The No. 20 Oklahoma Sooners open up their season at home as a 36-point favorite against the Arkansas State Red Wolves on Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023. Kickoff is set for 11:00 a.m. (CT). The Sooners are looking to get off to a strong start after a disappointing 2022 campaign.
Storylines for Oklahoma
Who will be the go-to running back?
Marcus Major and Tawee Walker were listed as starters over Jovantae Barnes and Gavin Sawchuk on the depth chart. The coaching staff has raved about Major and Walker over the offseason, but I still think this was a surprise to some. I still expect to see plenty of reps for all four of them against Arkansas State, and this is not a bad problem to have. This running back room is deep.
Linebackers looking to show improvement
Sooner fans were happy to see Jaren Kanak listed as the starting Mike Linebacker. Kanak showed a lot of promise last season, but he did not have much experience at the position.
“He’s really improved,” Brent Venables said. “He’ll make tremendous improvement during the season. There’s a lot going on there. He’ll be baptized during the season. I have no illusions of grandeur. That’s going to happen but I bet on people, and we’ve got an amazing group of people in the linebacker room.”
Oklahoma also returns Danny Stutsman at the Will Linebacker, who led the conference in tackles in 2022.
Storylines for Arkansas State
How will J.T. Shrout do in a new offense?
Shrout will be the starting quarterback for the Red Wolves after transferring from Colorado. The offensive line will need to be much better than last season, but the Red Wolves do return some production at wide receiver.
Linebacker Melique Straker will be the leader on defense
Straker leads all returners in sacks and tackles for loss from last season. The Oklahoma offensive line will have to but a big focus on him.