In a battle that settles the Big 12 Champion debate, there’s more at stake than just a trophy. On Saturday as the Baylor Bears and Oklahoma Sooners collide in Arlington, a spot in the College Football Playoff may up for grabs as well. Here are three keys for Lincoln Riley and the offense heading into the weekend.
Secure the Football
The biggest question mark heading into this contest for the offense remains takeaways — on both side of the ball. In the previous meeting, the Bears jarred the ball loose from Jalen Hurts on numerous occasions while intercepting the signal caller as well. Resulting in a 25-point deficit, ball security is certainly a top priority this week for Lincoln Riley. Despite a long stint with fumble issues as a team, the Sooners continue to find a way to win. However, remove the turnovers and some of those contests border on non-competitive. Needless to say, if Hurts and the rest of the offense take care of the rock, Oklahoma could easily walk away with a comfortable win and a fifth consecutive Big 12 Championship in hand.
Run, Run, Run
Throughout the month of November, the offensive line proved worthy of consideration as one of the nation’s premiere units. Behind the likes of Creed Humphrey and R.J. Proctor, the ball carries have produced 649 yards of offense on the ground over the past two weeks. Eclipsing the seasonal average in those two contests, Oklahoma ran the ball 108 times to only 38 pass attempts. Coincidentally, running the ball produced one of the more convincing wins of the year against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. It’s apparent that good things happen when the Sooners feature the running backs in the offense. In the strive for number five, expect a similar approach to the game.
Utilize the Presence of Lamb
Although Ceedee Lamb has not had a major impact on the stat sheet in the previous two outings, the receiver demands attention. Anytime an All-American caliber talent steps onto the field at wideout, defenses quickly shift in an attempt to stifle the individual. That’s the case in the Big 12 Championship as Lamb believes he will score on every possession. Shading a defender over toward Lamb’s side of the field opens things up for the running backs. Yet, a simply play action pass that sucks the safeties down allows Lamb to run free in a one-on-one situation — a scenario the star wins nearly every time. Whether the future NFL player shows up on paper is a completely different story. Make no mistake, Lamb impacts the game significantly with or without receptions.