Baylor hosts Oklahoma State

Coming off of their final bye-week, the Bears are rested and ready for the stretch run. 3 games in 3 weeks, with the first a home contest against Oklahoma State.

The anxiety around the arrival of this game sure would have been much higher just 6 weeks ago. Oklahoma State was then a Top-20 team, with a single loss to the top-ranked team in the nation in Florida State. They were 5-1 and not only looking to get bowl eligible, but continue to rise up the ranks. It was another reloading effort by Coach Mike Gundy and his squad. However, the curtain was pulled back and we didn't find a Top-25 football team. We found a lonely cowboy riding a beaten up horse.

Four losses have found the Pokes since that lofty 5-1 start. The losses haven’t been close either, with the narrowest margin of defeat being 21 points last week on the road against Texas. They lost by 33 to TCU, 24 to West Virginia, and 34 to Kansas State. This is a team that is completely lost right now, and has struggled offensively do really do anything well. With starting quarterback J.W. Walsh out for the year, Gundy turned to Daxx Garman. His game translates more to a third “x” and not in a good way. The junior quarterback has as many interceptions as touchdowns, and even with a huge arm, has not been able to exploit defenses deep.

A battered offensive line and a young defense have also hurt the Cowboys, who might even be without Garman as well on Saturday. In his place could be true freshman Mason Rudolph. However, there is a possibility that the Cowboys coaching staff will want to preserve Rudolph’s redshirt and instead play freshman walk-on Taylor Cornelius. Either way, the Cowboys will be playing a young and un-tested quarterback behind an offensive line that has been patch worked together with spare parts. With the Baylor Bears focused on the task at hand, and maybe even remembering a certain visit to Stillwater last year, this could get ugly quick.

MEDIA INFORMATION
Matchup 6/6/7 BAYLOR (8-1, 5-1) vs. NR/NR/NR OKLAHOMA STATE (5-5, 3-4)
Date Sat., Nov. 22 | 6:30 p.m. CT
Location Waco, Texas | McLane Stadium (45,140)
TV FOX
Radio ESPN Central Texas | Sirius 117 | XM 199
Online Audio Listen Online
Live Stats Gametracker
Gameday Info Gameday Central
Ticket Info Tickets
Game Notes Baylor Notes |OSU Notes
Twitter @BUFootball

Fun Stats of the Game

-The Cowboys are going for their 6th win, which would make them bowl eligible for a school record 9th straight season.

-The Bears have won 14 straight games at home, tied for the longest streak in the nation. The Bears also have the nation’s best home record since 2011 at 23-1

-The Bears have only turned it over 8 times all year (4th fewest) while Oklahoma State has forced only 9 turnovers on the season (120th in the nation)

Key Matchups

-Baylor Wide Receivers vs. OSU Secondary

The Cowboys have struggled on both sides of the ball, but their biggest weakness on defense has been their pass defense. They are 116t in the nation in passing yards allowed per game at 284.9 ypg. Junior Kevin Peterson is a capable cornerback, and will do his job. However, the Cowboys have struggled to find anyone else that they can depend on to cover the opposition. Last game against Oklahoma, the Bears exploited a similar situation, where they went after the weaker side. Expect the same Saturday night against Oklahoma.

-Baylor Defensive Line vs. OSU Offensive Line

Simply put, the Cowboys offensive line has been a mess in 2014. They have had injuries, suspension and bad play across the board. They allow 3.2 sacks per game (119th in the nation) and allow a sack on 9.42% of all drop-backs (7th worst in the nation). The only offense the Bears have played that has allowed more sacks or a higher % of sacks? SMU. That didn’t go very well for the Mustangs, and a similar outcome should be expected in this game.

Analytical Breakdown

FEI Rank

6

87

F/+ Rank

9

76

S&P+ Rank

6

73

GE Rank

3

87

Sagarin

4

57

Massey

3

52

RealTime RPI

8

64

Team Rankings Rank

2

63

Average

5.13

69.88

Since their first loss pushed them out of the Top-10, the Bears have ranked right around the mid-teens in these metrics. With their dominating win over a very highly regards Oklahoma team (at least according to the computers) the Bears have rocketed up the boards and are a legit Top-6 team. Their average here would put them around 5th or 6th in the nation if we did this across all teams. The Cowboys are buoyed by a very strong performance in the first half of the year, which makes them look much stronger than they are at this time of the season. The Bears should be big favorites across the board, as their offense and defense are easily the best performing units on the field Saturday night.

Keys to the Game

1. Attacking the Quarterback – The Bears have not seen an offensive line this bad since the season-opener against SMU. We all remember how that one went. 9 sacks, and a listed 7 quarterback hurries that you could have made 21 and it still feel low. The Bears will be going against either a banged up Daxx Garman, who has struggled to get the ball out quickly and efficiently all season, rather hoping to chuck it deep with his big arm. If Garman doesn’t go, it will be up to a true freshman. Needless to say, any scenario should end up with an Oklahoma State quarterback running for his life more often than not.

2. Turnovers Baby! – As mentioned above in the Fun Stats section, this Oklahoma State defense simply does not force turnovers. They are 114th in turnover margin on the season (-8) while the Bears +9 in 2014 (8th best in the nation). This should be another game where the Bears win the turnover margin by a 2 or 3, even before adding in a freshman quarterback to the mix. The only way to give Oklahoma State a chance is by giving up some turnovers and giving them some extra chances. All you have to do is look at Kansas’ almost win over TCU to see turnovers causing a ruckus.

3. Style Points – Unless something very uncharacteristic for the Bears happens, this should be a win. They have the nation’s longest winning streak at home, and a team like Oklahoma State has usually been blown out at home. The Bears are averaging 59 points per game at home this year. This needs to not only be a win, but a convincing one. A huge win in this game will help the Bears and their overall goals for the season.

Predictions

Massey Ratings – Bears win 47-23

RealTime RPI – Bears win 46-15

TeamRankings.com – Bears win 49-19

Staff Predictions COMING SOON!


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