Run and Shoot: Getting Set for OU-MU

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Getting Set for OU-MU

NORMAN, Okla. - We are less than 15 minutes away from a game that has all eyes in the Midwest on Memorial Stadium here in Norman, as the #6 Oklahoma Sooners will try to keep their hopes of defending their Big 12 title alive. Standing in the way of the Sooners are the undefeated and 11th-ranked Missouri Tigers, who are out on a mission to firmly establish themselves among the elite teams this year in college football.

The crowd is filling in nicely (with the student section full 2 hours before kickoff) and the mood here is extremely festive. Outside the stadium, tailgating was in full force, as a sea of crimson and cream worked their way across the campus. Missouri's got a few fans here as well, but they seem miniscule when looking down from press row.

It's Homecoming here at OU as well, which has brough alumni from all over the US back to Oklahoma to partake in the added festivites (and grab some of the free giveaways as well). The Sooner Schooner was out earlier, and fans were gathering to yell Boomer! Sooner! and pet the two most famous equines in college sports.

On to the game, though, which has the strong possibility of being a prelude to the Big 12 Championship in San Antonio this December. Here's what to watch....

1) Quarterback Play

This one is critical...both teams rely on great quarterbacks to be great leaders on the field for 60 minutes. Missouri's Chase Daniel (who would sit third on my Heisman ballot behind Darren McFadden and Matt Ryan) has been nothing but superb all year, accounting for 1,900 total yards and 18 Tiger touchdowns, and for Mizzou to have a chance in this game, Daniel must be at the top of his game. Oklahoma, meanwhile, has been blessed with the quick maturity of freshman Sam Bradford. Bradford, who's 104-147 on the year for 1,423 yards and 18 touchdowns, has lifted the hopes of the Sooner nation, giving them the ability to dream of a chance, albeit a slim one, of a spot in the BCS Title Game.

2) Missouri's Running Game

No Tony Temple tonight, as an ankle injury has sidelined Mizzou's best RB. This means the pressure will be on Jimmy Jackson and Earl Goldsmith to carry the running load for the Tigers. If OU is able to stop the run, Chase Daniel is going to have a very tough day, as the Sooners will definitely key up to stop the passing game.

3) Battle of the WR..or TE Stars

Juaquin Iglesias vs. Martin Rucker....this should be a FANTASTIC display of great receiving. Iglesias has 558 yards and 3 touchdowns, while Rucker has 439 yards and 2 scores. However, OU has to watch out for Missouri's TE play. Along with Rucker, Missouri's Chase Coffman provides a dangerous two TE formation that makes nickel-and-dime passing very easy for the Tigers.

4) Allen Patrick vs. the Mizzou D

Last year, Allen Patrick owned the Missouri defense, as the Tigers had no answer whatsoever in stopping the OU tailback. This year, Missouri's challenge will be to stop Patrick and the Sooner rushing attack. OU is a great balanced offense, but if Mizzou can cause the Sooners to go one-dimensional, this could be one interesting night in Norman.

5) The Fan Effect

The fans in Norman are used to big games, and they'll know just how loud to get to give Missouri jitters. Mizzou hasn't been in as many of these huge games, and with a raucous crimson and cream atmosphere at Memorial Stadium, Missouri MUST score early and settle down fast, or the Sooners could make it ugly pretty fast.

We're ready to go here in's the Sooners and Tigers in the biggest Big 12 game yet!

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