STILLWATER â€” Visions of Ryan Broyles darting through Oklahoma State tacklers must be seared into the minds of Cowboy fans.
The Oklahoma receiver was the best offensive player on the field during Bedlam 2009. Broyles finished with 316 all-purpose yards including 209 return yards and 103 receiving yards.
For OSU, containing Broyles could be the key to slowing Oklahoma's offense when the Sooners visit the Cowboys at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
â€œHe's very good,â€ coach Mike Gundy said. â€œHe's elusive in space, he catches the ball well, he catches the ball down the field well.
â€œHe's going to make some plays, you have to understand he's going to make some plays and try to limit those.â€
As good as Broyles was in last year's Bedlam matchup, he's been even better through 11 games in 2010. The junior has 106 receptions for 1,309 yards and 12 touchdowns.
Few players in college football can match Broyles' explosiveness in the open field.
â€œOne thing we can do for him is not miss the tackles,â€ OSU cornerback Andrew McGee said. â€œHe's quick, he's elusive, he has the ability to make you miss. If we can do our job and make the tackles in open space and limit the big plays we will be ok.â€
Easier said than done.
OU runs a bubble screen to Broyles which is close to unstoppable if executed correctly. It's lethal because the play gets Broyles the ball quickly in the open field with blockers ahead.
â€œThe reason it is so tough is because it gives the receiver a chance to go make a play,â€ McGee said. â€œIt gives them an opportunity to catch the ball and not worry about getting hit, getting smashed right after they catch it. So they have time to think about what they are going to do.â€
It's a play that always looks like the defender could jump the route and intercept the pass but OU runs variations of the play to keep defenses honest and the outside receiver â€” with Broyles lining up in the slot â€” blocks the cornerback on the perimeter, giving Broyles open space to operate.
â€œIt's tough because they always have that one blocker in front of you,â€ McGee said. â€œIt would have to be a heck of a read for someone to intercept a bubble pass. It would be one of the greatest plays ever.â€
Tackling will be the key. OSU's tackling was its downfall in the Cowboys' lone loss against Nebraska earlier this season and Broyles is the type of dynamic talent who will take advantage if OSU doesn't wrap up.
â€œHe's going to catch the ball, we know that,â€ McGee said. â€œIt's hard to say Ryan Broyles will not catch a single pass this game. We have to limit the big plays, limit the missed tackles.â€