Here is everything you need to know about the Baylor Bears home game against the Oklahoma Sooners with our preview and prediction.
Date: Saturday, September 23rd, 2017 | 5:30 PM CT | McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas
TV: Fox Sports 1 (Justin Kutcher, Mark Helfrich, Petros Papadakis)
Radio: Sooners Sports Network: Flagships KOMA 1520 AM & KRXO 107.7 FM, Toby Rowland, Merv Johnson, Chris Plank
Baylor IMG Sports Network: ESPN Central Texas: John Morris, J.J. Joe, Ricky Thompson
Satellite Radio: Sirius (83); XM (83)
Fun Fact: Oklahoma has won 16 consecutive Big 12 Conference games, the second longest streak in school history (won 17 from 2003 to 2005) and the fifth longest since the league formed in 1996 (Kansas State holds the record with 21 straight regular-season wins from 1997 to 1999).
QB Baker Mayfield
There is no player in the Big 12 more exciting to watch than Baker Mayfield. He is averaging 348.7 passing yards per game tossing 10 touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception. Baker is also completing 76.8% of his passes this season and surprisingly has only rushed for 22 yards. What you are seeing this year is a more focused Baker, a guy who is showing week in and week out that he can beat you with his arm alone. Yes, he is still using those crazy legs of his to create time but he has been lights out throwing the football. Whether you like him or not, he is the most exciting player to watch in the Big 12.
Running Backs Trey Sermon & Abdul Adams
Last week Trey Sermon got the nod for the starting role. I am not sure who will start but both guys should be in for a big day. Trey has 170 yards on the season averaging 7.9 yards per carry while Abdul has 138 yards and is averaging 4.4 yards per carry. These guys will be running behind the best offense line in the Big 12 and maybe even the entire country. You will see why I think these guys will have a field day against this Baylor defense later in this preview.
LB Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
Easily one of the best, if not the best linebacker in the Big 12. Obo, as everyone calls him, has been a forced to be reckoned with so far, this year. He has 19 tackles, 6.5 TFLs and 3.5 sacks. Obo is just so big and strong which makes him so hard to block in pass rushing situations and his run stopping ability is second to none. Right now, Obo should be in the driver’s seat for the Big 12 Defensive Player of The Year award.
QB Zach Smith
While the Bears did play Duke closer than what most people expected, quarterback Zach Smith still looked rusty out there. Last week he went 12/34 for 263 yards and tossed 3 scores but also had 3 picks. What really concerns me is that he has thrown more interceptions than touchdowns this year and has a completion percentage of……….36.1% (Yikes). I know it was his first start of the season last week but if Baylor wants to pull off the upset, this is the guy who must have the game of his career.
RB Terence Williams
I am sure Baylor fans are glad to have Terence Williams back and ready to go. After missing the first three games due to offseason shoulder surgery, Terence looks to bring back some explosiveness to the Bears offense. Last season Terence rushed for over 1,000 yards and at 6’2 222 pounds, he is a load to bring down. It will be interesting to see if we will get the Terence Williams from 2016 or a guy who needs some time to get back to his old self.
LB Clay Johnston
If you have watched any Baylor football this season (not suggesting that you necessarily should) it was easy to see that Clay was the best defensive player on the field for the Bears. Clay has 29 tackles through three games with 6.5 for loss and a sack. He most certainly will have his hands full in this game trying to stop the high-powered Sooner offense.
Oklahoma Rushing Attack vs. Baylor Defense
For those who may not know, Baylor is giving up 201 rushing yards per game to opposing offenses in their first three games. To give you a better idea of how bad they are at stopping the run, their first three games were against Liberty, UTSA and Duke. Did I mention that the Bears lost all three of those games? Oklahoma has one of the best if not the best offensive line in the entire country. Yes, the Sooners have used an array of backs this year but it appears the two main guys will be Trey Sermon and Abdul Adams. No matter who is carrying the ball for the Sooners, this offensive line will pave some running lanes. The question is if the Bears defense can stop it.
Baylor Rushing Attack
ESPN Power Football Index is giving Baylor a 4% chance to win this football game. Meanwhile the line for this game favors the Sooners by 27.5 points. Essentially, nobody is giving Baylor a chance. What the Bears need to do in this game is kill time as much as possible. Run that clock down and keep Baker Mayfield on the sidelines for as long as you can. This is where Terence Williams comes in to help do that. Baylor is working with a less than stellar offensive line right now, so the best thing to do is to let those guys try their hand at run blocking rather than trying to block guys rushing the passer. For Baylor, control the time of possession and see what happens. By doing this you may find yourself only down a score or two rather than slinging your way out of a 3 or 4 touchdown deficit.
Oklahoma 45 Baylor 17
Oklahoma’s defense is no joke folks. The Sooners have exceeded my expectations of how good their defense is by a mile. Combine this with that fact that you have the most electrifying player in the Big 12 as your quarterback makes matters even worse if your Baylor. I see Oklahoma rushing for over 200 yards in this game as well as another outstanding performance by Baker Mayfield. It appears that the Bears are still figuring things out offensively with new quarterback Zach Smith and I just don’t see Baylor keeping up with the Sooners offensively.