Sooners Vs. Cowboys Pregame: Breaking it Down

OU defensive end Jeremy Beal

Sooners Illustrated digs deeper into this weekend's big contest between No. 13 OU and No. 9 OSU.

The Matchup:

Historically, OU has dominated this series, owning it 81-16-7, including a 34-6-5 lead in Stillwater. But this year, the Cowboys bring a different team into the Bedlam battle. They are a very dangerous 10-1 squad with an explosive offense featuring a talented trio of quarterback Brandon Weeden, running back Kendall Hunter and wide receiver Justin Blackmon. Winners of four straight following their only loss of the season, a 51-41 decision against Nebraska, OSU has all kinds of momentum. But OU has some momentum of its own, winning two straight in convincing fashion after struggling at Texas A&M. The offense has been clicking on all cylinders, and the defense has played solidly as of late.

OU players to watch:

1. WR Ryan Broyles--The Sooner star slot receiver has racked up more than 1,300 yards and 12 touchdowns on 106 receptions. That's good for an average of 119.0 yards per game. In this contest, Broyles will likely be fighting it out with Blackmon for the Biletnikoff Award, and outshining Blackmon by having more of those numbers will not only boost his chances there, but will give OU a huge opportunity to steal this one on the road.

2. DE Jeremy Beal--A lot of emphasis has been put on the secondary locking up Blackmon, but it all starts up front. If the Sooners can pressure Weeden, he won't be able to get the ball out to him as fast. And that pressure all starts with the veteran Beal. He must have a huge game.

OU will win if: It can shut down one of the "big three" offensive players for the Cowboys and make them one dimensional. And it will likely be the run game and Hunter. OU head coach Bob Stoops said he plans on cutting off the rushing attack first, and doing so would pay great dividends towards shutting down the aerial attack.

OSU players to watch:

1. WR Justin Blackmon--To say he's been great would almost be an understatement. Blackmon has been superb in 2010, with 94 receptions for 1,560 yards and 17 touchdowns. And that's even with missing a game. He's averaging 156 receiving yards per game and is also eyeing the Biletnikoff Award.

2. LB Orie Lemon--He has boosted the OSU defense big time this year, leading the team with 107 tackles, including nine tackles for loss, which also leads Cowboys. And 2.5 of those were sacks. Lemon also has three passes broken up, a pair of fumble recoveries and a quarterback hurry.

OSU will win if:It can get the running game going early and often. There's been so much talk about Blackmon, but Hunter is really an X-factor in this contest. If the Cowboys gash through the Sooner defense in a similar manner as Missouri was able to, Weeden will be able to have similar success to Mizzou quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

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