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It’s Bedlam time in Oklahoma

November 8, 2018 ▪ By Ray Dozier

Oklahoma State football this year has been a “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” team. The Pokes defeated No. 17 Boise State handily in the season’s third week. Folks began saying, “maybe the Cowboys will be a decent team this year.”

All the praise went sour the next week when Texas Tech beat OSU by 24 points in Stillwater. Two weeks later, the Pokes lost to Iowa State by six in Stilly, and Kansas State by 19 in Manhattan. OSU dipped to 4-3 then edged No. 6 Texas by three in Stillwater. But, last week, the Pokes laid an egg in Waco as Baylor stunned them, 35-31.

It’s a mystery to guess which team shows up this Saturday (2:30 p.m. ABC) in Norman for the 113th edition of Bedlam against No. 6 Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1 Big 12). OSU (5-4, 2-4) is out of the race for the Big 12 Championship Game, but it can be a spoiler to reduce the Sooners’ chances of reaching Arlington, Texas on December 1.

The Sooners escaped Lubbock with a “W” last weekend, 51-46. After throwing two interceptions that led to Texas Tech’s 14-0 lead, Kyler Murray settled down and threw for 360 yards, ran for 100 more and scored once. Trey Sermon’s 206 yards led OU’s ground game of 323 yards, and Sermon scored three times.

Raiders’ quarterback Alan Bowman shredded the Sooners’ defense for 227 yards a 2 TDs, but he was unable to return in the second half due to a reinjured lung. His backup, Jett Duffy threw for 129 yards and a pair of TDs. Oklahoma’s defense gave up 473 total yards, which remains a concern.

If the Pokes get into a groove as they did against Texas, it might be a long afternoon for OU. Quarterback Taylor Cornelius has completed 60 percent of his passes for 2,622 yards with 20 TDs and 8 INTs this year. He was 23 of 34 for 321 yards and 3 TDs against the Longhorns. Tylan Wallace hauled in 10 passes for 222 yards and 2 TDs. The sophomore receiver leads the Cowboys with 58 grabs for 1,062 yards and 7 TDs.

Running back Justice Hill, who rushed for 231 yards and scored twice against the Sooners last year, leads this year’s running attack with 153 carries for 895 yards and 8 scores.

OSU’s offense ranks 17th nationally with an average of 38.3 points per game. It is 10th with 497.3 yards per game.

The defense ranks 83rd in points allowed (29.9 ppg) and 66th in total yards ( 396.3 ypg.)

Linebacker Justin Phillips leads the D with 66 tackles including 6.5 for loss. Linebacker Jordan Brailford leads with 15.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, including 9 sacks. O-State has picked off 5 passes this year, and cornerback Rodarius Williams leads with two interceptions.

Lack of discipline was a huge problem for both OU and OSU last week. The Cowboys were penalized 12 times for 133 yards, and the Sooners were flagged 10 times for 113. A pass interference and face mask violations on one drive gave Baylor a chance for a field goal in the first quarter, but the Bears’ kicker missed. An unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and a face mask violation allowed Baylor to advance to a 7-7 tie in the second period. The Pokes were whistled for a face mask and personal foul on the Bears’ final drive. The Bears scored with seven seconds remaining for the deciding tally.

Parnell Motley had a pass interference penalty in the end zone in the second quarter for Oklahoma against the Red Raiders. It appeared Motley was going for the ball and made an interception, but the officials didn’t see it that way, and Tech had the ball on the OU one-yard line. The Raiders scored and took a 31-28 lead.

Leading 35-31 in the third, the Sooners were marching and had a chance for a big lead, but Cee Dee Lamb caught a pass at the TTU 7, but he was flagged twice for personal foul and unsportsmanlike conduct, and the Sooners lost 30 yards on the two penalties and ended up punting.

Another Motley pass interference call in the fourth quarter allowed Tech to score moments later to close the gap to 42-40, but Robert Barnes intercepted Duffy’s pass in the end zone and zoomed 105 yards the other way for two points.

The team with the better defense will win on Saturday. The Sooners have the better defense stat-wise. They have yielded two points and 5.2 yards less per game than O-State. The defense must contain not only Cornelius but Hill. Keep those two bottled up and hope the secondary can keep Wallace from getting open for significant gains.

The better quarterback also will prevail in this contest. No doubt Kyler Murray is way better than Cornelius. Murray leads the country with a QB rating of 216.6 to 149.4 for Cornelius. Murray is a playmaker who can find open receivers or open spaces for running the pigskin. Marquis Brown had 9 catches for 265 yards and 2 scores last year against the Pokes.

Oklahoma has had a more balanced offense the last two games—740 passing yards; 645 rushing. The Sooners must continue to maintain that balanced attack, which will be more trouble for OSU.

If the Cowboys want to hang with the Sooners, they must start fast and furious as it did against the Horns. Cornelius completed 10 of 14 for 155 yards and 2 TDs for a 24-7 lead in the first 20 minutes of action. But no team has proven to have much success with when getting into a shootout with Oklahoma.

Yes, Gundy beat Texas and Lincoln Riley didn’t. Gundy has had the Longhorns’ number winning four straight and seven of the last nine. But he doesn’t have the Sooners’ number winning only twice in 13 tries.

Sooners 52, Cowboys 31.

Fast Facts

  • OU leads the series 87-18-7, including three straight wins.
  • OU leads 41-9-2 in Norman.
  • OU is favored by 21.
  • Lincoln Riley is 20-3 (.870) overall; 1-0 vs. OSU; 10-1 at home; 13-2 vs. conference opponents; 16-1 vs. unranked foes.
  • Mike Gundy is 119-57 overall (.676) overall; 41-28 on the road; 71-46 vs. conference foes; 24- 29 vs. ranked opponents.
  • Gundy has never beaten OU when the Sooners are ranked in the Top 10 (0-5).
  • OU is 14-3 in games played on November 10.
  • OSU is 6-8 in games played on November 10.

Articles by Ray Dozier