For the Sooners, though, a Bedlam victory gives them a chance to get in to the College Football Playoff. Even with a win, the Sooners chances are slim, yet, looking better by the day. There are plenty of different things OSU needs to do to win but here are three keys to tomorrow’s game.
OSU’s defense has feasted on turnovers this season, while the trend has been the opposite for OU’s offense. Many Sooner fans remember Jalen Hurts’ incredible strength against Texas in the Red River Rivalry on a play in which Hurts passed the ball from one hand to the other with a defender draped all over him.
Hurts, however, has had a turnover issue since then. The Texas win doesn’t look as good and the turnover issue is a rising concern. OSU will need a few turnovers to keep Hurts and wide receiver CeeDee Lamb off the field, and force the OU defense to sustain more drives.
2. Passing Game
Speaking of the OU defense, the group has its fair share of issues, but is much improved from years past. The Sooners will have their eyes on Chuba Hubbard, who leads the FBS in rushing, which means quarterback Dru Brown will need to have a big game. OSU’s offensive line will also need to have a good night. Hubbard doesn’t require a ton of space to make something special happen, but some help up front will be needed.
Brown will also need to spread the ball around. Dillon Stoner will likely be the main target again, but there will be holes in the OU secondary. It’s up to Brown to find them early and often.
3. Quarterback pressure
Hurts is slippery. He’s fast and elusive. And most of all, he’s hard to get to the ground. If OSU doesn’t get any pressure, it will be a long night for the Cowboys. The secondary won’t be able to cover Lamb forever, and even when he is covered, someone else is likely to be open. Hurts is excellent at improvising on the fly, though most of his turnovers come when he’s doing that.
This isn’t just on the defensive line though. The line might flush Hurts out, and that’s when the OSU defense will need Malcolm Rodriguez and the linebackers to come up and make a stop. Cowboy fans are used to seeing opposing quarterbacks scramble for 20 yards on third-and-15, and Hurts can do it with the best of them. The Cowboy defense needs to limit those plays.
Bonus: Overall playmaking
OSU has some lower-than-normal scoring games this season, but there will still be plenty of offense in this one. OU is going to have some big plays, as will OSU. This game will likely come down to the turnover battle on defense and how many explosive (50-plus yard) plays each team has on offense.