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Bedlam football: A look at five key matchups

Herea re five key matchups to watch in Saturday's Bedlam game.
by Jason Kersey Published: December 5, 2013

The second level of the Sooner defense may also need to assist when Chelf tucks the ball to run off zone-read plays and quarterback draws. He's picked up 305 yards and six touchdowns on 48 carries.

OSU defensive line vs. OU offensive line

Oklahoma State's defensive line, anchored by defensive tackle Calvin Barnett, has been terrific this season, helping the Cowboys hold opponents to only 3.4 yards a rush. OSU leads the Big 12 in run defense, allowing 130 yards per game.

The Sooners are ranked second in the Big 12 in rushing offense, and that attack is bolstered with Knight playing quarterback. OU has rushed for at least 300 yards in all four of the games that Knight either started or took the majority of snaps in.

Much of that success on the ground stems from an impressive offensive line in its first year under position coach Bill Bedenbaugh. Senior center Gabe Ikard is an All-America candidate, and most of the starters have several career starts under their belts.

One thing to watch, though, is the status of guard Adam Shead and tackle Tyrus Thompson. Shead didn't make the trip to Kansas State two weeks ago, and Thompson left the game with an ankle injury. Their availability for Bedlam remains unclear, and if OU doesn't have them, winning the battle up front could prove to be an insurmountable challenge.

OSU returners vs. OU coverage units

The momentum of Bedlam 2012 shifted on Saunders' fourth-quarter, 81-yard punt return for a touchdown. Could a similar play change the game this season?

OSU's Josh Stewart has had another productive season at slot receiver (45 catches, 555 yards, two touchdowns). But he perhaps most gets to show his shifty playmaking ability on special teams, as he ranks fourth in the nation in punt returns (18.2 yards per return) with two touchdowns.

On kickoff returns, Gilbert brings blazing speed, tallying his sixth career touchdown against Kansas to make him the NCAA's active leader in that category.

OU ranks third in the Big 12 in kickoff coverage (39.3 net average) but last in the league in net punting (34.1 average).

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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