As OSU takes to the road today to face the Baylor Bears, the Big 12’s top ranked team is looking towards establishing their first marquee win of the season while the unranked Cowboys are looking to get a leg up early in the conference race. Unlike last season, the conference schedule isn’t set up in Oklahoma State’s favor in 2016. With road trips to heavy weights Kansas State, TCU, and Oklahoma still on the horizon, a win in Waco would go a long way in their quest for a Big 12 title.
While victory certainly isn’t going to come easy for the Cowboys on Saturday, handing Baylor their first loss of the season is a legitimate possibility if Oklahoma State can do the following.
Win The Turnover Battle
Baylor is 38th nationally with a +0.5 turnover margin. Oklahoma State is 64th at an even margin. It’s just a small discrepancy but it makes a huge difference. When facing an offense the caliber of Baylor and Oklahoma State’s you want to limit opportunities to have the ball in their hands. Forcing a turnover limits the opportunity for the opposing offense while giving a turnover allows another opportunity for a score.
Run The Football
While this certainly isn’t a strong point for Oklahoma State’s offense, it’s also not a strong point for Baylor’s defense. Baylor is fifth in the conference in rush defense, allowing opponents an average of 3.8 yards per carry and 152.3 yards per game. The best way to keep the ball out of the hands of Baylor’s offense is to grind the ball on the ground and run the clock. The questions is, is Oklahoma State’s offense built to do that?
Limit The Bears On The Ground
Seth Russell and K.D. rightfully get a ton of the credit when talking about Baylor’s offense, but the Bears are exceptional on the ground. An average of 292 yards per game on the ground places Baylor 9th nationally in rushing offense and Oklahoma State’s 3.5 yards allowed per carry rank them third in the conference. You have to pick your poison with Baylor’s offense but if you allow them to run the ball at will then you’ll be in for a long, long evening.