A Sterling Reputation:
Baker Mayfield has been outstanding this season for the Sooners, but there is one man that holds this offense together more than the elusive quarterback. Sterling Shepard may be the best receiver the Sooners have had in a decade. The Heritage Hall alum has been magical this season, making catches that have wowed everyone watching and breaking off big plays at the right time. Corey Coleman got the plays he needed against Kevin Peterson, but Peterson was able to keep Coleman in check as well. Peterson will need a big performance again to keep the Cowboys in winning contention. Shepard will probably find the endzone at least one time, but if he does it multiple times then go ahead and chalk up the "L" for the Cowboys, Saturday.
There is nothing easy about playing against Samaje Perine. He is even more dangerous now that he can rest while Joe "Punchy" Mixon takes significant snaps at tailback. Last season, Perine toward the end of the season was getting banged up a bit. When you have carried the ball over 250 times in a season though, you have a reason to be banged up. Perine's stats will not be comparable this season, but that makes the situation for the Cowboys worse. A fresh-er Perine means more broken tackles on first contact and more chances for the bruiser to break into the second and third level of the defense. It is amazing that we have gone through almost two full years of the Samaje Perine Experience and he still averages more than six yards per carry. The defense will have their work cut out for them Saturday.
Last week everyone was concerned about the status of Baylor's Jarrett Stidham going into the game against Oklahoma State. It was a foregone conclusion that he would trot out there for the first series and the same will happen with Baker Mayfield this Saturday. The Cowboys better hope that they don't get torched early by the "injured" QB like they did last week. The Sooner's offense is just as explosive as Baylor but takes on a different look doing it. Remember how annoying it was for Oklahoma State fans when Joel Lanning was jogging all over the field because the Cowboys defense continued breaking containment against Iowa State? The same will happen again if the Cowboy defense does not respect the legs of Mayfield. Mayfield getting his bell rung last week does not change his elusiveness or speed. Emmanuel Ogbah has been great all year for the Pokes, but it's going to take an 11-man effort to keep Mayfield in check. He has been sacked 32 times this season but after seeing what breaking containment does to the Pokes, it is better to let the linebackers come up the middle and sack the quarterback.