Setting the stage: No. 10 OU at No. 6 Baylor
Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk
Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk
Sooners Illustrated
Posted Nov 7, 2013


How will Thursday's showdown between Baylor and OU shake out? Breaking it all down.

SoonersIllustrated.com is going to set the stage every week breaking down Oklahoma’s game during the 2013 season.

No. 10 Oklahoma (7-1, 4-1) at No. 6 Baylor (7-0, 4-0)

When: 6:30 p.m. CST

OU’s biggest question going into the game

Is this the game OU finally gets off to a good start? It has to be. Sometimes you can make up for a bad start because of a home crowd. OU certainly wasn’t firing on all cylinders against Texas Tech, but the crowd kept it in it until it found its footing.

There is no time to find footing in what should be the most raucous Baylor crowd in school history. OU’s offense must tally up the yards, and more importantly, must tally up the points.

“We executed well on the first play a week ago and then we jumped offsides, and we’re behind the chains,” offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. “It’s not any one guy. It’s everyone taking their turn at it. We just need to perform better early in the game, getting the flow right away.”

How that’s going to be done while also trying to replace Trey Millard is the biggest mystery for the offense. Millard tore his ACL and is out for the season, but the Sooners are going to have to find a way to maintain that running success without Millard in the lineup.

If OU plays this game behind the chains, strong chance it gets out of hand in a hurry.

Baylor’s biggest question going into the game

Will the Bears be able to handle the big stage? We know the names. Quarterback Bryce Petty has been nearly flawless. Running back Lache Seastrunk has been as effective as everybody thought.

But they’ve never seen a game like. Baylor, in its history in the Big 12, has not seen a game like this. A Thursday night national spotlight. Are the Bears contenders or pretenders?

“We’re looking forward to it,” OU sophomore wide receiver Sterling Shepard said. “There aren’t a lot of other games going on so everybody is going to be watching us. It’s a great opportunity.”

It’s nothing new for the Sooners. Playing in major marquee games is par for the course when you sign for OU. Baylor wants to get to that point. Thursday night could help in that cause.

The game is so big that Baylor’s tarp has been removed to allow for more seating. It’s going to be crazier than ever, but will that be a good thing for the Bears?

Quotable

“This is the time of the year when you feel your seniors every day. They lose another game every week for their college career, and they don’t have much, so it means a lot. Jalen Saunders you can really feel that it’s his last few games, and it means a lot to him and he wants to go out on top, so those seniors have to lead us with their passion and you always remember the games in November.” – OU wide receivers coach Jay Norvell

Breakout player

For the first time picking somebody not with the Sooners. Levi Norwood is an accomplished receiver for the Bears, but I’m looking for him to make something happen on special teams. He already has one punt return for a touchdown, and OU’s special teams have made a lot of mistakes in the last month. A special teams play by Norwood swings this toward Baylor’s advantage.

Prediction

Baylor 41, OU 32. The Sooners defense comes out early and fares well against Petty, but the Bears make the necessary adjustments in the second half. OU unable to go score-for-score in a shootout isn’t able to pull off the upset although Blake Bell does play well. A special teams play in the third quarter swings the tide of the game.



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