Baylor offense vs. Oklahoma defense
Baylor couldn’t get its rushing attack off the ground in last week’s 34-20 loss to Duke as it finished with just 57 yards on 27 carries. Under pressure all afternoon, Zach Smith hit just 12 of 34 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions. Oklahoma’s defense has been outstanding as it has limited opponents to 269.3 yards and 12.3 points per game in its 3-0 start. Baylor’s biggest problem is a young, ineffective offensive line which will be no match for Oklahoma’s big, physical defensive front.
Baylor defense vs. Oklahoma offense
Baylor’s defense has shown considerable improvement over the last two weeks as it held UTSA to 17 points and Duke to 27 (the Blue Devils also had an interception return for touchdown). The Bears collected five sacks against the Blue Devils but were vulnerable on the ground as Duke piled up 246 yards rushing and three scores. But the Sooners will be by far the most explosive offense the Bears have faced with Heisman Trophy contending quarterback Baker Mayfield and receivers Mark Andrews and CeeDee Lamb leading the way.
Key matchup: Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield vs. Baylor secondary
This isn’t even really fair. Mayfield propelled himself to the top of the Heisman race with a brilliant performance in Oklahoma’s 31-16 win over Ohio State two weeks ago. For the season, he’s been nearly flawless as he’s hit 76.8 percent of his passes for 1,046 yards and 10 touchdowns with no interceptions. Baylor will get a boost with the return of sophomore cornerback Grayland Arnold after he broke his arm in preseason camp. But Baylor’s secondary is still young and extremely vulnerable.
Baylor’s Drew Galitz earned the Ray Guy Award national punter of the week after averaging 51.4 yards on seven punts against Duke. Connor Martin has hit both of his field goal attempts but missed a PAT kick against Duke. Baylor’s kick and punt returns haven’t been productive so far. Oklahoma’s Austin Seibert has hit just one of two field goals and is averaging 37.5 yards on four punts. But with Oklahoma’s offense so explosive, Seibert hasn’t had to be on top of his game.
With their losses to Liberty and UTSA, the Bears have dropped four straight games at McLane Stadium dating back to last season. Now the Sooners roll into Waco on a major high and hopes of making the College Football Playoff. It seems like ages ago when Baylor beat the Sooners three of four games from 2011-14. Though the Bears lost the last two games to the Sooners, they were competitive. But Saturday’s game matches teams headed on quite opposite paths.