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No. 7 Oklahoma faces dangerous Florida Atlantic in opener

August 30, 2018

Florida Atlantic (11-3 last year) at Oklahoma (12-2), Noon ET (Fox)

Line: Oklahoma by 21.

Series Record: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

Oklahoma appears positioned to make a run at another College Football Playoff berth. While Florida Atlantic has improved greatly under coach Lane Kiffin, the Owls still aren’t the kind of program the Sooners can get away with slipping against at home and expect to have a shot at a national title. Florida Atlantic enters on a 10-game winning streak, and a win would provide a major leap in national perception.

KEY MATCHUP

Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray vs. Florida Atlantic defense. Oklahoma coach Lincoln Riley often has touted Murray’s throwing skills, but his running ability and speed are his most dangerous tools. Murray took off for a 66-yard run on the first play last season against West Virginia. The Owls will need to be disciplined to slow him down.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Florida Atlantic: RB Devin Singletary returns after rushing for 1,920 yards and 32 touchdowns last season, and Riley believes he’ll be one of the nation’s best running backs this season.

Oklahoma: RB Rodney Anderson. He didn’t even start until mid-season last year, but he had 1,333 yards and 16 touchdowns from scrimmage in his final eight games.

FACTS AND FIGURES

Oklahoma will play without Heisman-winning quarterback Baker Mayfield at quarterback for the first time since 2014 ... Oklahoma WR Marquise Brown gained 1,095 yards receiving last season, eighth-best in school history ... FAU has never beaten a ranked team ... The Sooners have scored at least 30 points in 23 of their last 24 games ... Oklahoma is 21-0 all-time against Conference USA teams.

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