The storied Bedlam Game matchup between Oklahoma State and Oklahoma features two BCS-ranked teams, with Landry Jones and the crimson and cream hungry for revenge after being humiliated last season in Stillwater. Given the Sooners' deep receiving corps, Jones' momentum and the Sooners' quest for redemption, expect to see an aerial assault on the Cowboys secondary.
First, understand what's at stake for Jones and the Sooners. For the senior quarterback, this is his last shot at his team's bitter rival and a precious opportunity to end his Bedlam Career on a high note after committing three turnovers in the 2011 bout and suffering a 44-10 defeat.
Perhaps an even bigger motivator is the Sooners' conference and BCS positioning. If OU wins its final two regular-season games, it will have a great shot to earn an at-large BCS berth and possibly a Big 12 title if K-State stumbles against Texas.
But that is all down the road. At this point, the Sooners offense, specifically its passing game, has considerable momentum and is largely responsible for its team's three-game win streak.
In the past three games, Jones threw for 1,236 yards and 12 touchdowns. Six different receivers caught touchdown passes in those games, and the Sooners are proving they have one of the most explosive receiving units in the nation. Even if a defense shuts down top target Kenny Stills, Justin Brown, Jalen Saunders, Damien Williams and even freshman Sterling Shepard can step up and make the play.
As for Oklahoma State, defense is not their forte, as they have given up 388.2 passing yards per game, 70th in the nation. OSU had trouble stopping the pass against Arizona, Texas, Kansas State and West Virginia.
Also encouraging for the Sooners is the offensive line. Despite numerous injuries, most recently to Daryl Williams, Jones has only been sacked 13 times all season. Jones has benefited from great protection recently, which is all he needs to exploit defenses.
And if the Cowboys can't succeed up front, they'll have major problems. They have logged only 21 sacks on the season, which is not encouraging.
Granted, playmakers Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert bring much-needed experience and reliability to the Cowboys secondary, but OSU will still struggle to contain the deep Sooners receiving corps.
If OSU can force turnovers like it did last week against Texas Tech, than things will be very interesting. In order to do this, the Cowboys need to chase Jones out of the pocket where he is the most uncomfortable.
West Virginia tried to do this, but the Sooners' O-line neutralized many blitzes as Jones picked apart the Mountaineer defense.
Hopefully for Oklahoma State, their defensive line can win the battles in the trenches against Oklahoma. Successful blitzes would also help to foil Jones' plans.
But it the Cowboys can't make Jones uncomfortable, they will have their hands full.
Look for the Oklahoma offensive line to manage the Cowboys attack while Jones slices up the defense in his final Bedlam Game.
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