NORMAN — Baylor’s final scores this season are staggering.
The Bears have hung at least 70 on the scoreboard four times in seven games, and have 69- and 59-point performances.
One final score, though, sticks out like a sore thumb: A 35-25 win Oct. 12 at Kansas State, which used a ball-control, run-heavy offensive that could provide Oklahoma an upset model Thursday in Waco.
When the Sooners face No. 6 Baylor, they likely will have to choice between to two strategies to counter one of the nation's most prolific offenses: Keep up or keep away.
To this point, no one has been able to hang with the Bears’ firepower. Baylor leads the nation with averages of 63.9 points and 718.4 offensive yards per game. Quarterback Bryce Petty has thrown 18 touchdown passes and one interception.
The Sooners controlled the clock in the fourth quarter of wins over Notre Dame and Texas Tech. bThe Red Raiders’ offensive style is similar to Baylor’s, and Oklahoma won with several long, time-consuming series.
With Landry Jones quarterbacking its offense the four previous seasons, Oklahoma was able to go point-for-point with most high-powered offenses. But with an inconsistent passing game so far this year, these Sooners rely more on a strong offensive line and group of running backs.
“We knew Tech liked to put up points with that spread offense,” said senior running back Brennan Clay. “Being able to run the ball in any game, I feel like, is going to be important. Being able to control the clock and get first downs, and just keep grinding it out, making sure we score in the red zone.”
That’s exactly what Kansas State did against Baylor, and it nearly worked. The Wildcats ran 80 plays, gained 327 yards rushing and nearly doubled Baylor in time of possession.
Kansas State held the ball for more than 12 minutes in the third quarter and emerged with a four-point lead.
If Oklahoma chooses to do likewise it will do so without senior fullback Trey Millard, the team’s best blocker who tore his ACL in the Texas Tech win.
“Trey going down is detrimental to our offense," Clay said."It’s a big void to fill, but I think Brannon Green and Aaron Ripkowski are gonna do a great job filling that void and we’ll be fine.”
As Bob Stoops pointed out, the Sooners controled the clock last week without Millard. Oklahoma’s 12-play, 53-yard drive lasted nearly six minutes of the fourth quarter, forcing Tech to use its timeouts.
“I was really excited to see us do that again late in the game,” Stoops said.