Preview: Miami (FL) at Oklahoma
Old Rivalry Renewed
By Denis Brown
September 4, 2007
Week two in the college football season begins to bring out the first real tests for many of the teams in the national title picture and this year is no different as No. 3 Oklahoma (1-0) will face the University of Miami (1-0) at noon on Saturday in Norman, Oklahoma.
The Hurricanes will have to answer a lot of questions this weekend if they want to secure an upset. Miami comes off a 31-3 victory over Marshall in week one of the college football season, but looked very one dimensional in doing so.
Former ’Canes Head Coach Larry Coker was fired at the end of last season due to his faltering record, but the passing game was the area that saw the most significant drop off during his tenure. The Hurricanes have not been in the top-30 nationally in passing yards since losing the national title game to Ohio State, following the 2002 season. UM quarterback Kirby Freeman, who beat out incumbent starter Kyle Wright, completed nine of 21 passes for only 81 yards. Miami did rush for over 200 yards as a team, but Oklahoma will be very tempted to stack defenders along the line of scrimmage, and force Freeman to beat Oklahoma through the air.
Oklahoma beat North Texas in its opener 79-10. The superior strength and talent of Oklahoma outmatched North Texas. The Sooners gained 668 of total offense. Redshirt freshman quarterback Sam Bradford started and completed 21 of his 23 pass attempts for 363 yards and three touchdowns. Bradford came into last year being ranked 17th in the nation among incoming freshman quarterbacks by various recruiting sites.
Redshirt freshman Mossis Madu and redshirt freshman DeMarco Murray split the duties running the ball for Oklahoma last week. Madu carried the ball nine times for 87 yards and Murray ran 17 times for 87 yards. Senior Allen Patrick missed the opener with a sprained ankle and has been practicing on a limited basis. It is unknown as of yet whether he will play. His leadership would be vital to Oklahoma Head Coach Bob Stoops, as the Sooners had three people who had never played a game in college in the backfield against North Texas.
Miami has a strong defense that ranked 13th in the nation last year in points allowed and is led by All-American candidate defensive end Calais Campbell.
A win for Oklahoma is vital to the Sooners national championship hopes. Oklahoma will not play No. 18 Nebraska this season and the only other non-conference games are against Utah State and Tulsa. While Miami has taken a step back in the past couple of years, beating the Miami name will be a necessary step for Oklahoma to make a run at the BCS National Championship game.
Miami and Oklahoma have created some classic match-ups with the Hurricanes holding a 3-2 all-time series lead; however, the two teams have not met since Miami won the national title with a 20-14 decision over the Sooners at the Orange Bowl at the end of the 1987 season. The classic rivalry will be renewed and a new chapter will be written on Saturday.
Denis Brown is an independent contributor to College Football Poll.com.