NORMAN — The only thing that didn’t blow out of Owen Field on Saturday was Oklahoma’s BCS hopes. It managed to keep corralling them every time a gust of wind, or another run Baylor quarterback Nick Florence or running back Lache Seastrunk, put them in jeopardy.
The 14th-ranked Sooners’ 42-36 victory over the Bears meant on holding on for dear life on a windy afternoon.
The day started out tough enough. OU was without All-American center Gabe Ikard due to a concussion and started true freshman Ty Darlington in his place. The wind roared at over 30 miles an hour from the time the teams first trotted out on the field to warm up. There was also the matter of slowing Baylor’s prolific offense.
OU handled two of the three well. The last one was the problem.
The Sooners’ defensive game plans generally start with shutting down a team’s running game and then working from there.
Saturday was different. OU was content to let Baylor run the ball out of its spread formations.
“Some of the teams that spread it out anymore, you have to be aware what you’re asking your guys to do coverage wise,” OU coach Bob Stoops said. “People are too precise in throwing the football to do it the old way.”
The Bears showed that when Robert Griffin III threw for 485 yards when they upset the Sooners last season.
Griffin wasn’t around on Saturday. They weren’t going to let a 400-yard passing game come back either.
At times, OU (7-2, 5-1 Big 12) replaced all its linebackers with defensive backs and left a 20-yard gap between the defensive line and the safeties.
The Bears found the space in the second quarter and exploited it the rest of the game.
It started in the second quarter. The Sooners led 14-3 and had the Bears reeling. Then Florence found the gap on consecutive quarterback draws with the second run ending with a 5-yard touchdown.