USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma Sooners have to find a weakness in Baylor's attack

Rattling true freshman quarterback Jarrett Stidham is priority No. 1 for OU

It was the closest win of the season for Baylor, which is one of only six unbeaten teams still left in FBS. The Bears walked away with only a seven-point win against Kansas State, a team that Oklahoma dominated, 55-0.

Oklahoma had its wake-up call in a loss to Texas. The question about Baylor is whether or not its close win against Kansas State is whether it’s a similar wake-up call or a blueprint to take down the Bears.

Kansas State kept the ball on the ground, running twice as many times as it threw it. That might be a successful game plan, but the key to shutting down Baylor is and always has been in stopping the quarterback.

That’s not longer an experienced player. It’s a true freshman named Jarrett Stidham right now, coming off his fist career start. Baylor coach Art Briles figured it was pretty good – 400-plus yards and four total touchdowns. He told his quarterback to show the nation what the coaching staff in Waco already knew.

That’s kind of what happened.

“We know so let us let everybody else see what we know,” Briles told reporters after the game. “The guy is unbelievable. He is good. He is different.”

As a true freshman, there wasn’t much Stidham could have done better – on the road and making his debut. Still, he knew his mistakes afterwards, which partially led to a drop off from a stellar first half to a mediocre second half.

"There are some things that I messed up on that I could have hit and there were little quirks that we could have picked up on,” Stidham said. “At some points we just did not execute. We will go back to the drawing board and get after it next week."

The key for No. 14 Oklahoma is getting to Stidham – physically and mentally. With a pass rush that is averaging more than four sacks per game in the last four games and ranks at the top of the Big 12, the Sooners have the front to do it.

With the top pass defense and pass efficiency defense in the conference, Oklahoma has the secondary to make Stidham think twice.

But after his better-than-average debut, Stidham has the confidence of his teammates. That’s something that might be invaluable for the true freshman.

"We get to spend a lot of time with this guy,” running back Devin Chafin said. “We see him when nobody else does, practicing, lifting with him so we know Jarrett Stidham. We have confidence in him, we know what he's going to do and we've known what he's going to do. For us, the transition wasn't a big deal. . . Everybody knew Stidham would step up and do his thing, and he did.”


Sooners Illustrated Top Stories