The Norman Transcript

OU Football

November 6, 2013

Big time matchups

NORMAN — Five years ago, few would’ve thought there would ever be a top 10 matchup with major BCS implications occurring at Baylor’s Floyd Casey Stadium. Few of them would have figured Oklahoma would enter that game as two-touchdown underdog.

Well, it’s arrived. The Sooners are about to play a game in which they must play virtually flawless to win. There will be some important matchups that decide today’s game. Here are five:

Baylor’s running backs vs. Oklahoma’s linebackers: I think this is where the game will be decided. Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk and Shock Linwood both average a combined 8.8 yards per carry. The biggest reason is the way the Bears spread the field with their receivers and force teams to stop the run with their defensive line and linebackers. There’s a chance OU middle linebacker Frank Shannon won’t play due to a deep tissue bruise he suffered against Texas Tech. If that’s the case, OU will have true freshman Dominique Alexander and Jordan Evans at the inside linebacker spots. But how the linebackers play will likely be the determining factor in today’s game. Each missed tackle has the chance to turn into a touchdown. The talent of Baylor’s running backs doesn’t leave much margin for error.

OU quarterback Blake Bell vs. Baylor’s secondary: Bell has the opportunity to have a huge game. He’s already rushed for five touchdowns in two previous games against the Bears. Today, he’ll have the chance to throw some touchdown passes, too. The Sooners want to run the ball and then throw play-action passes down field. The plan worked well against Texas Tech. There’s little reason to change against the Bears. This game will likely come down to big plays. The Sooners receivers are good enough to make them. It’s up to Bell to give them opportunities they need.

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