1. Sooner Defense. If the OU defense remotely resembles the last two weeks of productivity, or lack thereof, Oklahoma State takes Oklahoma to the woodshed and wins by two TD’s. Said it last week..no ‘kill shots’ but wrap up and gang tackle which helps manufacture turnovers. It’s hard to beat a good team that doesn’t turn the ball over.
2. OU O-Line. They’ve been basted and overcooked and beset with injuries but are playing with pride and passion. Watching guard Adam Shead simply walk is painful. This group is $2 steak tough and has been coached up amazingly well but can they apply enough duct tape and then will themselves to win a difference making fight along the line of scrimmage? Huge facet of Bedlam.
3. Defensive line. This maligned group will have their manhood challenged early and often. Can they get off blocks, win individual battles and slow a stellar Okie State running game? If the Cowboys offensive line consistently wins this matchup and RB’s Randle and Smith have ‘average’ days, OSU wins.
4. Playmakers. OU has them in abundance and Saturday is a day that some or all need to click. Someone will be single covered and Landry Jones must have the time to find them. Could we see a reverse against an aggressive OSU defense to Jalen Saunders or Sterling Shepard? Will Trey Millard get a shot at being a making plays? Can the Pokes cover Stills or Brown one on one? Can Damien Williams have another “Texas game?”
5. Momentum. Major factor in Bedlam and the team that can ‘control the dice’ the longest will enhance their chances of leaving with a smile. The home crowd can help with momentum but a late arriving crowd, partially empty student section and a tryptophan hangover of a home, fan base doesn’t help the Sooners cause. Emotions should run high especially because it’s Bedlam and it will be the last home game for our seniors. Can the Sooner faithful deliver or are we a one game a year crowd IE Notre Dame?
6. Special teams. Not talked about a great deal this week in the media. Both teams have excellent kickers and coverage teams. Both OU and OSU can score on returns. This aspect of the game is the ‘X’ factor. It should not shock anyone to read Sunday that this game came down to the 4th quarter and how a special teams play turned Bedlam around. It’s not hyperbole to say that every kick Saturday is important.
7. Landry Jones. The senior quarterback has been a rock this season and even the most cynical Sooner ‘fan’ has to admit that #12 will be greatly missed unless these naysayers aren’t smart enough to read Landry’s career numbers. Watching from the sideline last week in Morgantown, it was obvious to see and hear who the leader of this team truly is, our quarterback. If Landry can remain vertical and not be in “run for your life” mode, OU’s chances of winning a big money game, talking big money in a multitude of ways, are enhanced.
Last year in Stillwater, the Pokes not only beat the Sooners but they beat Oklahoma to a figurative, bloody pulp. If it had been a UFC contest, it would have been stopped shortly after half time. OSU will once again look to physically dominate the line of scrimmage and that’s a major concern. However, I look for OU to play an inspired game, especially defensively, get some help from a fickle home crowd and see Landry Jones lead his team to a tooth chipping, nail biter of a win.
OU by 2….late.
Jim Ross @JRsBBQ
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