It’s Homecoming in Stillwater, as Oklahoma State welcomes Baylor into town with an opportunity to fight back into the top half of the Big 12 conference standings.
The Baylor Bears are coming off of a nail-biting two overtime victory over the Texas Tech Raiders. Coach Matt Rhule has the Bears rolling in his third season, with an undefeated start after six games for the first time since 2016. Quarterback Charlie Brewer and the rest of the Baylor Bear team will look to make this a seven-game start to the season after this Saturday in Stillwater.
Oklahoma State will be looking to see how this team can respond from an entire bye week after getting handled by the Texas Tech Red Raiders. After the bye week, how will quarterback Spencer Sanders handle himself? Will the game in Lubbock two weeks ago, still affect him, or will he be able to grow past it and put together a complete game.
In the all-time series record, Oklahoma State and Baylor are essentially tied, with the Cowboys leading the series with 20 wins compared to 17 for Baylor. In the last ten seasons, there has been an even split with five wins apiece. What is interesting about this series is that each Oklahoma State victory over the previous ten seasons has come with a margin of victory of at least 27 points, whereas Baylor has won by at least four and no more than 18 points. If history is any indication for Saturday, and there is a close game, look for Baylor to pull off the victory. But Oklahoma State is going to look to put away the Bears early.
- When: Sat, Oct 19, 3:00 PM CT
- Where: Boone Pickens Stadium
- Weather: Sunny, High of 75°F
- TV: FOX
- Stream: Fox Sports Go
- Line: OKST -4, O/U: 68
No. 18 Baylor Bears
BY MATT WORKMAN
I don’t know how many people within the college football community predicted the Bears would be 6-0 heading into week 8. Baylor has beaten teams that some prognosticators thought they would lose. They defeated pre-season darling Iowa State and went on the road in tough environment and defeated Kansas State. Baylor has also taken care of teams they were supposed to beat. They handily dispatched the non-conference opponents except Rice game which was closer than imagined. Last week the Bears defeated Texas Tech on homecoming in a double-overtime thriller.
Charlie Brewer has been solid all year and relatively mistake-free until last week where he threw three interceptions. He has amassed 1,559 yards passing and 11 passing touchdowns. On the ground, he has rushed for 129 yards and 5 touchdowns from his quarterback position. He has been aided by the stellar play of wide receivers Denzel Mims and the emergence of sophomore Tyquan Thornton. The offensive line has been improved from previous seasons but still has work to do if they want to compete for a Big 12 championship.
The defense has really been the story of the season in 2019. With the leadership of Seniors Clay Johnston, Bravvion Roy and Chris Miller they have improved more than even the most bullish fan could have imagined. They are performing at a top 25 level and hope to keep it up as Baylor moves into the meat of its schedule. The Bad news is they will have to do it without a defensive leader after losing Clay Johnston for the rest of the year with a knee injury. Replacing Johnston will be sophomore Terrel Bernard however Rhule said that everyone on defense will have to step up to replace Clay Johnston.
Baylor Keys To The Game
Pressure and contain Sanders – Spencer Sanders has shown to be a dynamic quarterback both in the air and on the ground. He also shown a tendency to force throws or make mistakes when things get rough. Baylor will need to continue to put pressure on the quarterback and force Sanders to force throws. This, in turn, will allow Baylor to get some turnovers.
Limit Hubbard as much as possible – Chubba Hubbard is going to get his yards. The goal is to limit him as much as possible. Hubbard is going to get between 25-35 carries. If the Bears can limit him to 150 yards or less I would consider that a job was well done. Baylor has been successful on defense against the run this year but they have not seen a player like Hubbard yet this season.
Start fast on offense – The last two weeks, the Baylor offense has gotten off to slow starts. Both times, Baylor was able to have strong second-half performances to come out with wins. The Bears can not afford to start slow against the likes of Chubba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace. Baylor needs to start fast on offense to either jump ahead of Oklahoma State or to keep up with the scoring.
After the slow starts on offense against Kansas State and Texas Tech, Baylor will finally get a quick start to their offensive production and Charlie Brewer will have two first-half passing touchdowns. Baylor’s defense is a little shaky to start feeling the effects of the loss of Clay Johnston but will find its legs and start to play like they have all season long. This will be a back and forth game, but Baylor will find a way to jump ahead in the fourth quarter. I expect the Bears defense will hold Oklahoma State scoreless in the final quarter. Baylor will continue its winning ways and improve to 7-0.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
BY HAYDEN DENNIS
After having a whole bye week to evaluate what happened in Lubbock, the Cowboys are going to look and see if they can get Spencer Sanders into a rhythm early and put him in situations where he does not need to try and force anything in the passing game. After coming off of a game where he accounted for five turnovers himself, building his confidence in the offense again is of massive importance for coach Gleeson.
With Oklahoma State officially starting the Chuba Hubbard for Heisman campaign, the rushing attack has their work cut out for them this week. The Baylor Bear defense is only allowing 111 rushing yards per game in the Big 12 portion of their schedule. For Chuba to be successful Saturday, the offensive line is going to win the line of scrimmage and open up running lanes for him to do his Canadian magic on another team this season.
Another way to help Chuba out this week is going back to Spencer Sanders and the passing game. If the Bears are forced to focus on the passing attack, such as Tylan Wallace and Dylan Stoner more, then that is going to open up the box and help Chuba find wide-open lanes to run through. But, this all is dictated on if Sanders can take care of the ball and not make throws that are suspect in decision making. If Sanders can find a rhythm and hit the deep ball consistently, then the offense is going to be alright.
The Cowboy defense was put into a hard place during the Tech game, having to face five extra drives because of the turnovers by the offense, but still only giving up 45 points is I suppose a silver lining. This Baylor offense is fairly even in the passing/rushing split, with a slight edge to passing being the more often used weapon in the offense. For the defense to be successful this week, they are going to need to play coverages and disguises to confuse Brewer and cause some inerrant throws, but only being responsible for three interceptions this season is a task. But, it is a task that the Cowboy defense is up to this week.
Some questions to think about during the game are simple. Is the defense forcing three and outs? How comfortable is Brewer in the pocket Saturday? If the defense is not bringing pressure, then it could be a long day for the Cowboys. Also on the Oklahoma State side, is Sanders comfortable in the pocket? Is the offensive line blocking up front and keeping a clean pocket and helping slow the game down for the redshirt freshman quarterback?
Oklahoma State Keys To The Game
Do Not Force – Find a rhythm for Sanders; put him in passing situations that do not require numerous reads. Instead, let him get a feel for the game and play at his speed instead of the speed that Baylor wants.
Force Turnovers – Let the defense force turnovers from the Baylor offense, and give coach Gleeson and his offense ample more chances to put up big numbers and put away the Bears early.
Front Seven – Win the line of scrimmage, simple as that. If the offensive line can keep the pocket clean for Sanders and open up running lanes for Chuba, then the Cowboys will have an excellent Homecoming for the Cowboy faithful.
Look for the Cowboy offense to feed off of the Homecoming crowd, and come out with a fast start. Sanders is going to hit some quick rhythm routes to find his footing, and Chuba is going to do Chuba things and continue his stranglehold as the nation’s leading rusher. Look for the defense to have a game similar to when Baylor came into Stillwater in 2013 and cause mayhem for the Bear offense. The Cowboys put away the Baylor “Yogi” Bears quickly Saturday.