Statement November Begins

Saturday Spotlight

(5) Oklahoma Sooners at (11) Oklahoma State Cowboys

Oklahoma: Here they are in the hunt for the conference title and a possible berth in the playoffs. After their loss to Iowa State, they’ve got the ship rolling in the right direction. Their offense has been their strong point obviously with Baker Mayfield leading the ship. He’s been one of my favorite players in the nation to watch and he’s enjoying another Heisman like season as he’s thrown 23 touchdown passes and only three interceptions all while adjusting to brand new wide receivers but to me, that shows you just how great he is. You lose your core from last year and you haven’t missed a beat with this core so far this season. Their offense can light up a scoreboard at any time, but the big issue with their passing attack is the inability to really connect on deep passes down the field. The lingering issue has been the Sooners defense and I won’t necessarily say that they are bad on that side of the football, but there are a few things that can be tightened up from a standpoint on football fundamentals. I think the secondary depends on the front seven to bail them out each time. When I watch this front seven, one guy stands out and finally, a majority of America will be able to watch defensive end Ogbonnia Okoronkwo play. This guy is as pure of a pass rusher as they come. He’s impossible to stay in front of and you can’t chip him with a running back either. The Sooners will remain in state but in Stillwater this afternoon.

Oklahoma State: In their last game against West Virginia last Saturday, they started quickly and got back to the basics by mixing things up offensively with running the football, Mason Rudolph spreading the ball to his receivers and although the ball was distributed evenly, you always know that he will connect with James Washington somehow and someway. They were up big at one point on the Mountaineers and in the third quarter, they let them get back into the game, but the Cowboys ended up taking care of business and winning the game by putting 50 on the scoreboard. Although their defense gave up 39 points, they made their opponent earn each and every one of those points. As I stated last week, their defense may give up a lot of points, but they will clamp down and make stops when they know they need too and a perfect example of this is how they held West Virginia to 19 first downs only and on third down, they only allowed two conversions, which is excellent. They’re great when it comes to forcing turnovers and getting those takeaways and they’re a very active unit that just swarms to the football as an entire defensive unit. One thing I’ve really taken away in the last two weeks about them is that Mason Rudolph hasn’t really looked like himself as of late and maybe he’s bruised up (that happens around this time of the year) it’s a long season and everyone has a bump or a bruise here and there. He’s averaged under seven yards per attempt in his last two games and if you really pay attention to him, he seems hesitant on making the passes that he’s known to make. It’s time to focus on your next opponent, your biggest rivals.

Oklahoma Player To Watch: Rodney Anderson– You lose not one, but two very productive running backs from last year in Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine. So, how do you replace them? With a three-headed monster at the position, but the leader is Rodney. He isn’t the type of back to bounce outside, he feels he can get yards running right up the middle. He’ll be key in controlling the clock early on in this one.

Oklahoma State Player To Watch: Jalen McCleskey– We know about James Washington and the number two receiver, Marcel Ateman. Let’s meet this kid now. He’s one of the fastest slot receivers in the game right now and he can help expose Oklahoma’s secondary and really make them work to defend him. He’s a nightmare to tackle in open space.

Final Analysis: It’s finally here. Statement November and Bedlam. If you like quarterback play, this is definitely the game for you. Two of the best will be featured in this one. Two outstanding field generals that are outstanding and can generate offense at any time. The Sooners defense needs to be consistent. They can’t do well one play and take off the next. For Oklahoma State, keeping Mayfield in the pocket and out of space is a big key. The winner of this game will have a much better shot not only at getting to the conference title game, but the playoffs possibly.

Prediction: Oklahoma 51 Oklahoma State 48