Today when the Oklahoma Sooners take on the Oklahoma State Cowboys for all the marbles in the Big 12 (with Kansas State also involved, of course), all eyes will be on the outcome wondering what it will mean to the BCS standings. And within this contest, EESPN says one particular match-up stands out more than others: Justin Blackmon of OSU vs. Jamell Fleming of OU.
Blackmon is arguably the most dominant wide receiver in all of college football. He won the Biletnikoff Trophy last season as the best wideout in the country and he’s also a finalist this year with 103 catches, 1,241 yards and 15 touchdowns. Fleming, on the other hand, has 46 tackles and 1 interception on the season along with two forced fumbles. Over at ESPN, they highlight the duo:
Fleming has been the Sooners’ best cover corner this season and should draw Blackmon most of the time. The 6-foot-1, 215-pound Blackmon doesn’t have elite top-end speed but is a physical route-runner who displays above-average suddenness out of cuts. Fleming lacks upper-echelon movement skills but does possess enough short-area quickness to stay within range of Blackmon.
Fleming will face his toughest challenges when the ball is in the air and after the catch. Blackmon’s long arms provide him a wide catching radius, and combined with his strength, body control and strong hands, that makes him a one-on-one nightmare downfield. In addition, Blackmon is a physical runner with an effective straight-arm to break tackles and pick up yards after the catch. Two things will be crucial for Fleming. First, he must position himself well when the ball is in the air. Second, he must do a great job of breaking down and securing the tackle. If Fleming fails in either of these categories, it could result in the kind of big plays we’ve become accustomed to seeing from Blackmon.