NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma hosts West Virginia in the first Big 12 Conference game for both teams on Saturday. Here are five key statistics to keep an eye on this weekend:
Yards per play allowed: Oklahoma allowed 2.72 yards per play against Louisiana-Monroe while West Virginia allowed 5.33 yards per play against William and Mary. With both offenses struggling to find a rhythm early in the season, defense could decide the game. Early results indicate the Sooners have the superior defensive unit.
Rush attempts: The two teams combined for 94 rushing attempts in Week 1. Oklahoma ran the ball 50 times while the Mountaineers went to the ground 44 times, ranking first and second in the Big 12. The team that has the most carries on Saturday could be a great indicator of the outcome. The team with the most carries is likely to have the most success on the ground, creating more balance and opportunities for big plays.
Yards per drive: The Sooners averaged 27.2 yards per drive, ranking last in the Big 12 after Week 1. That’s not going to get it done against a West Virginia offense that is sure to score some points. OU coaches are confident quarterback Trevor Knight will be a lot more comfortable in his second collegiate game and the Sooners have repeatedly pointed to several big play opportunities they missed in their season opener.
Kickoff touchback percentage: The Sooners kicked off seven times in their season opener, recording touchbacks in every one. WVU had five kickoffs with two touchbacks (40 percent). If the offenses struggle to create sustained drives or scoring opportunities, a long kickoff return could be the difference.
Plays of more than 20 yards: The Sooners and Mountaineers combined for three explosive plays in Week 1. OU had two, WVU had one. Both offenses were known for big plays and explosive playmakers in 2012 so if either team returns to their big-play ways this weekend it could decide the game.