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BEDLAM HATE WEEK OFFENSIVE PREVIEW 2: Running Back U vs Running Back Who?

After a couple of recent hits...Adrian Peterson & Demarco Murray...the once proud OU running game has drifted into oblivion, while OSU continues to churn out studs.


Darrel Royal

Billy Vessels

Tommy McDonald

Steve Owens

Joe Washington

Greg Pruitt

Billy Sims

Spencer Tillman

Quentin Griffin

Adrian Peterson

Demarco Murray

A fairly nice list of running backs churned out by the University of Oklahoma. Most of these guys appear on several "Top 50" players' lists for the Sooners.

Problem is only three of those players have played in the past 27 years. In fact, the gap between Tillman and Griffin goes from 1985 to 2000.

For a football program that has been recognized on more than one list as a BETTER RB PRODUCING PROGRAM than Oklahoma State, that gap and the current vacuum at that position is quite frankly, shocking. In 2011 the position was eventually taken over by a walk-on.

For comparison, since Spencer Tillman, OSU has produced the following list...

Thurman Thomas

Barry Sanders

Tatum Bell

Vernand Morency

Keith Toston

Kendall Hunter

And currently Joseph Randle, who will no doubt join this list as another OSU running back drafted to the NFL.

You know me...I love me some stats...and looking at the last 9 years of rushing numbers (2004 is as far back as ESPN goes, and I was too lazy to find another source), which inlcudes this year's production, is interesting to say the least.

  • OSU has averaged over 200 yards per game in five seasons...OU once
  • OSU has averaged 2+ rushing TD's per game 7 times...OU 5 times
  • OSU has averaged 5+ ypc 6 times...OU 2 times
If we look at just this season, OSU is averaging 216.7 ypg rushing, however that average in Big 12 play drops to 177. Teams are stacking against the run, especially since there has been a carousel at QB over the course of the season.

The Sooners are averaging 169 ypg rushing, however their average only drops to 160 ypg in conference play. Teams are obviously NOT that concerned about OU's rushing attack and it's impact on the game.

So if we look at the running game matchup for Bedlam, based on Big 12 stats...
  • #4 rushing offense (OSU) vs #9 rushing defense (OU)
  • #7 rushing offense (OU) vs #2 rushing defense (OSU)
OU has yet to play the top 2 rushing defenses in the league (TCU, OSU).
OSU has already played 5 of the top 6 rushing defenses in the conference (obviously can't play itself).

OSU against the #10 (worst) rushing defense...275 yards
OSU against the #8 rushing defense...231 yards
As we saw above, OU is the #9 rush defense in the Big 12.

Now, I will give OU a TINY bit of an asterisk here...if you take away what I think is the exception that was West Virginia, they are only giving up a little over 100 yards per game. That should be fair warning to OSU folks to not take this for granted. The Cowboys need to come out with a physical attitude.

At the same time, OU has faced 4 of the top 5 rushing offenses. They held ONE of them under 200 yards (Kansas, 185). As we previously mentioned, OSU is #4.

OSU has faced 4 of the top 6 rushing offenses in the league and has yet to allow 200 yards in a game.

This is an area of the game that concerned CCM's own Jordan Esco.

Remember Bedlam 2011? OSU physically dominated the Sooners in a way NEVER before seen in the rivalry. The Cowboys' two best players didn't score a single point, so their absence means NOTHING. Not much has changed since last year's demolition, except that OSU's defensive front seven is actually BETTER than last season's group.

This should be an area of concern for OU. They will need to help in run defense, and that will leave them vulnerable to what I will preview later...

Choo Choo.