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Game Scout: Oklahoma at Baylor

The SportsXchange

KICKOFF: Thursday, 7:30 p.m. ET

GAMEDATE: 11/7/13

SITE: Floyd Casey Stadiu, Waco, Texas

TV: Fox Sports 1

SERIES: Baylor won one of 22 previous meetings with Oklahoma, but that one win came in 2011 in the last time the two teams played in Waco. QB Robert Griffin III just might have won his Heisman that night when he took the Bears on a last-minute touchdown drive in a 45-38 win. The Sooners won 42-34 in Norman last year.

BCS RANKINGS: Baylor 6th, Oklahoma 10th

KEYS TO THE GAME

Anticipation for the upcoming game against Oklahoma is building toward an all-time high at Baylor.

The school announced Monday it is removing the tarp that covers the south end zone seats of Floyd Casey Stadium, opening up about 3,500 general admission seats for Thursday night.

Fans are clamoring for the black Baylor t-shirts recognizing the program.

"When you go into the Student Union Building you see everyone in line trying to get those black shirts," senior guard Cyril Richardson said. "It's crazy and fun, but we've got a job to worry about and we are going to be focused on that during the whole week."

Senior running back Glasco Martin agreed.

"Honestly, this is the most buzz I have ever seen on campus," Martin said. "Everybody's tweeting about it and buying the shirts. The SUB is always crowded.

"It shows that the fans really support us and what we are trying to do this year. That's going to energize us and get us ready to play."

The 7-0 Bears will take an 11-game winning streak into the game against the Sooners, who are 7-1 and without a doubt the biggest challenge yet for Baylor.

"We know what we've got in front of us," senior linebacker Eddie Lackey said. "We're playing another Top 10 team in the country. We know it's Oklahoma and we're motivated. We're really excited.

"We know it's a big game. I think you can just tell in the locker room it's a different kind of week. We're ready to get out there. We're still treating it the same way, it's just everybody's even more excited now."

While the Sooners have dominated the series, the past two games have been decided by one socre, and nobody expects the Bears to be the team to flinch on their home field in a national TV game.

Baylor is the team with BCS title aspirations, while a loss to Texas has Oklahoma looking for the best bowl bid possible.

Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said that Baylor's high-powered offense is a challenge that he hopes his squad is ready to handle. The Sooners finished the 2012 season giving up big yards to West Virginia and Oklahoma State to end the conference season and then to Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl. This past offseason, Stoops revamped the defense to include five defensive backs and only three down linemen. He hopes the warm-up against Texas Tech in a victory on Oct. 26 was good preparation.

"We did it for most of the teams we see in our league," Stoops said of the alteration of the defense. "We just saw it with Tech, and Baylor is also a part of that. We felt it gave us more versatility. It played to our strengths better, and it put more speed on the field. Hopefully, it will continue to help us."

Baylor leads the nation in total offense and passing offense, precipitating the extra defensive back. But the Bears also can run the ball. They are seventh in the country in rushing yards per game, led by Lache Seastrunk, who is averaging better than 124 yards per game.

"At the end of the day, there's only so much you can do," Stoops said. "You have to be able to play. You've got to be able to cover them out there, and you've got to be able to stop the run game with what's left in here."

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Sooners

--QB Blake Bell probably can't outplay Baylor's Bryce Petty, so he should focus on running the offense according to plan. The Sooners do not have a smash-mouth offense either, but the best way to keep Petty and the Bears' offense from scoring is to keep them off the field.

--RB Brennan Clay will not have his lead blocker, Trey Millard, who tore his left ACL in the victory over Texas Tech. Clay will have to find his own holes in the Baylor defense.

--DB Aaron Colvin and his mates in the secondary will need a big game to contain the Baylor passing game. Originally a question mark at the beginning of the season because of inexperience, the OU secondary is now a strength. This will be the biggest test so far.

--WR Lacoltan Bester is one of 10 FBS players who have thrown a touchdown pass, caught a touchdown pass and run for a touchdown this season. He recorded his rushing touchdown against Texas Tech on a called option pass, but he pulled it down and ran it in from 35 yards out.

Bears

--RB Lache Seastrunk isn't the only threat the Bears have in the backfield, but at the moment, he is the biggest. He is averaging just over 124 yards a game rushing, which ranks ninth nationally among FBS teams and leads the Big 12.

--WR Antwan Goodley is having a banner season. He ranks among the conference leaders in receptions per game (5.4) and leads in receiving yards per game (127.7) and is tied for the team lead in touchdown catches with senior WR Tevin Reese (8).

--DE Shaw Oakley has lived up to the promise of delivering big plays to the defense. The sophomore leads the Big 12 in tackles for loss with a dozen (11 solo, 2 assists).

--LB Bryce Hager leads Baylor and is fifth in the Big 12 in total tackles with 58. He also has a 91-yard return of a recovered fumble.
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