Oklahoma Game Preview Part 2

Oklahoma Game Preview Part 2

In part two of our preview series for the Oklahoma game goes over how the two teams look on offense and defense, and who has the edge with both of those match ups.

The Baylor Bears travel up I-35 for a Saturday afternoon bout in Norman against the 16th ranked Oklahoma Sooners. OU is coming off of a win in Ames, IA against Iowa State, something the Bears could not do the previous week. OU lost two weeks ago at home against Notre Dame, but even including that, they are playing very good football on both sides of the ball. So, how do the Bears matchup with the Sooners?

Bears offense versus the Oklahoma defense:

Scoring

Passing

Yards / Pass

Rushing

Yards / Rush

Total Yards

Yards / Play

Yards / Point

Points / Play

Baylor O

43.1

403.6

10.1

183.3

4.6

586.9

7.2

13.6

0.531

Rank

4

1

3

39

43

1

2

41

11

Oklahoma D

18.4

169.4

5.4

154.6

4.2

324

4.6

17.6

0.264

Rank

18

10

4

54

60

17

19

21

19

This is the best defense the Bears have seen, no doubt in my mind. They are excellent against the pass and average against the run. Their schedule might have something to do with it, as they have not played Baylor, West Virginia and Oklahoma State, three of the top passing attacks in the Big 12. However, their secondary issues from last year seem to have been resolved. This is an excellent defensive secondary with great talent sprinkled out. New defensive coordinator (and old one I guess too) Mike Stoops has them playing very well and working well together.

The Baylor rushing attack got a much needed boost last week against Kansas, but was it the change in personnel or the opponent? Personally, I think it was the change in personnel as Kansas has an above average rushing defense. The Bears will need to continue to lean on that rushing attack to try and get the play-making safeties Tony Jefferson and Javon Harris creeping towards the line of scrimmage and worrying about the running game.

The Sooners defense is experienced and very talented with 5 seniors and 5 juniors starting for them. This unit has played very well against the last three weeks, allowing just 19 points per game, though it was against three 2 average offenses and a bad one in Iowa State, Notre Dame and Kansas. They are not as strong against the run, especially when the game is close or OU is behind. Against Notre Dame, they were gashed for 215 yards rushing and 5.5 yards per carry. Against Kansas State, it was 223 yards rushing and a 5.1 yard average.

Bears defense versus the Oklahoma offense:

Scoring

Passing

Yards / Pass

Rushing

Yards / Rush

Total Yards

Yards / Play

Yards / Point

Points / Play

Baylor D

41.4

332.6

7.8

211.3

4.9

543.9

6.3

13.1

0.481

Rank

118

121

90

105

92

124

101

91

104

Oklahoma O

35.3

312.3

7.6

150.4

4.7

462.7

6.2

13.1

0.473

Rank

24

17

43

70

34

26

21

27

23

The Baylor defense had its high water mark in the second half against Kansas on Saturday as they pretty much completely shut down the Jayhawks and forced several turnovers. However, this is a completely different caliber of offense the Bears will see in Norman. The Sooners are starting to gel, especially Landry Jones. The Sooners are averaging 45.4 yards per game more through the air over their season average, and most of that is due to hitting bigger plays. Their 7.6 yards per pass attempt ranks 43rd, but over the past three weeks, they have averaged 8.3 yard per attempt, good for 31st in the country, and just .2 less than the Bears.

Plus, they have done that against one of the best defenses in the country in Notre Dame, a good defense in Iowa State and an average defense in Kansas. Their passing attack is performing very well right now, and poses a huge problem for the Bears struggling back line. The Sooners have a one really good receiver in Kenny Stills and a few experienced guys that are just solid in Justin Brown and Jalen Saunders.

One player that is starting to really play well is Sterling Saunders, a freshman receiver and the primary backup. He is a fast player and one that has really grown as a receiver against zone defenses. Baylor has struggled with these underneath routes all year and he is one to watch on those routes. Baylor will have to do a good job of finding him and bringing him down, as he has the explosiveness to finish an 8 yard catch and turn it into a 60 yard touchdown.

Summary:

Look, this is not a great matchup for the Bears. Oklahoma is one of the top ranked teams in the country for a reason. Their two losses have come to two of the top 4 teams in the nation this year (both at home though). The Sooners' defense is probably the most talented the Bears will see this year. The main issue the Sooners had last year been their defensive secondary. This year, they are playing great, and have not allowed a single 300 yard passer all season. Read that again. Not one 300 yard passer all year. If the Bears get behind and are forced to pass, they are going to be in trouble. Baylor needs to be able to run and be effective doing it. Hopefully Glasco Martin and Lache Seastrunk can keep the thunder and lightning act going and give the Bears some much needed balance.

Defensively, the Bears are going up against a hot quarterback and offense. OU is doing a better job of stretching the field vertically. Their offensive line is getting healthier, and they have three running backs that can do the job, if given the chance. Did we see a turning of the corner from the defense last week, or was it just the opponent and a lightning strike?

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