NC State West Virginia Football

AP Photo / Raymond Thompson

West Virginia defensive lineman Darius Stills (56) and West Virginia defensive lineman Dante Stills (55) during a game on Sept. 14, 2019 in Morgantown, West Virginia. Darius Stills returns as one of the Big 12's top defenders.

• Editor's Note: Questions remain about the 2020 football season due to COVID-19. The Transcript previews of Oklahoma’s schedule contain the latest available information, but opponents, times, sites and other details are subject to change.

The final stretch of Oklahoma’s 2020 season begins in Morgantown, West Virginia.

It marks OU’s second consecutive week on the road and fourth game away from Norman in five weeks.

OU's had some difficult battles with the Mountaineers at Milan Puskar Stadium since WVU joined the conference in 2012. OU won its last road meeting against West Virginia 59-56 in 2018, which clinched the Sooners’ spot in the Big 12 Championship Game.

West Virginia would have earned a Big 12 title berth with a win as well.

The Mountaineers are much different two years later. They projected to finish eighth in the conference, according to the league's preseason media poll.

While this contest might not amount to much in the Big 12 landscape, it’s still a pesky road trip that a first-year OU starting quarterback is going to have to overcome and a place where OU’s defense has made some clutch plays but has got caught up in a few shootouts.

• When: Week 10 | Nov. 7 (Time and TV, TBA)

• Where: Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, West Virginia (Capacity: 60,000)

• All-time series: OU leads 10-2

A look at the Mountaineers

• Overview: West Virginia finished 5-7 last season in coach Neal Brown’s debut year with the program.

The Mountaineers declined heavily from their 2018 campaign, which didn’t yield a Big 12 championship, but quarterback Will Grier and receiver David Sills were plenty of fun to watch.

West Virginia’s regression from 2018 to 2019 was widely on display when it visited OU. Oklahoma won the contest 52-14, which tied for the single fewest points the Sooner defense allowed in a game last season.

It was par for the course, however, for West Virginia's 2019 season. The Mountaineers' offense ranked last in total offense, rushing yards and points per game in the Big 12. Meanwhile, the West Virginia defense ranked eighth in the Big 12 in scoring defense.

West Virginia’s woes won’t be alleviated by an experienced returning quarterback this season. Both Jarret Doege and former OU signal-caller Austin Kendall saw action at quarterback in 2019, and the two will compete for the starting job this fall.

West Virginia needs more consistent quarterback play, as well as a better rushing attack to keep up in the conference. The Mountaineers at least have a few nice defensive pieces, highlighted by their top returner.

• Key returner: Darius Stills. The 6-foot-1 senior is one of the top returning defensive tackles in the country. He earned the Big 12's preseason Defensive Player of the Year award after racking up 14.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks and a forced fumble in 2019.

He will be a huge test for OU’s offensive line, which enters 2020 with plenty of experience.

• Key departure: Colton McKivitz. The former West Virginia left tackle was the focal point of the Mountaineers’ offensive line last season. The 6-foot-7 offensive lineman allowed only one sack and had zero missed assignments in six of West Virginia's 12 games last season.

For what Stills returns to West Virginia in the trenches, McKivitz is a major loss for it.  

Joe Buettner

405-366-3580

Follow me @ByJoeBuettner

jbuettner@normantranscript.com

Joe Buettner is the Norman Transcript's sports editor. You can contact him at 405-366-3580 or jbuettner@normantranscript.com. Follow him on Twitter, @ByJoeBuettner.

Recommended for you