STILLWATER — The similarities between Baylor's Robert Griffin III and Nebraska's Taylor Martinez are obvious.
Yes, Griffin, like Martinez, looms as a game-changing quarterback who is dangerous and elusive and capable of carving up defenses with his arm or his legs.
So their styles are similar, sounding an alarm among Oklahoma State fans, since Martinez crafted the Huskers' 51-41 win inside Boone Pickens Stadium.
Yet they're also strikingly different.
And different, in Griffin's case, may be more difficult.
"He can do so many things," said Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young.
Martinez is an option engineer who can also throw, as the Cowboys fatally found out, although it was a career passing day for the Nebraska freshman.
Griffin can — and will — run, yet it's not his first priority. As the trigger man in Baylor's spread offense, he's attacking through the air whenever possible.
Martinez runs almost as much as he throws, with 112 rushing attempts and 120 passes through eight games.
Griffin's pass-to-run ratio is roughly 3-to-1, with 294 throws and 92 runs. And he's accounted for 2,995 yards of total offense, compared to Martinez's 2,047.
Martinez will pass if dared, which is what he did to OSU.
With Griffin, where do you dare?
"He runs like Taylor Martinez but is probably a better thrower," said Cowboys end Ugo Chinasa.
No probably about it.
And therein lies the challenge of dealing with Griffin, who understands his importance in the Bears offense, if not Baylor's complete rise to respectability.
"As I am, we are," Griffin said after directing last week's win over Texas.
DEFENDING ROBERT GRIFFIN
The Oklahoman's John Helsley examines five factors Oklahoma State must consider in dealing with Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin:
1. Double wide. Unlike Nebraska's more traditional power option look, Baylor spreads the field — to extremes.
"Baylor will stress you more than other teams," Young said, "because their wide receivers will line up three and four yards from the boundary. Most people are going to be two or three yards from the numbers. Theirs are clear outside near the sideline."
Pulling defenders away from the box, it creates room for Griffin to roam should he take off on designed running plays or scrambles.
2. Stretch and stress. The Bears possess great speed among a young and underrated receiving corps. And they use it, both horizontally across the field and vertically down the field, further occupying defenders and leaving openings for Griffin. Not that he's looking to always run. His 20-to-5 ratio of touchdowns-to-interceptions is among the Big 12's best.
"He does a great job in his play fakes, too," said Young, "so he'll take you away from the ball carrier when he's handing it off. He's got an extremely strong arm. Then his ability to run, when he decides to do it, presents a real challenge."
3. Pressure and contain. The drill is the same whenever facing a mobile quarterback, but it's imperative with Griffin, because of his world-class speed: pressure him, but keep him hemmed into the middle of the field, in traffic.
4. Redirect focus. Griffin is right, as he goes, the Bears go. They have upgraded at the skill positions, particularly at wide receiver. And running back Jay Finley is having a breakout year as a senior. But ideally, he doesn't beat you. Make him put the ball into somebody else's hands and take your chances with them.
5. Wrap Up. Against Nebraska, the Cowboys missed 33 tackles, about 20 more than what's acceptable. A week ago, against Kansas State, OSU improved that number of misses to 11. While the style of offense accounts for some of that, the Cowboys also did a much better job of wrapping up, rather than going for the blowup.
"Sometimes we get caught up in what the coaches have asked of us, and we forget to play fundamentally sound football," said safety Markelle Martin. "They wanted us to be more physical, and we wanted to do that, but we forgot our fundamentals, just wrapping up and bringing the guy down.
"We've got to wrap up."