OSU running back Joseph Randle has been producing since arriving as a freshman, already ranking ninth on the school's all-time rushing list as a junior.
Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said there's more to Randle these days than just statistics. There's also a presence he brings to the locker room and the field.
“In the last six weeks, seven weeks, eight weeks, he's been the most pleasant surprise from a leadership standpoint,” Gundy said. “I thought he ran as hard Saturday as he has since the Texas game. He had tough yards. OU, they're fast in the secondary, they recover really quick. Joe ran through some guys and got tough yards on the goal line, things like that.
“But the last couple of months, his leadership qualities have been really good and kind of set the bar for who we are.”
Gundy said Randle arrived in Stillwater ready to play, a point that has been made by Gundy and former OSU offensive coordinator Dana Holgorsen.
Now he's giving something extra.
“He was business from the day he got here,” Gundy said. “Then he kind of got into the college life and got sidetracked for a little bit — nothing bad, just life in general — and now he's jumped back on. And he's pretty serious about what he wants to do. And he's been really good for us.”
OPPONENT WATCH: BAYLOR TAKEWAYS
As Baylor has surged to wins in three of their last four games, gaining bowl eligibility, one common denominator has been turnovers.
In those four games, the Bears own an 8-2 edge in takeaways.
“When we won six in a row late last year, we won the turnover battle in every single one of those games,” said Baylor coach Art Briles. “We have actually won the turnover battle the last four games, we just couldn't pull a win out against Oklahoma.
“Once you get going, you start to feel like you are going to force a turnover every possession.”
The Bears have five games with at least three takeaways this season. Under defensive coordinator Phil Bennett, they are 14-2 when forcing two turnovers or more.
SHARP NAMED ALL-AMERICAN
Cowboys kicker/punter Quinn Sharp was named the American Football Coaches Association's All-America kicker on Wednesday.
Sharp is the first Cowboy to earn All-America honors in three different seasons. He was named to the Football Writers Association of America's team as a punter in 2010 and kicker in 2011.
Entering OSU's final regular-season game against Baylor, Sharp leads the nation with 2.09 field goals per game and leads all kickers with 11.8 points per game. His 0.833 field-goal percentage ranks third in the nation. He is also 61-for-61 on PATs and leads the nation with 65 touchbacks on kickoffs.
Sharp has also excelled as a punter this season, leading the Big 12 with 46.2 yards per punt. OSU ranks eighth nationally in net punting (40.46).