NCAA Saturday Night Football: Oklahoma/Oklahoma State Preview

by Big Al Staff

The Saturday night college football showdown on ABC features the 2020 incarnation of Bedlam, with Oklahoma State and Oklahoma both ranked in the Associated Press Top-20.

Oklahoma State would be in the driver’s seat to play in the Big 12 championship game with a victory. The Cowboys rank 14th in the AP poll this week after their 20-18 win at Kansas State back on November 7th. Oklahoma State struggled to move the ball against the Wildcats as they only gained 256 yards. The Cowboys got outgained by 114 net yards but used a +2 net turnover margin, including an 85-yard fumble recovery midway in the 4th quarter, to earn the victory. They are now 5-1 this season, with their lone loss being a 41-34 setback to Texas.

Several injuries slowed down Oklahoma State in that game, with running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace dealing with injuries that limited their production. Three injuries to starters on their offensive line have left head coach Mike Gundy has to start two freshmen on the line. The bye week came at a fortuitous time, yet both Hubbard and Wallace did not practice midweek. 

The Cowboys have 17 starters back from the team that finished 8-5 with a 24-21 loss to Texas A&M in the Texas Bowl. Sophomore Spencer Sanders has completed 67.7% of his passes for 766 yards in just over three games in a season slowed by injuries in September. He has thrown five touchdowns, but his three interceptions in 93 pass attempts raise concerns from the 11 interceptions he tossed last season. The Oklahoma State defense is improved, with ten starters along with 12 of the top 13 tacklers back from last season. The Cowboys are holding their opponents to only 17.8 points-per-game along with 311.7 yards-per-game.

Oklahoma opened the season with consecutive losses to Kansas State and Iowa State. The Sooners have since rattled off four straight victories culminating with their 62-9 win against Kansas on November 7th. Freshman quarterback Spencer Rattler completed 15 of 27 passes for 212 yards with a touchdown pass and another rushing touchdown. For the season, he is completing 67.8% of his passes for 2018 yards with 18 touchdown passes and six interceptions. Rattler is leading an offense that is scoring 46.1 points-per-game while averaging 515.0 yards-per-game. Running back Rhamondre Stevenson has rushed for 191 yards in his two games this season since returning to action with an 8.0 yards-per-carry average. Oklahoma has scored 124 points in those two games, albeit against Texas Tech and the Jayhawks.

Head coach Lincoln Riley has 16 starters back from the group that finished 12-2 after losing to LSU in the college football seminals by a 63-38 score. Riley led his team to the playoffs in all three of his seasons in Lincoln, but he has yet to win a playoff game. A victory against their in-state rivals keeps their hopes alive to play in the Big 12 championship game. AP ranks them 18th in the nation.
 
Oklahoma won last year’s version of Bedlam by a 34-16 score as a 14.5-point favorite. Oklahoma State remained competitive for much of that game despite not having the services of either Sanders or Wallace, who had suffered season-ending injuries. Gundy’s Cowboys have only defeated the Sooners twice since he took over the program in 2005.

BetAnySports lists Oklahoma as a 7-point favorite with the total set at 59. The ABC broadcast begins at 7:30 PM ET.

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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