Vitals: Oklahoma vs. Texas A&M

Thursday, November 3rd 2011, 10:43 pm
By: News 9

Corey DeMoss,

No. 6 Oklahoma Sooners (7-1, 4-1) vs. Texas A&M Aggies (5-3, 3-2)
2:30 p.m. CST
Oklahoma Memorial Stadium; Norman, Oklahoma

Statistical Leaders:

  Oklahoma Texas A&M
Passing Landry Jones
236/355, 3,094 yards, 26 TDs, 9 INTs
Ryan Tannehill
200/306, 2,322 yards, 18 TDs, 7 INTs
Rushing Dominique Whaley
113 carries, 627 yards, 9 TDs
Christine Michael
132 carries, 811 yards, 8 TDs
Receiving Ryan Broyles
81 catches, 1,070 yards, 10 TDs
Ryan Swope
52 catches, 725 yards, 7 TDs

Where to find it:

On Radio: Sooner Radio Network

Injury Report:

Oklahoma: LB Tom Wort (back, probable); DB Jamell Fleming (knee, probable); OL Ben Habern (arm, probable); K Jimmy Stevens (quadriceps, questionable); RB Dominique Whaley (ankle, out for season)

Texas A&M: WR Jeff Fuller (toe, probable); LB Garrick Williams (ankle, probable); WR Kenric McNeal (foot, questionable); DB Coryell Judie (hamstring, questionable); LB Brandon Alexander (elbow, questionable); DL Jonathan Mathis (knee, out for season)

What you need to know…

In their final season in the Big 12, the Aggies have had trouble closing out games. Their three losses have been by a total of 12 points, and they were winning at halftime of all three. But because of their repeated late-game meltdowns, they have dropped all the way out of the Top 25 after starting the season at No. 9.

Meanwhile, the Sooners rose to No. 6 in the BCS this week thanks to a dominant win over Kansas State and struggles by teams around them in the rankings. OU still has a chance to make it to the national championship if things fall a certain way, but style points have become important.

With Texas A&M struggling in the second half all season, if the Sooners can start the game fast they may be able to put things out of reach early. The Aggies have not trailed at halftime in any game so far this season and have not shown an ability to mount comebacks.

Who you need to watch…

With walk-on sensation Dominique Whaley out for the rest of the season with a broken ankle, the Sooners will need to find someone who can deliver consistently at running back. Whaley essentially has missed the last two games because of illness and injury, and since he left the lineup OU has run the ball just 50 times and thrown it 105 times.

Other than a 55-yard run by Roy Finch against Texas Tech, the running game has looked stagnant without Whaley. The Sooners have been unable to find someone else who can consistently produce between the tackles.

Finch is a big-play threat and Brennan Clay is strong in the passing game, but nobody other than Whaley has been able to carry the ball 20+ times in a game and remain productive. True freshman Brandon Williams saw more playing time against Kansas State, which could continue. But he only rushed for 22 yards on eight carries.

On defense, OU will need to focus on shutting down Texas A&M's running game. The Aggies use two running backs – Christine Michael and Cyrus Gray – in equal doses, and both have put up similar stats this season.

That duty will largely fall to middle linebacker Tom Wort, who will need to avoid over-pursuing running plays and leaving lanes open. If the Sooners can make Texas A&M one-dimensional, they should have no problem outscoring the Aggies.