Sooners Illustrated takes a final look at this Saturday's big match-up

Bears, Sooners meet in the national spotlight with plenty on the line

SoonersIllustrated.com is going to set the stage every week, breaking down Oklahoma’s upcoming game during the 2015 season. 

No. 12 Oklahoma Sooners (7-1, 4-1) at No. 6 Baylor Bears (8-0, 5-0)

When: 7 p.m.

Biggest question - Can Oklahoma avoid a big turnover and a big stall?

The Sooners biggest poison this year has been the second-quarter stall, which usually comes after a big turnover. It hasn’t stung Oklahoma yet, but in this game, five possessions without points could result in a loss, especially if it comes with limited first downs.

Oklahoma likely could get away with a turnover or a couple bad drives. But combine both, like they have in a few games this season, and Baylor will be happy to stay unbeaten this season and in its new home.

The turnover bug isn’t on quarterback Baker Mayfield, who has just one interception in his last four games and 140 attempts. Instead, it’s the running game that’s tied for the Big 12 “lead” with nine lost fumbles. Only 13 teams in the nation have lost more.

An educated guess: Something has to break in this one. You’ve got two of the best passing offenses in the country going against the two best passing defenses in the Big 12 Conference. They always say a good defense beats a good offense, but they must not have played in the Big 12. Combined, Oklahoma and Baylor allow an average of barely more than 300 yards per game in the air. Double that. The Sooners and Bears combine for more than 600 yards through the air.

Player to watch: This is a huge game for the OU secondary, obviously, but in particular, Will Johnson. He has been stellar since being moved to nickel following the Texas game. But this is going to be such a different animal for Johnson to try to cover the Baylor receivers all game. OU needs Johnson to be sound in his assignments and not get overwhelmed in the moment or try to do too much.

Predictions

Hite – This one lives up to the billing, especially since Oklahoma finally has an offense that can keep up. The Sooners get stung after taking a first-half lead by a big turnover that keys a Baylor rally. Down to the wire, Oklahoma has the ball on the final possession with a chance but falls short. Baylor remains unbeaten, 45-42.

Przybylo - All week my prediction has been Baylor 41, OU 38, but torn on this one because the Sooners are definitely a live underdog heading into this one. Will the Sooners be able to rattle Jarrett Stidahm? In no other game this year will turnovers be a bigger factor, and will Austin Seibert be able to come through in the clutch? A whole lot of questions but no answers. We'll all find out Saturday in Waco.


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