Sooner Surge: Oklahoma up to No. 2 behind Alabama in AP poll

In 37 career games, Barrett has thrown for 72 touchdowns (against 21 interceptions) and run for 32.

There are more believers now, in the Sooners and in their quarterback. Let's take a look at the keys for victory for both teams?

Time: 7:30 E.S.T.

A frustrating night ended with Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield planting the Oklahoma flag in the middle of the Block O at midfield, creating the most lasting image on a night to forget for the second-largest crowd (109,088) in Ohio Stadium history. This will be easier said than done. But there were also clear misfires made by the Buckeyes' starting signal-caller, including a 3rd down overthrow of K.J. Hill in the end zone, which forced Ohio State to settle for a field goal with the game tied at 10 midway through the third quarter.

If Ohio State dominates both those match-ups it could win easily. The fourth-year signal caller went 20-35 for 305 yards and three touchdowns - leading a potent Buckeyes attack. Barrett antagonized the Sooners' defense, passing for 152 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for 74 yards.

Mayfield lived up to his billing as a Heisman Trophy candidate in shifting the Sooners (2-0) into overdrive and piling up the yards in the second half as the Buckeyes' offense sputtered. Weber will be seeing his first game action of the year after being held out due to a hamstring issue, and Dobbins is coming off of the best first-game freshman performance of any Ohio State running back.

Oklahoma did not have much success on the ground with just 108 yards as a team, but nine different receivers caught passes. Jeff Badet and freshman CeeDee Lamb each had five receptions a piece for a combined143 yards. The tall task of replacing Deshaun Watson has fallen to junior Kelly Bryant, who will have solid receivers Deon Cain and Hunter Renfrow at his disposal. Riley will need to have his team prepared to play at their best if they want to exact revenge on Ohio State and propel themselves into the national title conversation this early in the season.

During the Nick Saban era, Alabama is 6-1 straight-up and 3-4 against the spread during games in September when it was favored by 10 or fewer points. He displayed maturity and moxie, patience and play-making ability.

The Buckeyes had just 92 yards in the first half.

Going back to previous year, Barrett has passed for fewer than 200 yards in a game four times in his last five starts. On offense, the Buckeyes ran for almost 300 yards on the ground. He's backed up by fellow junior Kerryon Johnson, who racked up 895 yards on 4.9 yards per carry.

Either way, Ohio State's offense machine - with the exception of a second-half performance against inferior IN in the season-opener - has run about smoothly as a gasoline engine filled with diesel fuel. The senior quarterback completed 27-of-35 passes for 386 yards and three touchdowns in the victory. Stanford running back Bryce Love ran for 180 yards in their first game. Ohio State's revamped passing game showed the same problems that plagued it in the 31-0 loss to Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl. However, it feels like the Buckeyes' offense hasn't quite hit its stride and once it does it could aim for new levels of explosiveness.

  • Julie Sanders