The 2022 finale is upon us as the Oklahoma Sooners get set to take on the Florida State Seminoles in the Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando.
Oklahoma will have to work without their starting offensive tackles, and arguably their best offensive player, Eric Gray. They still have a lot to work with on offense with Marvin Mims, Brayden Willis, Jalil Farooq, and Drake Stoops. Jovantae Barnes and Jacob Sexton will make their first starts, which will provide a possible preview of a couple starters heading into 2023.
Get ready for the game by checking out our final Sooners Wire staff predictions of the year.
Sooners Wire Staff Predictions
With several key opt outs on the offensive side of the ball, Dillon Gabriel is going to need to play some pretty perfect football for the Sooners to win this game. Jacob Sexton and Tyler Guyton will have their hands full with a potent Florida State pass rush.
Consider this the Jovantae Barnes coming out party. He’s going to rush for over 100 yards and hit the end zone twice. Gabriel will throw for another two touchdowns.
The defense will show some improvement after the regular season finale and hold the Seminoles under 30 points.
Sooners 38, Seminoles 28
Contact/Follow Ben Dackiw
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Well, here we are. The last Oklahoma football game for 2022.
Oklahoma started the year with a first-time head coach. Six wins and six losses later, Oklahoma is in Orlando to take on a sneaky good FSU team led by Jordan Travis, a dynamic dual threat QB.
Oklahoma enters the game without significant talent. Offensive starters Anton Harrison, Wanya Morris, and Eric Gray opted out in preparation for the NFL draft. Defensively, Jalen Redmond did the same.
So how does Oklahoma upset the No. 13 team in the country with some of their best players gone? Empty the tank. Gadget plays, aggressive playcalling, and playing with an edge and emotion.
Oklahoma will likely rely heavily on quick passes, screens and the run game to keep Florida State’s first round EDGE Jared Verse at bay especially with new offensive tackles.
I see a lot of yards after the catch from Jalil Farooq who also scores on Thursday. Conversely, with no Eric Gray or Marcus Major, Gavin Sawchuk will be RB2. Will we get to see his track speed in the open field?
Gabriel tosses a touchdown to Brayden Willis, who plays his final game as a Sooner.
Defensively, I believe Oklahoma struggles early before settling in. Travis is a wizard in the pocket evading the rush and can be a dynamic guy running the ball. Oregon transfer Trey Benson has rushed 141 times for 965 yards and 9 TDs, averaging 6.8 yards per carry. The combination of he and Travis will be tough, especially with no Redmond upfront.
In the end, I think Oklahoma’s losses offensively may be a bit too much to overcome considering they haven’t had live game reps to simulate the type of defensive line FSU boasts. Seminoles win.
Seminoles 37, Sooners 24
Contact/Follow Bryant Crews
Up Next: More Sooners Wire Staff Predictions
Every game in which Dillon Gabriel played four quarters, the Oklahoma Sooners played tight ball games. That won’t change this week despite some of the opt outs.
The problem is Florida State is a really good football team that was playing as well as anyone over the last month of the season. They boast a top-20 offense and defense and bring their entire lineup to Orlando.
Oklahoma’s defense has had its moments in 2022, but overall it hasn’t been good. They have to perform better against the quarterback run game than they did earlier this season against Adrian Martinez, Max Duggan, and Garrett Greene. If they can find a pass rush similar to the performance they had against Oklahoma State they’ll have a chance to slow the Seminoles down.
The Sooners have a lot to play for, attempting to avoid their first losing season since 1998. With new starters at offensive tackle and beginning to work in younger players like Gavin Sawchuk and Kip Lewis, the Sooners are also getting a head start on their evaluations for 2023.
If Jacob Sexton and Tyler Guyton can perform well, it’ll provide the answer to who starts at tackle for the Sooners when they open the season for 2023.
Ultimately, Florida State feels like the better team in this one, but the Sooners will have their moments and play well enough to keep it close.
Seminoles 37, Sooners 33
Contact/Follow John Williams
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