Key matchups for the BCS championship game Thursday night between No. 1 Florida and No. 2 Oklahoma:
Oklahoma OTs Phil Loadholt and Trent Williams vs. DEs Jermaine Cunningham, Justin Trattou and Carlos Dunlap.
The enormous Loadholt (6-foot-8, 335 pounds) couldn't handle the speed of Texas All-American DE Brian Orakpo. The pressure on QB Sam Bradford caused the Sooners' offense to sputter in the second half of the Red River Rivalry, a 45-35 loss. None of the Gators' ends is as good as Orakpo, though the 6-foot-6, 290-pound Dunlap, a sophomore, has potential to be a star. Florida had 32 sacks this season. The Sooners allowed 11, only option teams Navy and Air Force gave up fewer. Blitzing Bradford is not a good option, too many quick throws and outlets available in OU's offense. Texas abandoned the idea and was able to get to him rushing four. Florida must do the same.
Florida QB Tim Tebow vs. Oklahoma LBs Travis Lewis, Keenan Clayton, Austin Box and Mike Balogun.
r game - but the threat of him bursting through the line and bulling over defensive backs he outweighs by 40 pounds is a big part of the Gators' high-scoring offense. Lewis, the Sooners' leading tackler, and the other linebackers need to wrap up 240-pound Tebow when he keeps the ball and not get fooled when he takes a step toward the line then drops to throw. Box's status is uncertain because of a knee injury and there's a big drop off between him and Balogun.
Florida OGs Jim Tartt and Mike Pouncey and C Maurkice Pouncey vs. Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy and NT Adrian Taylor.
The Sooners pass defense is all about pressure on the quarterback. They had 42 sacks, third-best in the nation. Overall, however, Oklahoma was 99th in the country at 253 yards passing allowed per game. Sure many of those yards came while protecting huge leads, but the fact is the Sooners don't cover well. DEs Jeremy Beal and Auston English are good pass rushers, but it's the push in the middle, especially from McCoy, a sophomore and second-team All-American, that often gets those ends free. The Pouncey twins and Tartt have to keep that pocket from collapsing around Tebow. Mississippi's victory against Florida was fueled by outstanding play from the Rebels' talented DTs. The Sooners are not as deep up front as usual with injured DT DeMarcus Granger unavailable.
d Brandon Spikes and Ss Major Wright and Ahmad Black.
Gresham is a matchup nightmare at 6-6 and 260 pounds, with good speed. The no-huddle works so well because he can lineup anywhere, so there's rarely a need for OU to slowdown for substitutions. He caught 58 passes for 888 yards and 12 touchdowns, doing most of his damage in the middle of the field. If there's one linebacker in the country who can keep up with Gresham for a little while it's the All-American Spikes. But even he gives up three inches and 15 pounds to Gresham and it's doubtful the Gators would want to put their middle linebacker in one-on-one coverage, limiting his ability to roam the field. Black, the strong safety, is built more like a corner at 5-9, 190. Wright is only a bit bigger at 6-0, 200.
Florida athletes Percy Harvin, Chris Rainey, Jeff Demps and Brandon James vs. Oklahoma Ss Nic Harris and Lendy Holmes.
the best player not named Tebow on the offense, averaging 8.8 yards per rush and 17 per catch, with 16 touchdowns.
Florida KR/PR James vs. Oklahoma coverage team
James returned two punts for scores and is dangerous on kickoffs, too (23 ypr). The Sooners had only nine punts returned against them, but their kickoff coverage has been poor, allowing 24 yards per return and four touchdowns. Oklahoma can't afford to give the Gators' offense short fields to drive.

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