SoonersIllustrated.com is going to set the stage every week, breaking down Oklahoma’s upcoming game during the 2015 season.
When: 7 p.m.
Biggest question - - How effective will Baker Mayfield be?
Mayfield’s impact on his first-ever Bedlam can’t go understated. He is the starter and the closer for Oklahoma’s offense. Without him, it doesn’t put up numbers. It barely even gets started.
Mayfield practiced in full Monday and showed no ill effects through the entire week. He appears to be ready to go. Mayfield is not only the best quarterback on Oklahoma’s roster; he is also a player whose energy picks up the Sooners – each and every one of them.
With Mayfield at full strength, Oklahoma’s passing offense has the chance to eclipse 400 yard if it wants. Surpassing 300 yards should be an easy feat, and that’s if Oklahoma wants to go away from the run game – where Oklahoma State is the weakest on defense.
An educated guess: Oklahoma State has actually fared better in Norman than in Stillwater during the more than 90-year history of the rivalry. That being said, playing in Stillwater won’t exactly kind to Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph. Oklahoma cornerback Zack Sanchez leads the Big 12 Conference in interceptions, and he hauls in another one in what could be his final regular season game.
Oklahoma isn’t done though as the Sooners pick off Rudolph twice more. Still, it isn’t an all-bad day for Rudolph, who throws for 300 yards and four touchdowns – aided by three 40-plus yard passing plays.
Player to watch: We'll go away from the quarterback spot with Baker Mayfield and look at OU's two-headed running back monster. Samaje Perine did practice, while Joe Mixon was "closer" in the words of Bob Stoops. Baylor was so effective running the ball. The Sooners will need to do the same to have success in Stillwater. It's Perine, not necessarily Mayfield, who needs to be his usual self for OU to walk out with the win and conference championship. (Przybylo)
Hite – Defense comes optional at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State hits big plays, and Oklahoma creates fissures in the Cowboys’ run defense. The lead changes seven times until the Sooners pull away in the latter half of the third quarter. Oklahoma owns the fourth quarter, pulling away and winning, 44-35.
Przybylo - It's hard to see this being a blowout. It's hard to seeing this with either team scoring less than 25 points. A key turnover in the second half turns the tide of the battle as OU is able to get to Rudolph for at least one major game-changing play. Mayfield survives the night and OU walks away the victor by a 38-30 margin, somewhere in that area.