WACO, TX – After a win against the high-powered Texas Tech offense and a bye week, the Oklahoma Sooners are ready for one of its toughest challenges this year.
While the OU defense was able to put the Texas Tech offense away, it will have to be at its best on Thursday as it faces the fifth-ranked Baylor Bears.
Two weeks ago, the defense held the Red Raiders below their season passing average and to under 100 yards rushing.
Analysts say that same effort needs to be made this week to defeat yet another unbeaten.
Sooner coaches say the defense needs to put the stop on one of the best offenses in the country in order to come away with a win.
Baylor’s offense is first in the nation in scoring offense, racking up 63 points per game.
The Bears are also first in the country in total offense, gaining 718 yards per game, and 417 of those yards are through the air.
In fact, whenever Baylor looks down field, it usually results in a first down.
This season, Baylor averages 13.3 yards per pass attempt.
Quarterback Bryce Petty’s favorite targets are wide receivers Tevin Reese and Antwan Goodley, who are tied for the conference lead in touchdown catches.
Defensive coaches say the defense is focused on tipping passes, creating stops on third downs and forcing turnovers.
The game will really be in the hands of the OU secondary, led by cornerback Aaron Colvin.
Gabe Lynn will also be expected to break up a few passes after he had one interception in the last game against Texas Tech.
Lynn also led the defense with nine tackles, followed by Quentin Hayes and freshmen Zack Sanchez and Jordan Evans in that game.
While the secondary will be responsible for keeping track of some of Baylor’s best receivers, the defensive line will try to disrupt Baylor QB Bryce Petty.
Eric Striker, Charles Tapper and Chuka Ndulue will have their eyes on the pocket and hope to create a rift in Petty’s protection.
If the defense is able to take care of business, the Oklahoma offense must find a way to score against an aggressive Baylor defense.
Analysts say quarterback Blake Bell should find a rhythm early with receivers Jalen Saunders, Sterling Shepard and running back Damien Williams.
Offensive coaches are also pulling Trey Franks back into the mix after spending a bit of time on the defensive side of the ball.
Franks’ speed and agility will hopefully give the Sooners the advantage and provide an easy target for Bell when he is under pressure.
OU is the first ranked opponent Baylor has faced this season.
The Bears have not lost a game since last year’s battle against the Sooners.
The game is slated for Thursday in Waco.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. and the game will be televised on Fox Sports 1.