Who Wins: OSU Offense Or Baylor Defense?

Clint Chelf

If you watch the ESPN college football shows and all the previews for Saturday's Big 12 showdown the majority of the media can't get past the point-a-minute Baylor offense (hey, it's true, the Bears are averaging 61.2 points per game) and Oklahoma State's resurgent defense. Honestly, most of them are dwelling on the Baylor offense.

That is a good matchup, but the other matchup outside the kicking game will go a long way toward deciding the outcome too.

Can Oklahoma State with quarterback Clint Chelf and running back Desmond Roland run the football on the Baylor defense? Can the Cowboys receivers get open against the ultra physical and borderline thug Baylor secondary?

Nobody is in the mood to provide bulletin board material but it is obvious Baylor plays on the edge defensively. The Bears lead the Big 12 in penalties by a bunch, and more than a handful of those penalties are personal fouls and infractions of an aggressive nature. It has set somewhat of a tone.

"We know that this game's going to be very physical for us up front, for both offense and defense, and we know we're just going to have to put more points on the board than them," senior offensive guard Parker Graham said. "We've got to make sure and get each opportunity we have to score because we know that they score points in bunches. We're making sure we fire on all cylinders, and hopefully everything will work out for us."

"They are very much under the radar," fullback Kye Staley added. "Their offense is well-known for points and their yards. Defensively, they aren't getting the credit that they should. We're not looking past them at all. We are looking forward to the challenge."

A challenge it will be as some of the Oklahoma State players are beat up and sore, like a lot of players at this time of the season.

Staley, who dealt with some injuries in the summer and in August camp, is rounding into full health. His blocking has been sensational and gained a lot of attention for his dominating block on Chelf's second touchdown run against Texas last week. But the plan in August was for Staley to get the ball some more. It's never too late.

"Yeah, I'm feeling better. At the beginning of the season it was really frustrating," Staley said. "I hadn't been out there with my teammates and playing due to injury. I kept rehabbing in the training room, getting a lot of sleep and just getting my body right, that way I could get back out there with my teammates to make plays and get wins."

Staley, who can run and catch out of the backfield, is now fresh and could be a major weapon at some point.

Staley is more than happy to do whatever is needed.

"Pretty much stick to what we do best," answered Staley when asked what the offense needs to do against Baylor on Saturday. "We've been doing an excellent job of running the ball and being the most physical team on the field."

Of course, Baylor isn't backing down. Even with a slew of injuries, including some piling up on the Bears defense like the groin injury to linebacker Bryce Hager, Baylor is ready and excited.

Some OSU fans are banking on a Stillwater stranglehold that the Cowboys seem to have over Baylor, but you can't bank on that.

"We're all really excited and ready to get the game plan going," Bears linebacker Aiavion Edwards said earlier this week. "We're ready to get out there and take on the Pokes. I've yet to go to Stillwater, Oklahoma, but all the players are talking about it.

"We have a lot of guys who come in a play really well right from the start. Younger guys are coming in and stepping up that need to be. It's really nice having that depth. We haven't had it too much in the past, but things are coming along. We have a lot of depth, and we love it."

I don't think Stillwater or Boone Pickens Stadium will be responsible for the win on Saturday. I think Baylor will be fine playing on the road, but I don't think the Bears have faced adversity, and they could for the first time in Stillwater. How will they respond? You never know until it happens.

"Stuff doesn't always work out for you, and you've got to be able to play through the adversity. Like what happened with us against West Virginia," said Parker Graham. "It could have gone one or two ways, we could have gone down and lost a couple more games and downed ourselves but we decided as a team to come through and push ourselves through it and that's what's gotten us here."

It may also be what gets them over the hump on Saturday night.

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