Key No. 1: Brennan Presley needs to make plays
In OSU’s 24-21 loss to Iowa State two weeks ago, it seemed that Cowboys offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn had started to move away from Jaylen Warren in the second half. The senior, who’s having a breakout season with the Cowboys, finished the game with only 18 carries for 76 yards, a far cry from his touches and production from the team’s previous four contests — including averaging a nation-best 164.5 rushing yards per game during this stretch.
It was understandable at the time in Ames, given that things were opening up for the OSU passing game and Spencer Sanders was hitting his targets.
West Virginia has a stout run defense: only 11 teams in the country have allowed fewer rushing touchdowns (seven) than the Mountaineers have this season. West Virginia has also allowed only 3.6 yards per carry to its opponents this season.
All of this means that OSU might not lean on Warren as it did in wins against Kansas State and Baylor. The senior running back has proven that he’s tough enough to pick up third-down yardage between the tackles while also being fast enough to break open a big play, but the Cowboys might not be able to rely on him exclusively to carry the team to a road win this weekend.
Enter wide receiver Brennan Presley. The sophomore from Bixby was quiet during last week’s 55-3 romp against Kansas, but he has been the key to make the OSU offense go in earlier games this season.
Against Iowa State two weeks ago, the 2019 Oklahoma Gatorade Payer of the Year was electric. He moved across the middle of the field with ease and had several acrobatic catches, including a beautiful 42-yard score that that put OSU ahead 14-7 right before halftime.
If OSU is going to move the ball consistently against the Mountaineers, Presley will have to continue making big plays.