One quick take and one prediction for today’s game between Oklahoma and LSU ..
Here’s the deal: There was a time this season the Oklahoma coaches lost trust in Jalen Hurts.
Not total trust. Not like the coaches didn’t think the senior quarterback was unfit for office. Nothing that severe, but the coaches were shaken enough that Lincoln Riley changed the offense.
Hurts was in a turnover funk, seemingly addicted to making poor decisions. You remember the throw against Iowa State, the inability to hold on to the ball. It forced change. And it worked.
OU morphed into a ball-control, running-first, College Football Playoff team.
And here we are. Despite the fact, Hurts is now more likely to win a game with his legs than his arm, Hurts has put up an amazing season. He was second in the Heisman voting, and it wasn’t just because he beat Baylor, Oklahoma State and TCU with a dominating running game.
Hurts can pass, and the Sooners have CeeDee Lamb. OU also has Riley, who has shown the ability to be flexible enough to change OU’s approach this season once already.
I think Riley and the Sooners change once more. Look for Hurts to run the ball, sure, but look for Hurts and Lamb and Riley to show you the team they were the first half of the season, not the second.
With a defense that is trustworthy, OU doesn’t have to play ball-control. It doesn’t have to grind it out running the ball. It can take chances.
That’s what will happen later today. Hurts is going to throw and he’s going to be successful doing it. The result will open up the running game, too, and you’ll see the Sooners put up some points in the Peach Bowl.
This year, we’ve talked so much and seen so much improvement with the Oklahoma defense. Game-clinching plays against Baylor, Iowa State, TCU – a great second-half against Oklahoma State – and a superb stand in overtime against Baylor in the Big 12 title game. All of it rightfully deserved.
But Riley’s move and change this season is more than notable. It’s impressive. He’ll impress again today and so will Hurts.
It’s going to be the passing game everyone is talking about when the Sooners upset the Tigers. Take the points, but you won’t need them. Sooners 41-31.