SITE: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Okla.
SERIES: Oklahoma State leads 17-12 (last meeting, 2010, Oklahoma State 55-28)
RECORDS: Baylor 4-2, 1-2 Big 12; Oklahoma State 7-0, 4-0 Big 12
POLLS: Oklahoma State (No. 3 AP, No. 4 USA Today)
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 49-35
KEYS TO THE GAME:
For Baylor: Match the Cowboys score for score. The Bears can help themselves a lot of they can come up with a stop or two against the OSU offense. Baylor can't afford to give up cheap scores via turnovers.
For Oklahoma State: Contain Baylor QB Robert Griffin III. Expect the Cowboys to attempt to force Griffin into mistakes because that is what they do best, ranking second nationally with 24 takeaways. Griffin is capable of spreading the field, though WR Kendall Wright is definitely the featured target.
SCOUTING THE TEAMS:
Baylor leads the Big 12 and is second in the nation in total offense in producing nearly 550 yards a game. The Bears divide it into 208 yards rushing, 341 passing, which makes them the only FBS team in the country averaging over 200 on the ground and 300 through the air. Baylor is one of three schools ranked in the top 30 in the nation in both categories (Notre Dame and Texas A&M).
Defense is another story for Baylor. The Bears have given up just over 425 yards a game with 341 of that coming from the opponents' passing attack. The Bears are averaging an interception and two sacks a game.
The run game is not the most lethal component of the Oklahoma State attack, at least not until opponents dare the Cowboys to run. That happened in road wins at Texas and Missouri. By establishing balance, the Cowboys are even more dangerous whenever QB Brandon Weeden cranks his strong arm. Oklahoma State is not impossible to stop, but opponents must capitalize with offensive production of their own to compete against the Cowboys' quick-strike capabilities.
Defense is considered the weak link for Oklahoma State, largely because it ranks 103rd nationally in total defense with a 431.9-yard average. Much of that yardage, however, has been surrendered by backups in mop-up time. In addition, the Cowboys are adept at forcing turnovers, ranking first nationally with a 2.14 average per game, with 15 interceptions among the 24 takeaways.
Bears: Baylor has lost nine consecutive games to Oklahoma State in games played in Stillwater after winning five of the first six played there. The Bears' last win over the Cowboys in Stillwater was back in 1939. ... The Bears have lost 14 of the last 15 meetings with the Cowboys and five in a row since breaking a nine-game losing streak with a 44-34 win in 2005. The average score over the last five games is 47-16 favor of the Cowboys. ... Turnover margin could be key in the game. Oklahoma State leads the nation with its plus-2.14 per game average. Baylor has lost more turnovers (10) than it has gained (9). ... Junior DB Chance Casey, who has been starting at corner, has been move to safety. ... Sophomore CB Joe Williams started against the Aggies in Casey's spot. Coach Art Briles had good words to say about the play of both Williams and sophomore K.J. Morton for their play in the loss to Texas A&M. ... Sophomore PK Aaron Jones has hit a slump. After making his first three field goal attempts of the season, he has missed his last three.
Cowboys: Oklahoma State's No. 3 spot is the highest ranking yet for the Cowboys in BCS ratings. Oklahoma State is almost a unanimous No. 1 in the computer rankings used as one of the composites in the calculations. The Cowboys are first in all but one of the eight computers, coming in second in the Billingsley ratings.... The No. 3 AP ranking also is the highest the Cowboys have been in that poll since before the Oklahoma game in 1984. ... The Cowboys are 7-0 for just third time in school history but for the second time in four years. ... The Cowboys have scored at least 34 points in each of the last 12 games in the series ... WR Justin Blackmon has 28 touchdown receptions over the last 19 games. He also has rushed for a touchdown and scored on a return of a blocked punt in that span. Blackmon was kept out of the Missouri game after coming off the field dizzy following one hit in Saturday's victory.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
RB Terrance Ganaway -- Getting a good effort in the running game will help Baylor gain some sort of control over Oklahoma State's powerful offense. To that end, Ganaway's rushing production will be crucial.
IR Kendall Wright -- Wright already holds several Baylor receiving records and no doubt will be motivated to show fans that Oklahoma State's Justin Blackmon isn't the only top receiver on the field. Wright has 55 catches for 757 yards and nine touchdowns.
LB Elliott Coffey -- Coffey and his defensive teammates face an huge task in trying to slow the Oklahoma State attack. Baylor has had some success from time to time on defense, but the overall performance has been less than inspiring. Coffey, who leads the team in tackles with 46, will be a key if that improves.
WR Justin Blackmon -- After sitting out some of the Missouri game after coming off the field dizzy on a hit, Blackmon is not on the same torrid pace as last season. In fact, his 94.6-yard receiving average is considerably down from the 148.5-yard pace he set last season as the Biletnikoff Award winner.
RB Joseph Randle/RB Jeremy Smith -- The duo has combined for a 6-yard average per carry with 1,115 rushing yards and 19 touchdowns. Either can gain yardage in chunks, with Smith scoring on a 74-yard burst at Texas and Randle scoring on a 59-yarder at Missouri.
DE Jamie Blatnick -- Disrupts plays at the line of scrimmage with his quickness off the edge. He had a sack among his five tackles in the win at Missouri, while adding two pass deflections and forcing a fumble.
Bears: No new injuries reported.
Cowboys: WR Hubert Anyiam (foot, out), WR Justin Blackmon (head, probable).