Two weeks after sending Texas back to reality, the Cowboys have the chance to topple another Big 12 baddy. A Bedlam win against Oklahoma would not only make Oklahoma State Bowl eligible and make amends for the Baylor loss, it would effectively knock the Sooners out of contention for the college football playoffs, end Kyler Murray’s Heisman candidacy, and break Lincoln Riley’s 3-game winning streak against Mike Gundy. No pressure, fellas!
Where: Memorial Stadium- Norman, Oklahoma
When: Saturday, November 11, 2018, 2:30 P.M. CST
Stream: Watch ESPN
Get to Know the Oklahoma Sooners (8-1, 5-1):
What can’t Kyler Murray do? The Allen, Texas phenom was a perfect 42-0 as a high school quarterback, notched 223 passing yards and 156 rushing yards in his very first start as a freshman at Texas A&M, transferred to Oklahoma, and is in a two-horse race with Alabama’s Tua Tagovailoa to take home the Heisman trophy. Not bad for your second best sport.
As the Oakland Athletics’ ninth overall selection in the 2018 Major League Baseball draft, Murray had to obtain special permission from his perspective employers for one chance to lead the Sooners as the starting quarterback before foregoing his senior season for spring training. It’s fair to say he’s made the most of his opportunity.
Although he’s put up gaudier numbers against lesser foes like Baylor (*sobs*), Murray’s best performance was arguably in the Sooner’s sole loss against Texas. Down 45-24 in the fourth quarter against the hated Longhorns, Murray threw a 19 yard touchdown pass, knifed through Texas defenders for a 67-yard touchdown run, and led his team to a third score before coming up just short thanks to a Cameron Dicker last-minute kicker. He finished the game 19 of 26 for 304 yards (73.1% completion percentage) and four touchdowns in the air and had 11 carries for 92 yards (8.4 yards per carry) and another score on the ground. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that he doesn’t get bored and decide to take up basketball next.
What to Watch For: Oklahoma State (5-4, 2-4):
In a rivalry game fraught with emotions, can Coach Gundy keep his team in check? The Cowboys are 101st out of 130 FBS teams in avoiding penalties, averaging 7.6 penalties per game. Time and time again (see Texas Tech, Iowa State, Kansas State, Baylor) the yellow flags have come at the most inopportune times, stalling drives, pushing the team out of scoring opportunities, and keeping opposing offenses on the field. The Sooners are dangerous enough without these costly freebies.
If the Pokes can stay out of their own way, they can put up points on a surprisingly vulnerable Oklahoma defense. Even after slaughtering sacrificial lamb Mike Stoops, the Crimson and Cream are still allowing an average of 27.9 points per game, which is scarcely better than Oklahoma State’s 29.9 mark. In terms of passing defense, the Sooners are actually slightly worse than their in-state rivals, allowing 247 yards per game as opposed to the Cowboys’ 245.1. Is that Tyron Johnson’s music?
While the Oklahoma defense will be keyed in on the Big 12’s breakout performer, Tylan Wallace, don’t forget that Johnson had four catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns against the Sooners last year. He’ll somehow be able to fly under the radar yet again this year. Expect a big game from him which should open up Wallace for some deep routes in the second half.
Oklahoma Player to Watch: Freshman Offensive Lineman Ian McIver
Nah, just kidding. It’s Kyler Murray. The dude has 31 passing touchdowns this year against just five interceptions, for an adjusted QBR of 96.8. He’s been bailing out a fairly porous defense because, more often than not, his team knows that he can win a shootout almost single-handedly. Regardless of how this game turns out, he’ll be a Heisman finalist. Here’s hoping he has a long and storied baseball career, but doesn’t win any college football trophies. Murray has already earned a $4.66 million signing bonus from the Athletics, so the Cowboys shouldn’t feel bad about trying to keep him out of paydirt.
The Cowboys have the talent to score against this Oklahoma defense. Barring a million penalties, they should score. it’s the whole “keeping the other team from scoring” thing I’m worried about. I’ll say Sooners 56-38. Prove me wrong, Gundy.