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Louisiana-Monroe-Oklahoma Preview Capsules

Thursday - 8/29/2013, 2:50pm  ET

The Associated Press

Louisiana-Monroe at No. 16 Oklahoma, 6 p.m. (Pay Per View)

Line: Oklahoma by 23½.

Series record: First meeting.

WHAT'S AT STAKE

Oklahoma will begin the Trevor Knight era at quarterback, giving the offense to a redshirt freshman over the more-experienced Blake Bell and hoping experience elsewhere - most notably at running back - will ease Knight's burden. Louisiana-Monroe won at Arkansas last season and threw scares into Auburn and Baylor. Seventeen starters return for the Warhawks, who don't figure to be intimidated walking into the stadium of another prominent foe.

KEY MATCHUP

Oklahoma's revamped defense, which struggled at the end of last season against high-tempo offenses run by West Virginia, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M, against Louisiana-Monroe quarterback Kolton Browning, the Sun Belt Conference's preseason offensive player of the year. Browning passed for 3,049 yards and 29 touchdowns as a junior while leading the Warhawks in rushing with 488 yards and seven touchdowns.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Louisiana-Monroe: C Josh Allen, who's on the preseason Lombardi Award watch list and leads a veteran offensive line that has a combined 87 career starts, 30 of those by Allen. The Warhawks' line will face an Oklahoma defensive line that will have zero combined starts.

Oklahoma: LB Corey Nelson, who said during the preseason that the Sooners' defense will only be as good as its linebacker play. After a promising freshman season, Nelson hasn't quite developed into the dominating presence many expected and he admittedly struggled as a junior last season.

FACTS AND FIGURES

Oklahoma is 2-0 all-time against Sun Belt foes, beating Arkansas State in 1992 and 2000 . Louisiana-Monroe will open its season against a ranked opponent for the sixth straight year, having previously faced No. 10 Auburn (2008), No. 2 Texas (2009), No. 14 Arkansas (2010), No. 5 Florida State (2011) and No. 8 Arkansas (2012) . Louisiana-Monroe played in four overtime games last season, most among FBS programs, and won three of them . Oklahoma is 47-9-5 all-time in home openers, including 13-1 under Bob Stoops.


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