You are the owner of this article.

OU football: 3 keys for the Sooners against UCLA

  • Updated
  • 1
  • 2 min to read
CeeDee Lamb

Junior wide receiver CeeDee Lamb runs the ball during the game against South Dakota Sept. 7.

No. 5 Oklahoma (2-0) won its second game of the year with a 70-14 rout over South Dakota. After starting with Houston of the American Athletic Conference and the FCS Coyotes, the Sooners will now get a taste of Power Five competition with a road trip to UCLA (0-2).

Here are three keys to a Sooner victory over the Bruins:

Cut down on penalties

Oklahoma played a nearly perfect game against South Dakota, but one of the few blemishes on the day were penalties, particularly from the offensive line.

The Sooners committed 12 penalties for 105 yards. In the first quarter alone, three offensive lineman — R.J. Proctor, Erik Swenson and Adrian Ealy — accounted for four holding flags. 

At the end of the day, the penalties didn't matter all too much as Oklahoma went on to dominate every other side of the game, but it is still not a good sign going forward. 

Through the first two games of the year, UCLA has failed to put up more than 14 points and have allowed an average of 395 yards of offense. On paper, there's no reason why Oklahoma should walk out of the Rose Bowl with a loss, but penalties and mental errors are key ways for elite teams to lose to inferior teams. 

Build off momentum of defensive performance

Since defensive coordinator Alex Grinch's hire in January, he has emphasized the importance of creating turnovers, specifying 24 turnovers as his goal for the defense.

After failing to get one in the season opener against Houston, the Sooners took the ball from the Coyotes three times, which was their most since 2017. Grinch often talks about the infectious nature of turnovers, and that getting one can lead to more in the future.

If Grinch wants to hit that goal of 24 forced turnovers, they're going to need to build on last week's performance and continue to put the ball back in the hands of the offense.

Through two games, UCLA has displayed a habit of coughing up the ball by throwing two interceptions and losing four fumbles. Oklahoma should have the opportunity to get closer to their goal of 24.

Contain UCLA WR Demetric Felton

There is very little for Oklahoma to fear with the Bruin offense. But if there is one player to worry about it's Felton.

The redshirt sophomore wide receiver has shown his ability to be a threat both catching passes and running the ball. He leads the team in both rushing and receiving yards with 99 and 127, respectively.

He makes up for his 5-foot-9 frame with elite speed that can best be seen on a 75 yard touchdown catch in the UCLA's game against Cincinnati.

While Oklahoma's secondary has looked much better than 2018, they have struggled at times this season with short screen passes, and Felton fits the mold of a receiver that thrives in those situations. 

If the Sooners can keep Felton contained, it should prove easy to keep the rest of the Bruin offense subdued.

Sign up for our newsletters

Load comments