Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming matchup between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Baylor Bears.
Saturday, October 1, 2022; 2:30 p.m. CT; McLane Stadium; Waco, Texas
TV: FOX (Jason Benetti, Brock Huard)
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, John Holcomb, Robert Allen); Baylor Sports Network (John Morris, J.J. Joe, Ricky Thompson)
Records: Oklahoma State 3-0 (0-0 Big 12); Baylor 3-1 (0-1 Big 12)
Rankings: Oklahoma State ranked No. 9 AP Top 25; Baylor ranked No. 16 AP Top 25
Series History: Oklahoma State leads series 22-19
Last Meeting: Baylor 21, Oklahoma State 16 (2021 Big 12 Championship)
Favorite: Baylor (-2.5)
Fun Fact: While Oklahoma State leads the all-time series between these two programs, the Baylor Bears have won seven of the last 11 meetings, dating back to 2012.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
QB Spencer Sanders
Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders has been masterful through three games, both with his arm and with his legs. Through the air, Sanders has completed 62/95 for 916 yards and 10 touchdowns to just one interception. On the ground, he has added 27 rushing attempts for 110 yards and three scores. In this massive Big 12 opener for the Cowboys, Sanders will need to be at his best, and avoid the interception issues he had against Baylor in 2021.
S Jason Taylor
Defensively, Oklahoma State is still trying to reach the level that it played at last season, but there have certainly been bright spots for the Cowboys on that side of the ball. One of those is safety Jason Taylor, who is second on the team in tackles (18) and leads the team in PBUs (3). The senior out of Oklahoma City has seen a thing or two in college football, as he has played in 29 career games for the Pokes and will be an important part of the Cowboys game plan to shut down Blake Shapen and the Baylor offense.
QB Blake Shapen
I have been waiting for Blake Shapen to flash in the passing game this season, and he did just that last week against Iowa State. The sophomore signal-caller went 19/26 for 238 yards and three touchdowns in Ames, and did a great job distributing the ball to his playmakers. In Saturday’s game, Shapen will be tasked with passing against an Oklahoma State defense that is giving up 265.3 yards per game, which ranks 103rd nationally. The defensive line is the strength of the Oklahoma State defense, meaning that the short and intermediate passing game will likely play a role in this week’s game plan.
S Al Walcott
Baylor senior safety Al Walcott has been active in the Baylor defense to this point, and that will need to continue on Saturday if Baylor is to have success. Walcott leads the team in tackles (23), TFLs (3.5), and has two PBUs and a forced fumble already this season. With Oklahoma State’s offense running wide open through three games, Walcott and the rest of the Baylor secondary will have a big test on Saturday in Waco. If they can neutralize Spencer Sanders and the passing game, Baylor has a good chance to come out victorious.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Can Spencer Sanders shake the turnover bug against Baylor? Last season, Sanders threw 12 interceptions, and seven of those were to Baylor alone in their two meetings. In the matchup in Stillwater, Oklahoma State was able to overcome three interceptions thanks to a lights-out defensive performance, but in the Big 12 Championship game, Sanders threw four picks, and that proved too much. This season, OSU doesn’t have the luxury of arguably the nation’s top defense, so Sanders will need to play a much cleaner game this time around if the Pokes are to win.
Blake Shapen needs to take advantage of Oklahoma State’s weakness, which is the passing defense. As mentioned earlier, OSU ranks 103rd nationally, giving up 265.3 yards per game through the air. If he can attack that, Baylor running game will have more success against a good front for Oklahoma State. Shapen is coming off his best game of the year in a tough road environment in Ames, so coming back home in front of a fired up Baylor crowd should be a spot for the young QB to shine again.
Prediction: Baylor 38, Oklahoma State 33
I like this game to be a close, hard-fought battle between two of the Big 12’s top teams, but only one can win. It’s hard for me to believe that Spencer Sanders has completely fixed the turnover issues that we have seen from him time and time again, and I think we see him make a couple of costly mistakes in this game. Baylor is undoubtedly the toughest test that Oklahoma State will have had to this point, and with games in Provo and Ames under their belt, I think the Bears are more battle-tested, helping them to a close victory at home over a top-10 opponent.