Ahead of Saturday’s big game, let’s talk about what Mike Gundy’s squad has to do to come out on top.
Keep Baker Mayfield in the pocket.
There’s no denying that Mayfield is an excellent Quarterback. He’s probably the best in the country. He excels at extending plays, and creating on the fly.
But if the Oklahoma State defense can make him one demensional, then Oklahoma State has a shot. This defense has the ability to get to Mayfield, they’re just gonna have to be fast. Take away his ability to extend the play, and they’ll see good things. That’s easier said than done, though. Not many teams have been able to contain him.
Take care of the ball.
You cannot let OU have the ball more than is necessary. A turnover in a game like this could mean the game. It’s expected to be close, and an untimely turnover could spell disaster for the Cowboys. But if they play smart and don’t give up the football, Oklahoma State has a chance.
TL;DR... do less of what they did last weekend.
Get off the field:
Third down defense has been a crutch for Oklahoma State this season. Early on, they struggled. Lately, the defense has definitely improved in this area through the course of the season. But in this game, you can’t give Mayfield the opportunity to go on double-digit play drives. This is a solid defense that I think will have a big impact on this game, and it’s going to start by staying focused and alert on third downs.
Take it back:
Hey Ramon, I’m talking to you. Richards has had interceptions in the last two games and if he can make it a third, Oklahoma State has a chance to win it. Mayfield has just three interceptions on the year, so any time you get a chance to get one from him, you’ve got to take advantage.
Keeping the ball out Baker Mayfield’s hands is going to be huge in this game. Anything you can do to help with that is going to be vital. Play hard and physical. Also, I selfishly want to see Baker throw interception in person.
For some reason, Mike Gundy and his team like to play OU conservatively. If there were ever a year to change to that, it’s 2017. The Cowboys have an offense that can handle that, and make a difference in this game. Oklahoma State has so many weapons at their disposal that they’d be doing themselves a disservice to not put the pedal down.
The only thing that stands in the way is them being afraid to make the big mistake. Play with some reckless abandon. That’s what rivalry games are for. Just play the game, don’t let the opponent impact your overall mindset.
Did I miss anything? Let me know your keys to the game in the comments below!