A premier matchup in Bedlam will be a replay of last season as Oklahoma won the game in Stillwater going away but Cowboys wide receiver James Washington caught seven passes for 169 yards and J.W. Walsh connected with Washington for a 72-yard touchdown pass.
Jordan Thomas was rapidly developing as a sophomore and had a banner year in thieving quarterbacks with five interceptions. Thomas is the best cover corner on the OU roster and leads the team in passes defended this season and the Big 12 with 16 passes defended including one interception. On the whole, the OU defense has allowed 287.5 yards a game passing and 28 touchdowns. They are ninth in the league in pass defense and 28 touchdowns through the air is the most allowed by any defense in the Big 12. Many of those touchdowns have been deep balls. Oklahoma struggles stopping long balls.
I don't need to tell you that Cowboys quarterback Mason Rudolph excels in throwing the deep ball and has 50 connections of 20 yards or longer, 30 connections of 30 yards or longer, and 14 of those have gone for touchdowns. Washington has been the recipient of 13 of the passes over 30 yards and 18 of the 50 plays over 20 yards. This despite a steady diet of safety over the top double coverage and bracketing of Washington this season.
Expect Oklahoma to do the same. The Sooners can't trust single coverage with Washington, with the exception of in the red or score zone. Washington has started to do better at dealing with the extra attention and still find ways to get loose downfield. Chris Lacy, Jalen McCleskey and Jhajuan Seales have done a good job of maximizing the single coverage they often get.
It will be a case of pick your poison as the guess here is OU will give up big pass plays. You can no longer expect to stop the OSU run game with a light box, you can't contain Washington with single coverage, so that adds up to nine players loaded versus the run and Washington. That means somebody is going to be open.
This will truly be a pick your poison situation as Oklahoma has to decide who has the least opportunity to make them pay in Bedlam, and Mike Yurcich and Mason Rudolph get to make the read and decide who gets the opportunity to be a hero.