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OSU FOOTBALL: Cowboys seek to end Baylor’s three-game win streak
The Cowboys must corral Baylor’s two best receivers Chris Platt, center, and Denzel Mims, right, to end their three-game skid to the Bears.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph has beaten every Big 12 Conference foe except one—Baylor. He gets another shot at the Bears (0-5, 0-2 Big 12) at 2:30 p.m. Saturday (FS1) in Stillwater. After taking a week off, the No. 14 Cowboys (4-1, 1-1) return for Homecoming.

Rudolph is 0-3 against Baylor, and he hasn’t performed well against the Bears. In the last three meetings, all Baylor victories, the senior signal-caller has completed 56 percent passing with 5 TDs and 3 INTs. He was sacked 13 times and fumbled once. So, it seems like the Bears might ramp up the sack attack again this week.

Baylor has 11 sacks this year coming from six different players and nose tackle Ira Lewis leads with 2.5. The Bears have only one interception and have forced four fumbles. The defense is one of the worst in the country allowing 36.2 points (112th nationally) and 471.8 yards (116th) per game. Linebacker Clay Johnston leads BU with 43 tackles.

The offense found holes in Oklahoma’s defense three weeks ago in a 49-41 loss. Last week, the Bears played Kansas State close for most of the game—trailing 27-20 early in the fourth quarter. The Wildcats finished them off with a couple of field goals down the stretch.

Receiver Denzel Mims is a potent weapon with 25 receptions for 533 yards and 7 TDs. Chris Platt has 5 TD receptions, and he leads the team with 25.1 yards per grab. Zach Smith has completed 55 percent passing with 8 TDs and 5 picks. The running game is the weakest component at 118.4 yards per outing. The Bears average 27.2 points (80th) and 404.8 (72nd) yards a game.

OSU must shut down Mims and Platt if they want to send the Homecoming crowd home with a smile. The Pokes have been a little shaky recently on defense by allowing a combined 78 points in its last two games. They’ve allowed 233.6 passing yards per game (81st) this year but have yet to give up more than 100 yards to any receiver in one game. The Cowboys are 64th in points (26 average), and 54th in yards (369.6) allowed.

The Pokes got a hard-fought victory (41-34) victory over Texas Tech two weeks ago in Lubbock. Rudolph threw for 376 yards, three touchdowns, and one pick. Justice Hill picked up a career-high 164 yards on the ground and scored his only TD on a 5-yard pass from Rudolph. Receiver James Washington led the receiving corps with 9 catches for 127 yards and a score. Both teams were knotted at 34 midway through the fourth period, but O-State marched 9 yards in six plays for the win. Rudolph capped the drive with a 16-yard quarterback keeper, his second score both after a fake handoff to Hill both times.

Baylor struggles against the pass as the Bears have given up an average of 237.6 yards (86th), so they will have their work cut out with one of the best passing teams in the country. OSU ranks second with 399.2 yards per game through the airwaves. Washington is second nationally with 647 yards (28 receptions) this year. Five other receivers have double-digit receptions, so Rudolph has many weapons at his disposal.

The Pokes also rank second in scoring (46.8 average) and total yards (583.4).

Special teams could be a huge factor in this contest. Baylor’s best player appears to be punter Drew Galitz, who ranks 13th overall with a 45.2 average. Six of his kicks have been at least 50 yards or more. One sailed 70 yards a few weeks ago against Duke.

OSU’s Zach Sinor, who began the season with a self-Heisman promotion, is averaging 42 yards per boot, but less than 42.8 a year ago.

Matt Ammendola has been perfect by hitting all 30 of his PATs this year, but 8 of 12 field goal attempts. He missed a couple of chip shots (22 and 18 yards) against the Red Raiders. Both kicks clanged off the uprights.

Baylor’s Connor Martin has nailed all but one of his 15 PAT attempts and eight of his 10 field goal tries.

The biggest question mark for Baylor is how much fight do the Bears have after a winless start? Do they have enough pride to try for a steal in Stillwater?

Three of BU's losses have been decided by just one possession, including the eight-point loss to Oklahoma. The Bears have only been outscored by an average of 9.0 points per game. So, they’ve been close but no cigar.For the Cowboys, the big question is the health of center Brad Lundblade, who has been nursing a sprained ankle suffered in the Tech game. Lundblade being healthy is a crucial factor for OSU’s offensive success this week, for Mason Rudolph to get the monkey, er Bears, off his back in his quest for a first win over Baylor.


Fast Facts

*OSU leads the series 19-16, including three straight losses.

*OSU leads12-5 in Stillwater.

*OSU is favored by 25.5.

*OSU coach Mike Gundy’s record: 108-51 (.679) overall; 7-5 vs, BU; 61-20 at home; 64-40 vs. Big 12 opponents.

*BU coach Matt Rhule’s record: 28-28 (.500) overall; at BU: 0-5; 0-2 on the road; 0-2 vs. Bug 12 foes.

*OSU owns a 52-36-7 record in homecoming games, including wins in eight of the last 10.

*BU has visited Stillwater three times before on homecoming and left each time with a loss.

*OSU is 5-6 in games played on October 14.

*BU is 5-9-1 in games played on October 14.

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Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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