, Nebraska and LSU among others.

Also look out for New Orleans defensive end Sci Martin, who holds offers from schools such as Arizona State, LSU, Miami, TCU and Utah.

Safety Brandon Burton is one of the best players in California, and OU will have its shot at impressing him on Saturday. Burton will also take visits to Notre Dame, Florida State, Ohio State and Alabama.

Bosworth to be honored

Legendary Sooner linebacker Brian Bosworth will be honored in between the first and second quarter of Saturday’s game. Honoring Bosworth will be The National Football Foundation (NFF) and the College Hall of Fame. Bosworth will be in attendance at the game along with members of the 1985 national championship team that will be honored at halftime.

"It's a dream come true for me because I was an Oklahoma boy, and I got to live a dream and play at a university that had such a great tradition of great players," Bosworth said at the January press conference announcing the 2015 class.

"To me, it was a responsibility to go to that university under my favorite coach, Barry Switzer, and have a four-year opportunity to make a mark during that time. To me, it just verifies the work that we as a football team did together. This award is not my award. It is an award that I share with all of my teammates and all of my coaches."

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