Bedlam Vitals: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

Monday, November 28th 2011, 10:15 pm
By: News 9

Corey DeMoss & Gerald Goodridge,

No. 8 Oklahoma Sooners (9-2, 6-2) at No. 3 Oklahoma State Cowboys (10-1, 7-1)
7 p.m., Dec. 3
Boone Pickens Stadium; Stillwater, Oklahoma

Statistical Leaders:

  Oklahoma Oklahoma State
Passing Landry Jones
312/487, 4,052 yards, 28 TDs, 12 INTs
Brandon Weeden
355/486, 4,111 yards, 34 TDs, 12 INTs
Rushing Dominique Whaley
113 carries, 627 yards, 9 TDs
Joseph Randle
179 carries, 1,032 yards, 21 TDs
Receiving Ryan Broyles
83 catches, 1,157 yards, 10 TDs
Justin Blackmon
103 catches, 1,241 yards, 15 TDs

Injury Report:

Oklahoma: WR Jaz Reynolds (day-to-day, shoulder); DE Ronnell Lewis (day-to-day, knee); K Jimmy Stevens (day-to-day, quadriceps); WR Ryan Broyles (out, knee); RB Dominique Whaley (out, ankle); TE Austin Haywood (out, personal).

Oklahoma State: WR Michael Harrison (day-to-day, ankle); WR Hubert Anyiam (out, foot); OL Jonathan Rush (out, knee); CB Devin Hedgepeth (out, Achilles); FS Johnny Thomas (out, academics).

Where to find it…

On Radio
: Sooner Radio Network; Cowboy Radio Network

What you need to know…

It's a simple scenario for the Oklahoma State Cowboys: win in Bedlam and you claim your first outright conference championship since 1926 and make your first-ever BCS Bowl. OSU is having the most successful season in history, set to break all of the records it set just a year ago.

The Cowboys have been an offensive machine this season, ranking second nationally with 49.8 points per game, and have scored at least 59 points five times this season. Defensively, Oklahoma State has had trouble giving up big yardage, but has made a living by forcing turnovers. OSU leads the nation in turnovers forced with 37, including 21 interceptions, and sits second in turnover margin with a 1.45 differential.

Oklahoma has sputtered in recent weeks, particularly after losing running back Dominique Whaley and receiver Ryan Broyles to season-ending injuries. The Sooners suffered an upset loss to Baylor and then committed four turnovers against Iowa State.

OU will have to get its offense back on track in Bedlam. In a game that could turn into a shootout, turnovers likely will be the determining factor.

Who you need to watch…

Oklahoma State quarterback Brandon Weeden has gone from a third-string option to a record setting quarterback with an outside shot at winning the Heisman Trophy. His 4,111 passing yards is the second highest single-season total in school history, and he holds the school's career record by more than 300 yards. If Weeden can pull off a win, he will add perhaps the final feather in his cap, the first Bedlam win in nearly a decade.

It's easy to see the Cowboys' passing attack, but the balance provided by the running game and sophomore Joseph Randle. His 1,042 yards rank 19th for a single season in Oklahoma State's history and could move into the top 15 with an average game against Oklahoma. In the loss to Iowa State, Randle touched the ball just 10 times for 49 yards, while OSU attempted nearly 60 passes.

Disrupting the pass game will be key for the Cowboys' pass defense, and that responsibility falls on senior defensive ends Jamie Blatnick and Richetti Jones. Blatnick leads the team with seven sacks, while Jones sits in second with three, and the pair has combined for 16 tackles for loss.

The story is much the same for the Sooners. The key on defense will be their ability to put pressure on Weeden. In their two losses to Texas Tech and Baylor, they failed to get consistent pressure and the opposing quarterback picked them apart. But if OU can collapse the pocket around Weeden, it will force him into making quick throws and help mitigate Justin Blackmon's advantage on the outside.

On offense, the Sooners will have to utilize a balanced attack with the run and pass. With an offense as dangerous as OSU's, the best way to beat it is to keep it off the field entirely. So OU will need to establish the run early and mount some long drives to keep Weeden on the sidelines.

Landry Jones also will need to continue spreading the ball to as many different receivers as possible. With Ryan Broyles out, Jones no longer has a true go-to receiver. But if he can keep his running backs and tight ends involved in the passing game, it will prevent the OSU secondary from keying on particular players and breaking on passes.