No. 7 Oklahoma seeks 2-0 start under new coach Venables

Kent State (0-1) at No. 7 Oklahoma (1-0), Saturday, 7 p.m. ET (ESPN+)

Line: Oklahoma by 34 1/2, according to FanDuel Sportsbook.

Series record: First meeting.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Oklahoma has already moved up two spots in the AP Top 25 and is positioning itself for a run at a playoff berth down the road. A loss would be virtually impossible to recover from and would slow the energy the program has been building under first-year coach Brent Venables. The Sooners seek a second consecutive solid win heading into a road test at Nebraska the following week. Kent State, among the favorites in the Mid-American Conference, hopes to improve on last week’s 45-20 loss to Washington.

KEY MATCHUP

Oklahoma QB Dillon Gabriel vs. Kent State’s secondary. Gabriel, a transfer from Central Florida, had a solid outing in the opener against UTEP with 233 yards and two touchdowns passing and a rushing score. Kent State gave up 345 yards and four touchdowns passing to Washington’s Michael Penix Jr. in the opener.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Kent State: WR Dante Cephas. He caught 82 passes for 1,240 yards and nine touchdowns last season and opened this season with six catches for 105 yards against Washington.

Oklahoma: DE Reggie Grimes. He opened the season with 2 1/2 sacks against UTEP, including a sack on the last play of the first half that ended a scoring threat by the Miners. The 6-foot-4, 270-pound junior also forced a fumble and had a quarterback hurry.

FACTS & FIGURES

Kent State lost to Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game last season. … Oklahoma has won 28 of its past 29 home games. … The Sooners held UTEP to 28 yards rushing on 31 attempts. … Kent State quarterback Collin Schlee completed 12 of 24 passes for 178 yards and a touchdown and ran for 47 yards against Washington. He also threw two interceptions. … Oklahoma had the ball for just 21:27 in its opener but won 45-13.

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