The Miners and the Sooners have met two times prior to this match-up, back in 2000 and then again in 2002. With the Sooners taking both games. In another, “the more you know” moment, Oklahoma has also not lost an opening road game since 1968. Head coach, Bob Stoops is 11-2 in openers.
The Miners went 2-6 last season in the CUSA and 5-7 overall. Unfortunately for UTEP, they have some major weaknesses going into this game. They have a Senior QB Nick Lamasion who had 1700 yards last season, and his two main targets in the air Jordan Leslie and Michael Edwards, but an non-existent running game. Their most experienced running back has 166 yards and 1 touchdown on the books for the Miners.
Speaking of rushing, their rush defense is a huge question mark. The Miners defense allowed an average of 190 ypg on the ground last year. I would expect the Sooners to be testing out Dom Whaley’s skills once again. To the Miners credit, the should have a strong defensive line, returning starters Josh Fely and Germard Reed.
The Miners size and speed is not going to hold up against the Sooners. They are going to have to really work to keep up with the Sooners hurry-up offense and the speed of the Sooners secondary. The Sooners need to remember to not take any team for granted going into this match-up and to not over think this game. One of the main issues for the Sooners in 2011 was consistency and under-estimating opponents. With that being said, Oklahoma wins this one, big time. The Miners will be able to maybe hang in there with the Sooners until the first quarter is over, then it is going to be a field day. Expect lots of back-up Sooners to come in and get as many reps as possible if the score does run start to get out of hand.
There was a lot of pressure going into the 2011 season for Oklahoma and with all of the changes being made in Norman, its going to be an interesting start for Sooner fans in 2012.
*Bob Stoops announced late Wednesday afternoon that DT Casey Walker is probable due to personal injuries, nothing football related. Once more news on this breaks, will update*
The game is scheduled for a 9:30 PM CST kick-off in El Paso.