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Oklahoma begins its stretch run of the season with a contest at Baylor. The Bears enter Saturday’s game at 7-2 (4-2 Big 12 conference) and looking to keep their conference championship hopes alive.
OU can actually punch its ticket to the Big 12 championship game with a win combined with an Iowa State loss at Texas Tech.
Oklahoma’s offense rolls into this game against Baylor after hanging 52 points on Texas Tech. The Bears present a stiffer challenge than the Red Raiders, though.
Baylor is the best scoring defense Oklahoma will have seen to date. The Bears rank No. 27 nationally in that department. Without further ado, let’s take a look at three Sooners to watch on offense.
Quarterback Caleb Williams
The true freshman has taken the Big 12 conference and the nation by storm since taking over Oklahoma’s signal-calling duties. Williams became just the third quarterback in OU history to pass for six touchdowns or more without an interception in a single game as Oklahoma trounced Texas Tech, 52-21.
The Washington, D.C., native connected on 23-of-30 passing attempts and finished with 402 passing yards versus the Red Raiders. In his two home starts, Williams has 10 touchdown passes and 697 passing yards.
Of course, the one half Williams struggled did come on the road at Kansas when the Sooners were held scoreless in the first half against the Jayhawks, so that’s of note heading into Williams’ second career road start.
Sooner fans should expect another big day through the air for Williams, but it’s what he can do with his feet in the running game that might have the Baylor coaching staff pulling their hair out.
Just last week TCU quarterback Chandler Morris carried it 11 times for 70 yards against the Bears. Earlier this season, Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders rushed for 76 yards and West Virginia backup quarterback Garrett Greene carried it 10 times for 55 yards versus Baylor.
Williams already has three 40-plus touchdown runs on the season, so he’ll be a factor in the run game for Oklahoma. That could spell trouble for Baylor.
Running back Kennedy Brooks
Dave Aranda and Baylor are known to mix up defensive looks, bring different pressures and will do their best to try to confuse Williams. That means that Kennedy Brooks will be important in the pass protection game as well as the run game.
Lost in translation of Williams and OU carving up Tech’s defense like a Thanksgiving turkey was the fact that the Sooners didn’t run it as well as they would have liked to against the Red Raiders.
Brooks finished with just eight carries for 35 rushing yards. As a team, Oklahoma wound up with 72 rushing yards against Tech. The strength of Baylor’s defense is its ability to stop the run. Baylor is No. 35 nationally, surrendering only 126.6 rushing yards per game.
It will be a great sign for the Sooners’ chances against Baylor and the rest of the way if OU can line up and run the football successfully with Brooks and Eric Gray against a pretty good rushing defense.
Wide receiver Mario Williams
Talk about a breakout performance. Williams was a known commodity for the Sooners before his performance against Texas Tech, but explosive plays down the field really hadn’t been.
The Tampa, Fla., product had himself a day against the Red Raiders, hauling in five passes for 100 yards. Williams had a 22-yard touchdown reception and another 36-yard reception.
Williams now has 29 grabs for 319 yards and three touchdowns in 2021. The next step for the freshman is to stack good performances together.
There should be opportunities for he and the rest of Oklahoma’s wide receivers, too. TCU’s Chandler Morris scorched the Baylor secondary last week with 461 passing yards.
The Bears rank 81st nationally in passing yards allowed per game. Opponents average 237.8 passing yards per game against Baylor. It should be an area Oklahoma can expose and Williams is a good bet to be one of the Sooners’ recipients of that mismatch.