OSU-Baylor Key Matchups & Prediction

The key matchups for No. 19 Oklahoma State's Big 12 South matchup against No. 22 Baylor on Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla., and Robert Allen 's prediction on the outcome.

1. OSU Defense vs. Baylor QB Robert Griffin III
Griffin has 2,993 yards of total offense and a combined 27 touchdowns this season with 20 of those through the air. Griffin has settled into being more of a "point guard" at quarterback in trusting his teammates to make plays when he puts the ball in their hands.

He is still a threat to tuck the ball and go that frightens the heck out of opposing defenders, coaches, and fans. The Baylor offense is a series of options as the Bears have built in the opportunity to hand off, keep the ball, and pass into bubble or slant opportunities on nearly every play.

Defending Baylor and Griffin is now very much akin to stopping the old triple option and in this instance it is spread literally across the field. The Oklahoma State defense must stay disciplined as it has most of the season. The Cowboys must tackle well as they have two of the last three weeks, and they must look for opportunities to take the ball away. Baylor is going to score but the Cowboys defense must be as stingy as they can be.
Edge: Too Close to Call

2. OSU Offensive Line vs. Baylor Defensive Line
The Oklahoma State offensive line does not get enough credit as those five guys pack their lunch pail and bring it to work each Saturday. They take huge pride in blocking for Kendall Hunter and protecting Brandon Weeden.

It's hard to describe their mindset other than I feel it is derived from a combination of three personalities, offensive line coach Joe Wickline, center Grant Garner, and offensive guard Jonathan Rush. They have a little nasty attitude with a hint of sarcasm mixed in.

Baylor is overachieving on defense and playing with a lot of energy. The nose tackle Phil Taylor, a former Penn State transfer, is better than he was a year ago. To curtail the OSU offense Baylor will need plenty out of the defensive line in gap responsibility to limit Hunter's avenues of succes and a pass rush to keep Weeden from destroying them through the air.
Edge: Advantage to OSU Offensive Line

3. OSU Punter Quinn Sharp vs. Baylor Punter Derek Epperson
This is a fun matchup and it could decide the All-Big 12 punter at the end of the season as these are the best two in the league. The hunch is neither of these guys get a lot of work punting. Most games Sharp kicks off more than he punts. Now if one gets a couple of bombs off in his only opportunities then that could be a enough to make a difference in the game.
Edge: Advantage to Sharp

Our mind really hasn't changed on this matchup. Baylor is explosive and dangerous on offense and you have to understand that Griffin, running back Jay Finley (if healthy, he's been nursing a sore hamstring), and receivers such as Kendall Wright, Josh Gordon and Terrance Williams can and will find the end zone and put up points.

Even if you want to call this game even on the offensive side, the defense and the special teams are better at OKlahoma State. The kicking game is close as both teams have outstanding punters and kickers that have been clutch all season. The defense is the difference. The Cowboys defenders have sandwiched two very solid efforts against Texas Tech and Kansas State on the road with a struggling performance agains tNebraska last time out at Boone Pickens.

The challenge of a balanced offense with a mobile quarterback is the most serious kind of mountain for this defense to climb. But I think they will be more prepared for success this time out. Baylor has what I like to call a "double move" offense with the way they build in passing options on nearly every play. The Cowboys are disciplined and should do well. I called for an average of two stops a quarter and if the numbers add up it should be close to what this prediction.

Oklahoma State 45, Baylor 31

Big 12 Predictions
Colorado 23, @ Kansas 14

#10 Nebraska 38, @ Iowa State 20

#9 Oklahoma 34, @ Texas A&M 21

Texas 27, @ Kansas State 17

#14 Missouri 42, @ Texas Tech 27

Robert Allen's Record for the Season
Straight Up: 54-17
Against the Spread: 33-29
Not all games have a spread - Games with Big 12 teams involving FCS teams do not have spreads.

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