#9 Oklahoma Sooner (8-1) vs #12 Baylor Bears (9-0)
A Big 12 Showdown.
Going back at least to 2013, it has been the defensive struggles that have held the Sooners back from reaching a national championship. With a shoot-out loss to Kansas State this year (Oct 26), it was again a porous defense. The question simply will be can Oklahoma’s defense slow down the Baylor offense?
Coach: Lincoln Riley
Oklahoma Players to watch
Senior QB Jalen Hurts (6-2/218)
When Jalen Hurts announced his transfer from Alabama to Oklahoma it didn’t seem possible that he could make Kyler Murray a distant memory, but 12 weeks into the college football season, Hurts is neck-and-neck with LSU’s Joe Burrow for the Heisman Trophy. Burrow has 93 more attempts than Hurts, but Hurts only trails Burrow in passing yardage by a mere 456 total yards. In other words, Hurts is gain a little more than two and a half yards than Burrow every time he completes a pass.
Hurts also has 869 yards rushing and 15 touchdowns on the ground, averaging 6.95 yards on 125 attempts.
*Junior WR CeeDee Lamb (6-2/194)
Last year, Lamb and Marquise Brown became the first OK receiving tandem to top 1,000+ yards in a season. Lamb finished the year strong, put up 167 yards in the Big 12 Championship game. Lamb, currently ranks in the top 10, nationally, in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. Lamb has the quickness and speed that makes him dangerous in the open field. Against Kansas State, Lamb caught a simple bubble screen, out-ran defenders across the field, then turned up-field, split the defenders and raced in for a 70 yard touchdown. He’s good and Baylor will need to shut him down if they hope to win. Lamb was recently named to the 2019 AP Midseason All-America Team.
*Junior MLB Kenneth Murray (6-2/242)
Junior middle linebacker Kenneth Murray is one of the biggest differences in this defense from previous ones. Players and coaches feel there’s an enforcer at that position, something that has lacked. The fact Murray is playing at a high level — the Associated Press put him on its midseason All-America second team on Tuesday — is helping back up his vocal leadership the past two seasons. “Just realizing what it took to play great football in the first place. That preparation, that time we put in,” Murray said of maintaining this level of play. “Understanding that we can’t cheat the process if we want to play well. That’s really just the message: not cheating the process.”
Senior NT Neville Gallimore (6-2/330)
Gallimore is a protypical nose tackle with plenty of girth and lower-body strength. He shows good leg drive and can split double teams with a decent swim move. He’s a natural block shedder with active hands. He works well laterally down the line of scrimmage well, always looking for the ball. Gallimore flashes impressive explosiveness early in games and has shown good hustle to the ball, but tends to loose explosiveness as the game wears on. “He can be a dominant player,” Oklahoma defensive line coach Calvin Thibodeaux said in August, one year after he said Gallimore was “just as talented as a Tommie Harris.” “You see flashes. He’s just got to do it consistently.”
Coach: Matt Rhule
Baylor Players to watch:
*Junior DE James Lynch (6-4/285)
Lynch was named to the 2019 AP Mid-Season All-American Team. Lynch is a physical athlete with a knack at getting in the opponent’s backfield. He has 12.5 tackles-for-loss and 8.5 sacks, so far this season. Offenses are now keying on Lynch, which makes him a factor in every play, if he’s the one making the play or not. Lynch is now just half a sack shy of the all-time Baylor career sack record set by Shawn Oakman (17.5 sacks) in 2015. And he could very easily break Oakman’s single season record of 11.0 set in 2014.
Senior DT Bravvion Roy (6-1/330)
In Week 10, Baylor defensive tackle Bravvion Roy blocked a late field goal attempt by West Virginia to seal the win (17-14) for the #12 ranked Bears. It’s the ninth time the Bears have blocked a kick in their past 12 games. Roy, a senior defensive tackle from Spring, Texas, was named an AP Midseason 2nd team All-American; he is easily one of the strongest players on the team. Has played in 37 games with 17 starts in his career. Roy has 37 total tackles and 7.5 tfl’s so far this year.
*Junior QB Charlie Brewer (6-1/210)
Brewer has been the backbone of Baylor’s rebuilding under HC Matt Rhule. Brewer was a state champion and highly decorated prep passer, yet, Power 5 programs didn’t come running to Brewer. Coming from a family of quarterbacks (in addition to his brother, his father, grandfather and uncle all played quarterback at Texas), Brewer wanted to prove himself at the Big 12 level. ” We got bigger and stronger,” Brewer said. “Year 1 to Year 2, we looked like a bigger football team, and we just played better football. You could just see the improvement that we made.” Now Brewer is on the cusp of leading Baylor to a Big 12 Championship, one game at a time. This week’s challenge will be Baylor’s most difficult.
**Sophomore MLB Terrel Bernard (6-1/220)
Baylor’s defense is only giving up 18 point per game. Middle linebacker, Clay Johnston had a lot to do with that – he was leading the team in solo tackles (35) and total tackles (58). However, Johnston was lost for the season with a knee injury against Tech Tech (Oct. 12). How do you replace your star linebacker? How about promoting a player that wins Big 12 player of the week. That is what the Bears did with Terrel Bernard. Bernard played a good game racking up a career high nine tackles against Ok St. In that same game, Bernard also scooped up a fumble and ran in into the endzone. Since then, he’s had 29 tackles in the last two games.
McLane Stadium – Artificial Turf
Nov. 16 | Waco, Texas
*Note: Rankings are based on the CFP (College Football Playoff Rankings).