Here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 match up in our Baylor vs. Oklahoma preview and prediction.
November 13, 2021; 11:00 am; McLane Stadium, Waco, Texas
TV: FOX (Gus Johnson and Joel Klatt)
Radio: Sooner Sports Network (Toby Rowland and Teddy Lehman); Baylor Sports Network (John Morris and J.J. Joe).
Spread: OU by 5.5
Records: Oklahoma 9-0 (6-0 in Big 12); Baylor 7-2 (4-2 in Big 12)
Rankings: OU No. 3 in AP poll and No. 4 in AFCA Coaches Poll; BU No. in AP poll and No. 18 in AFCA Coaches Poll
Last Week: OU was idle; BU lost to TCU, 30-28
Fun Fact: The Sooners won the first 20 meetings with Baylor. The Bears won three of four between 2011 and 2014. OU currently holds a seven-game winning streak over BU.
Quarterback Caleb Williams
The freshman phenom continues to wow the college football world. Two weeks ago, against Texas Tech, Williams set a true freshman team record at Oklahoma by throwing for 402 yards and six touchdown passes (tied freshman record) in a 52-21 victory over the Red Raiders. He earned his second Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week honor in the last three weeks. Williams is second nationally with a 203.75 passer rating—completing 78 of 109 (72%) for 1,189 yards with a TD/INT ratio of 14/1.
Receiver Mario Williams
The Sooners have nine players who have double-digit receptions this year, five with at least 22 catches. While the receivers could be essential at any game, Williams, a true freshman, is third on the team with 29 grabs and second with 319 yards for the season. Williams had his best game against Tech with 4 receptions for 135 yards and 2 TDs. That performance earned him the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Week honor.
Defensive End/Tackle Isaiah Thomas
The redshirt senior was a menace to the Red Raiders. Thomas had one sack, which forced Tech quarterback Donavan Smith to fumble. Thomas recovered the fumble, and the Sooners scored their final touchdown. He also broke up two passes—the second breakup was intercepted by teammate Patrick Fields, which led to OU’s fourth touchdown in the second quarter.
Cornerback Key Lawrence
The Tennessee transfer was moved from safety to cornerback for the Tech game. Lawrence logged 7 tackles, one-half a sack, and broke up two passes. The sophomore has recorded 35 tackles, broken up 3 passes, and forced a fumble this year.
Running Back Abram Smith
The senior played running back in his first two years in Waco, but he was buried on the depth chart, and last year he was switched to linebacker. Smith is back to his old position on the offense, where he currently ranks eighth nationally with 1,055 rushing yards (117.2 ypg, 7.3 ypc) and 11 touchdowns.
Quarterback Gerry Bohanon
The redshirt junior has completed 65 percent of his passes for 1,972 yards with a TD/INT ratio of 15/5. Bohanan’s five interceptions have occurred in the last three games, including two in a loss to TCU last weekend. He also has scored 3 TDs with his feet.
Safety Jalen Pitre
The redshirt senior is third among Bears’ defenders with 50 tackles, including a team-high 9 stops for loss and 2 sacks. Pitre has picked off 2 passes, forced 3 fumbles, and recovered 3 more fumbles.
Safety J.T. Woods
Woods, a senior, leads the Bears with 3 interceptions, including one returned for a touchdown. He also recovered one fumble vs. Texas Southern for 97 yards and a score. Woods’ fumble return was the longest in Baylor’s history.
The Sooners had one of their better performances on both sides of the ball in a 52-21 victory over Texas Tech on October 30. The defense got a lot of help with the return of safety Dellarin Turner-Yell, cornerback D.J. Graham, and tackle Jalen Redmond, who sat out several games with injuries. The trio combined to make 12 tackles vs. the Red Raiders. Oklahoma’s offense failed to get its running game going piling up just 72 yards. The passing game put up 469 total yards that included Caleb Williams’ 402 yards and Spencer Rattler came off the bench to add 67 yards and a touchdown. So, the big questions for OU are 1)Has the defense turned the corner? 2) Can the run game find its legs again?
TCU’s victory last weekend snapped the Bears’ three-game season win streak and gave them their second loss in the conference. Baylor’s second conference loss will make it difficult for the Bears to reach the Big 12 title tilt in December. BU gave up a season-high 562 yards to the Horned Frogs, which included 468 passing yards. The Bears still remained in contention down to the last minute. The Bears made a late threat late in the game to win with a field goal or touchdown, but TCU’s Shadrack Banks intercepted Bohanon’s pass at the Frogs’ 28 to send the Bears packing with 1:03 to go.
Prediction: Oklahoma 41 Baylor 27
Did the Bears look ahead to this week’s game against the Sooners? Baylor certainly didn’t have an answer to stop TCU QB, Chandler Morris. If the Bears commit to loading the box to stop the run, Caleb Williams will burn them with his magic. The big matchup will be BU’s safeties, Pitre and Woods, against Oklahoma’s dynamic receivers. If Baylor commits to stop Williams, look for Kennedy Brooks and Eric Gray to pick up big chunks of yards on the ground. BU allowed an average of 155.6 passing yards in the first five games. The Bears gave up an average of 340.5 in the last four contests. As the calendar has flipped to November, the Sooners are calling it “Championship November.” OU has won 23 straight in the 11th month. The last time they lost? Baylor in 2014. The Sooners put together a solid game against Texas Tech. Look for the same vs. the Bears.