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2022 Cheez-It Bowl Preview

Mike Norvell and Brent Venables meet again as Florida State matches up with Oklahoma in the 2022 Cheez-It Bowl in Orlando.

The 2022 Cheez-It Bowl matches up the 6-6 Oklahoma Sooners against the 9-3, and 13th-ranked Florida State Seminoles. Noles head coach Mike Norvell is no stranger to OU head coach Brent Venables, as they faced each other multiple times while Venables was still the defensive coordinator at Clemson.

2022 Cheez-It Bowl Preview

In the Sooners’ first year with Venables at the helm, the program’s 6-6 finish was a shock to many. While Caleb Williams followed Lincoln Riley to USC, Oklahoma was led by UCF transfer quarterback Dillon Gabriel. In 2022, Gabriel has passed for 2,925 yards with 24 touchdowns to just six interceptions. Running back Eric Gray has rushed for 1,366 yards and 11 scores.

On the outside, Oklahoma is led by Marvin Mims Jr. who has 52 catches for 1,006 yards with six touchdowns. His ability to elevate and bring down receptions will be tested against the Seminoles’ stout defensive backs. The Sooners average just under 33 points per game and nearly 475 yards of offense.

How the Sooners Got to Orlando

After starting 3-0, Oklahoma went on a losing streak before winning two straight conference games. The sixth win of the year came against arch-rival Oklahoma State. In their last game, the Sooners lost at Texas Tech 51-48.

Seminoles’ Offense Too Much for Oklahoma?

Defensively, Oklahoma will have a challenge in containing FSU quarterback Jordan Travis. The Junior signal-caller has taken a huge step forward in 2022 with 2,796 passing yards to go along with 22 touchdowns and four interceptions. Behind Travis, Lawrence Toafili, Trey Benson, and Treshaun Ward might be the best running back trio in college football. The Noles’ rushing attack puts up nearly 220 yards per game.

To stay in the game, the Sooners have to exploit the FSU defense. Oklahoma’s receivers have to create space in the open field and average more than five yards after the catch. From a rushing standpoint, Gray and Gabriel have to both be dynamic when carrying the ball.

The passing attack for the Seminoles has been crucial this season as Johnny Wilson and Mycah Pittman have proven to be solid additions on the outside. Wilson leads the team with 695 receiving yards and five touchdowns. Pittman has totaled 317 yards and three scores. While the receiving stats are solid, both receivers are pivotal blockers in the run game. When the Noles rush to the outside, the wideouts are great at blocking defenders and opening up space for the tailbacks.

FSU Defense Can Continue Momentum from Regular Season

On the defensive side for the Noles, Jared Verse and Tatum Bethune will be two key players to watch. The front line and middle portions of the defense will be the focal point against this Sooners offense. Jammie Robinson leads the team in tackles with 86, and will only add to that in this game. Earning tackles immediately after the catch will force OU to adjust quickly.

In order for the Seminoles to have success, using a balanced attack and keeping the Sooners’ defense alert on every play will be the key. With Venables being a defensive coach, containing the line of scrimmage and giving Travis time in the pocket will go a long way.

Cheez-It Bowl Prediction

With a 5:30 PM Eastern kick on Thursday, December 29th, the 2022 Cheez-It Bowl is drawing near. Both teams can put up points on offense. But when it comes to defense, Florida State certainly has the edge. After a phenomenal 9-3 regular season, the Seminoles put this one away in the fourth quarter and head home with a 48-37 victory in the 2022 Cheez-It Bowl.


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