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3-2-1 Kickoff: Counting down to OU football vs. Missouri State

Oklahoma's Charleston Rambo, shown last season, could become the Sooners' top receiver this season. [BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN]
Oklahoma's Charleston Rambo, shown last season, could become the Sooners' top receiver this season. [BRYAN TERRY/THE OKLAHOMAN]

Here’s a look at some keys to keep an eye on when No. 5 Oklahoma hosts Missouri State to open the season Saturday night:

3 players to watch

Marcus Major: Running back Kennedy Brooks opted out of the season. Rhamondre Stevenson is suspended. T.J. Pledger is listed as the starter on the depth chart. But this could be a huge opportunity for Major, a Millwood product, to establish himself as a dynamic option moving forward this season. Last season, he played in just three games while dealing with an injury. He ran for just 28 yards on 10 carries. But he’s got the talent to become a key part of the backfield.

Spencer Rattler: There is Heisman Trophy hype around Rattler and this is his first chance to prove the hype is for real. He seems to have a steady composure to go along with his five-star abilities. But even against a team the Sooners are heavily favored to rout, there is pressure on the young passer to perform.

Damoriea Vick: A former Westmoore star, Vick is one of Missouri State’s best playmakers. Being a local product, it’s a chance to stand out in his homecoming. Vick is a starter at receiver and a is a return specialist. The 6-foot-3, 213-pound junior started all 11 games for the Bears last season, leading the team with 665 all-purpose yards. He was second with 39 receptions and 422 yards.

2 big questions

Who is going to emerge as the Sooners’ No. 1 wide receiver? Charleston Rambo is the obvious answer after he finished second on the team with 43 receptions, 743 yards and five touchdowns. UCLA transfer Theo Howard could see a lot of targets from Rattler, too. Howard had 119 receptions with the Bruins. But don’t count out a former five-star recruit like Theo Wease or Trejan Bridges.

How will the Sooners’ pass rush look? The Missouri State offensive line certainly won’t be the stiffest test for OU up front, but there are still loads of questions about the defensive line. Jalen Redmond opted out of the season. Ronnie Perkins is set to miss a good chunk of the year due to a suspension. The Sooners are going to need to find ways to get a pass rush from elsewhere. Maybe junior college transfer Perrion Winfrey — who has been the talk of preseason camp — is the answer. Maybe it’s LaRon Stokes or Isaiah Thomas.

1 wild prediction

OU’s defense will score two touchdowns. The Sooners forced 10 turnovers last season, but they want more. What better way to start the season than to force turnovers and score at the same time? OU will do that twice with a super aggressive approach against Missouri State.

Jacob Unruh, Staff writer

Jacob Unruh

Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the... Read more ›