By Mack Burke
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Floyd Casey stadium hasn’t exactly inspired fear in the Sooner Nation over the years. The majority of OU’s meetings with Baylor in Waco have seen enough crimson in the stands to make it seem like a de facto neutral site game.
That wasn’t the case Thursday. Baylor fans began filing into the stadium in droves as soon as the gates opened and the blackout was in full force, with the exception of the student section, which stayed yellow. Dark black uniforms on the field, gold numbers and matte black head protectors. (The matte black helmet has seen an explosion on the college football uniform scene lately. Notable entries include Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Missouri, Oregon and Duke. Yeah, they play football, too.)
The Thursday game could be to blame, or, maybe the spread (Baylor -14), but the lonely crimson patches in the stands at Floyd Casey stadium pointed to a pointed change in the balance of power in the Big 12, or at least a balancing of powers in this budding rivalry.
Early run: Before the game, the Baylor student section stormed the field, sprinting from end zone to end zone in an attempt to either hype the crowd or invite the wrath of the football gods. By the end it didn’t matter but this still seems like taking pictures with the Stanley Cup before winning it.
Keys to the game: In the first quarter play-by-play, announcer Justin Kutcher and analyst Joel Klatt talked about the keys to the game. Their advice to Baylor: “Be yourself.” Good advice, as the Bears came into the game ranked first in points, scoring 63.9 per game, passing yards and eighth in rushing yards. For the Sooners the advice was aimed at defense and running game.
Channeling Mutumbo: After a big third down stop on Baylor’s second drive, redshirt freshman defensive back Zack Sanchez capped it off with a classic Dikembe Mutumbo-style finger wag after (Baylor quarterback’s) incompletion sailed out of the end zone. This should be in every defensive player’s trash talking arsenal. It’s timeless and transcendent in every sport.
Keep a lid on it: With five minutes left in the second quarter both offenses were posting similar numbers, with OU averaging 3.1 yards per play and Baylor averaging 3.5 yards per play. This stat was posted right after a wide crowd-panning shot that showed a Baylor fan sign reading “We’re going to win.” To that point at least the game was playing into OU’s low-scoring hands.
What are you supposed to be? With 11:45 left in the third, there was a nice costumed fan sighting. A Baylor fan sported a suit of orange pom poms from head to toe, capped off with metallic Oakley-style sunglasses and a green pom pom top. I don’t know what he was supposed to be, but he did end up on TV.
Bounce pass celebration: The Bears made it 31-5 with 8:14 left in the third quarter on a touchdown pass. Afterwards there was an awkward touchdown celebration between two Bears that involved a fake jumpshot, bounce pass and a sheepishly casual handoff to the referee. No flag.
End game: With 10:25 remaining in the fourth quarter and Baylor leading 34-12 the writing was on the wall. The camera hit a wide shot of the Baylor fans in unison at what looked like jazz hands but surely was the Baylor Bear claw.
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