Early Analysis: Baylor vs. Oklahoma

Lache Seastrunk and the Bears are looking to run over the Sooners on the way to the BCS.
Photo: USA Today Sports


No. 12 Oklahoma at No. 5 Baylor
Thursday, 7:30 PM, Fox Sports 1
Line: Baylor -13

Thursday night might be the biggest game in the history of the Baylor Bears program. That should be considered a statement free of hyperbole, because the Bears are in a place that they simply have not been accustomed to: being ranked in the top five, playing at home against a top 15 program in a nationally televised game that has a major impact on the BCS Championship race.

This is the type of game that could go a long way to restoring the luster to the “Big Game Bob” nickname that Bob Stoops was given early in his career at Oklahoma. If the Sooners can head into Waco and upset the Bears, it would vault the Sooners into second place in the Big 12 and keep alive their hopes of getting into a BCS game.

For Oklahoma to win: Disrupt the rhythm of the offense. Oklahoma has the talent to slow down the Baylor offense. It will be critical for the Sooners to get the Bears out of the rhythm that they want to establish. Mixed defensive fronts, zone blitzes, different coverages in the back end. Confusion will have to reign supreme to disrupt the timing of the Bears offense.

For Baylor to win: Stop the run. The Sooners want to run the ball. Baylor needs to stop the run. Baylor’s opponents run the ball about 45 times per game, ostensibly to keep Baylor from getting the ball. The Bears are allowing only about three yards per carry on those 45 attempts per game. If Baylor can maintain those numbers, then their chances of winning are very good.

Key Player, Oklahoma: Blake Bell, quarterback. As Bell goes, so go the Sooners on offense. And offense will be key to this game. Bell played pretty well in the game against Texas Tech, throwing for 249 yards and two touchdowns and adding 44 yards on the ground. Bell will be the focus of the offense, and he has to make plays when necessary in order for the Sooners to stay in the game.

Key Player, Baylor: Lache Seastrunk, running back. Seastrunk is one of the many weapons on the Baylor side, but as the lead back for the Bears, he will be one of the keys to the game. Baylor will want him to get going early and set the tone with his explosiveness out of the backfield. Seastrunk has not been used in the passing game at all, and it would be interesting to see what would happen if the Bears utilize his speed in some pass plays given how dynamic in the open field Seastrunk is.

Key Stat: 1-20. That is Baylor’s all time record against Oklahoma. The only win in the series for the Bears came in Waco in 2011. The Bears won 45-38.

About Dave Singleton

Dave Singleton has been writing about sports and other stuff on the internet for over a decade. His work has been featured at Crystal Ball Run, Rock M Nation and Southern Pigskin. Born and raised on the East Coast, Dave attended college in the Midwest. He now lives in the Las Vegas area.