Oklahoma: The senior-dominated line has been hot and cold this season. In some games, the unit looks fantastic, but during others, it seems nonexistent. There's no doubt that talent and leadership is there along the line, but its productivity will be critical to any OU success against the powerful OSU offense.
Oklahoma State: The defensive tackle duo of Calvin Barnett and James Castleman has given the Cowboys a gigantic boost on the interior, plugging holes in the middle and making plays behind the line of scrimmage. Last week against Tech, the Cowboys were able to get pressure on Seth Doege without blitzing. That will be key against Landry Jones, who is known to make mistakes when the pocket breaks down.
Oklahoma: The last couple weeks, it's been easy to forget that OU even has linebackers on its roster. Tom Wort, Corey Nelson and Aaron Franklin have all played well sometimes and poorly other times, but they'll all be needed against the Cowboys.
Oklahoma State: OSU returned all three starters at linebacker, and it's shown with the group's solid play, particularly against the run. Lyndell Johnson is an X-Factor player with the speed and athleticism and speed to make plays against the run and pass.
Oklahoma: The defensive backs looked drastically improved from last season when the Sooners won at Texas Tech and beat the Longhorns. But lately, they've tended to struggled in tackling and sometimes in coverage. Aaron Colvin was fantastic earlier this season and played well at times against West Virginia, but was beaten badly by Stedman Bailey in the second half. Tony Jefferson and Javon Harris are an excellent safety duo when at their best.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboy secondary has played better in recent weeks, but is absolutely the weakest — or most inconsistent, at least — part of this defense. Who would have thought that at the start of the season, with cornerbacks Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert returning? Daytawion Lowe has been steady at free safety, however, and strong safety Shamiel Gary has improved greatly throughout the season.
Oklahoma: Brennan Clay's kickoff returns have been somewhat overshadowed of late, but his ability in that area has helped OU's offense immensely. Justin Brown has been good at returning punts, and Michael Hunnicutt is usually reliable — although he did have a rare missed field goal last week. Tress Way's punting has been solid.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys were terrible on special teams against Kansas State, but have been sound for most of the season and spectacular the last two weeks. Quinn Sharp is still arguably the best all-around kicker in the country, and Gilbert is still capable of taking a kickoff return to the house at any time.
Oklahoma: Bob Stoops is 6-1 against Mike Gundy, with the only loss coming in last year's blowout. Both staffs have done admirable jobs this season in getting the most out of inexperienced, thin units and new players.
Oklahoma State: Gundy won three national Coach of the Year awards in 2011, but it's possible he and his staff have done a better job this season with all the injuries and adversity the Cowboys have faced. Last year's victory over Stoops was big, and the gap between the coaches is closing, but Stoops still holds a slight edge because of his history against Gundy in this game.
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