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Hold Your Horses, Baylor: This Is Where Your BCS Dreams Die

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Hold Your Horses, Baylor: This Is Where Your BCS Dreams Die
Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports

Sitting undefeated with just three games left in the season, the Baylor Bears are oh so close to staking a legitimate claim to a BCS National Championship berth, along with a Big 12 title. 

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But on Saturday, the Bears are going to see their dreams come crashing down in a blaze of orange and black at the hands of the Oklahoma State Cowboys. 

The Cowboys play host to Baylor in a game that is a de facto Big 12 title game on Saturday night.

They're one of the hottest teams in the country, ripping off six straight double-digit wins since losing at West Virginia on Sept. 28. 

Oklahoma State is an opportunistic team that can follow the blueprint laid down by Kansas State earlier this year. The Cowboys rank fifth in the NCAA and first in the Big 12 in turnover margin with plus-13. 

When Baylor faced Bill Snyder and the Wildcats on Oct. 12, K-State had the Bears on the ropes the whole game.

Although the Wildcats ended up losing the game 35-25, that game is still the closest one Baylor has played all year, and it laid the foundation for how Oklahoma State will upend one of the country's few remaining unbeaten teams. 

In that game, Kansas State was able to set the pace of the game with 327 rushing yards, including 199 from quarterback Daniel Sams. K-State forced the Baylor offense to sputter with six punts, which is still a season high for the nation's most prolific offense.

Oklahoma State has found the most success offensively when it sets the tone on the ground.

In the Cowboys' two biggest wins of the season—at Texas Tech and at Texas—quarterback Clint Chelf had great performances on the ground. 

Against the Red Raiders, Chelf had 88 of the team's 281 rushing yards in the 52-34 win. Against Texas, he racked up 95 yards on the ground. 

There's no better defense against Baylor's high-octane offense than to just keep it off the field. With Chelf setting the pace of the game on offense with his dual-threat capability, that will play into Oklahoma State's hands. 

Ultimately, though, the Cowboys will need stops.

And this defense knows how to get them. They're 14th in the FBS in scoring defense (19.0).

What really stands out is Oklahoma State's ability to hold teams to field goals or scoreless entirely inside the red zone. 

Opponents have reached the red zone against the Cowboys 34 times this season. In those 34 trips, teams have been limited to field goals nine times and held scoreless 10 times. That means over 55 percent of red zone trips against Oklahoma State have resulted in three points or less. 

That could prove problematic for the Bears, who rank just sixth in the Big 12 in red zone offense

Baylor has had a magical season this year, but that magic will run out at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Oklahoma State will set the tone of the game offensively and will be able to simply outscore and overmatch the Bears. 

 

 

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