There was no stunning letdown for Baylor against Kansas in Week 9, no horrific consequences for looking ahead to Oklahoma on Nov. 7.
Instead, it was the same ol', same ol' for the Bears, which crushed Kansas 59-14. Baylor had 505 yards of offense...at the half. Quarterback Bryce Petty was pulled by the third quarter to let backup Seth Russell finish. The game was over before it began.
Business as usual.
It may be the last time for a while Baylor enjoys an easy win like that. The game against the Sooners marks a final five-game stretch in which four of the opponents are ranked in the Top 25 and in the thick of the Big 12 title hunt.
And after Oklahoma's 38-30 win over Texas Tech, the Sooners showed they may be playing their best football at the right time. Oklahoma's ability to wear down Texas Tech's defense with the run could spell trouble for the Bears defense.
Recall that Baylor gave up 327 yards rushing to Kansas State in a 35-25 win earlier in the month. The Wildcats lean heavily on a downhill rushing attack from quarterback Daniel Sams and running back John Hubert.
Similarly, Oklahoma has put a ton of stock into running backs Damien Williams, Brennan Clay and Roy Finch. Sooners quarterback Blake Bell also showed in the win over Tech that, when used properly, he too can be effective in the power running game.
Like all other opponents, Oklahoma's best offense against Baylor is going to be its defense. By limiting the big plays Baylor lives on and keeping the score close, the Sooners don't have to abandon what they do best: running the ball.
As it so happens, stopping the run is the one area where the Bears defense has shown some vulnerability.
Oklahoma also forced three turnovers against Texas Tech. Baylor, on the other hand, usually wins the turnover battle. It's all about opportunities—taking them away from the Bears while creating some of your own.
Baylor should be the favorite against Oklahoma, but the Bears will have to closely reexamine how they played against K-State if they don't want to fall from the ranks of the unbeatens in college football.
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