This weekend, College Game Day features a matchup between the No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners and No. 13 Baylor Bears in Waco. Undefeated and overlooked, the Bears continue to search for an opportunity to impress the College Football Playoff Committee. On the other side of the equation, the Sooners hope to regain the top spot in the conference race. For that to happen, the offense must execute in three different areas of the game.
Protect the Quarterback
The offensive line led by Bill Bedenbaugh and anchored by Creed Humphrey has allowed ten sacks through nine games. Pacing the rest of the league in the statistic, the Sooners numbers remain low thanks to the abilities of a mobile quarterback. However, Saturday’s pairing pits strength against strength. Tallying up 29 sacks throughout the course of the season, Baylor sits atop the Big 12 at 3.22 per game. That number skyrockets when looking at tackles for loss as the Bears have collected 69 total once again claiming the top spot in the league. With a knack for finding a way into the backfield, the OU offensive line must protect the quarterback in order to find success on the road.
Utilize the Running Back
Receiving devastating news of the loss of Trey Sermon, the majority of the ball carrying responsibilities fall to Kennedy Brooks. After a break out second half last year, the back failed to produce at the same clip largely due to the skill set of Jalen Hurts. Yet, Brooks racked up 132 yards on 15 carries against Iowa State. Displaying the explosiveness fans witnessed during the 2018 campaign, it appears as though the coaching staff is returning to a utilization of the stable of running backs. The trend must continue and Brooks’ number must be called more frequently to relieve the pressure from the quarterback’s shoulders. Assuming the role of the bruiser in the backfield, expect Rhamondre Stevenson’s role to increase as well. Running the ball is a recipe for success and the strong suit of this offense regardless of the national perception of the Big 12 as a whole.
This goes without saying but the Sooners must limit turnovers in Waco. Under the direction of Matt Rhule, the Bears have prioritized fundamentals on the defensive side of the ball. Playing a similar style to the old SEC and B10, Baylor continues to win close games. Knowing Rhule plans to slow the game down and limit possessions for the Oklahoma offense, turnovers will prove costly.