Bedlam 2021: Oklahoma at Oklahoma State

Bedlam will descend upon Stillwater, Oklahoma on Saturday as the annual battle between arch-rivals #10 Oklahoma (10-1) and #7 Oklahoma State (10-1) rages on. The Sooners have a 17-4 record in the series since 2000, and they have won the last six meetings.

But in this year’s dust-up, things could be different.


The Cowboys are Rolling


The Cowboys are on a 4-game winning streak, and the defense has allowed just 23 points total over those four contests.

QB Spencer Sanders leads the offense (31 points/game) on the field. He has passed for 1989 yards, 15 touchdowns, and 6 INTs. He has also added 417 rushing yards and five TDs on the ground.

Last week in a 23-0 win over Texas Tech, Sanders passed for 239 yards and one touchdown, and he added a rushing touchdown. His lone TD pass went to freshman WR John Paul Richardson. Richardson finished the game with 6 catches for 41 yards. It was his second touchdown catch of the season.

Sanders’s primary targets this season have been Tay Martin (54 catches, 765 yards, 6 TDs) and Brennan Presley (35 catches, 406 yards, and 5 TDs.)

RB Jaylen Warren is the leader in the ground game, gaining 1078 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Difference?

Jim Knowles has been the Defensive Coordinator for Oklahoma State since 2018. He is the mad scientist that has turned the Cowboys’ defense into a monster. Their rankings as a unit in the FBS:

  • Total Defense=(#3)
  • Pass Defense=(#10)
  • Rushing Defense=(#4)
  • Scoring Defense=(Tied for #2)
  • Sacks=(#1 with 42)
  • Tackles for Loss=(#1 with 93)
  • Opponents 3rd Down Conversions=(#1 at 24%)

In last week’s win over Texas Tech, the Cowboys recorded 13 tackles for loss and 5 sacks. In the last three games, they have racked up 20 sacks and 36 tackles for loss.

The defensive leaders on the field are:

  • S Kolby Harvell-Peel: 54 tackles, 3 INTs, 2 sacks, and 4.5 tackles for loss.
  • LB Malcolm Rodriquez: 97 tackles, 10.5 tackles for loss, 1 sack. He has recorded four games this season with double-digit tackles.
  • LB Devin Harper: 70 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, and 5 sacks.
  • DE Collin Oliver: 23 tackles, 6.5 sacks, and 10.5 tackles for loss.
  • DE Brock Martin: 6 sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss, 32 tackles.

The Sooner Schooner has a Busted Wheel

BedlamOklahoma has taken a step backward offensively this season, compared to years past when they were ranked in the Top 10 in total offense from 2015-2019. Last year they ranked #11 and in 2021, they are ranked #34.

The Sooners have averaged 38 points per game (10th in the FBS) this season through 11 games. QB Caleb Williams and QB Spencer Rattler are spelling each other at the quarterback position. Williams can make plays with both his arm (1418 yards passing, 15 TDs, 4 INTs) and his legs (365 rushing yards, 6 TDs).

Rattler has passed for 1483 yards and 11 touchdowns and 5 INTs.

Williams passed for a touchdown and rushed for a score last week in the 28-21 win over Iowa State.

The rushing attack is handled by junior RB Kennedy Brooks. Brooks has rushed for 972 yards, 10 touchdowns. He is averaging six yards per rush.

The primary targets for Williams and/or Rattler are WR Marvin Mims (29 catches, 644 yards, 4 TDs) and WR Jadon Haselwood (36 catches, 381 yards, six touchdowns).

But there is a busted spoke on the offensive wheel of the Sooner schooner. The offensive line has allowed 27 sacks this season, an average of two per game. That’s bad enough to rank 85th in the FBS in sacks allowed.

Look for the Cowboys to exploit that deficiency early and often.

The Sooners defense

The Oklahoma defense is led by:

  • S Delarrin Tumer-Yell: 3 INTs, 45 tackles.
  • LB Brian Asamoah: 73 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack
  • S Patrick Fields: 67 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss.

As a unit, they are ranked in the FBS as follows:

  • Total Defense=(74th)
  • Pass Defense=(109th)
  • Rush Defense=(25th)
  • Scoring Defense=(52nd)
  • Sacks=(35th)
  • Tackles for Loss=(13th)
  • Opponents 3rd Down Conversion=(55th at 38%)
  • Turnover Margin=(10th)

And the Winner of the Bedlam game is?

Who wins this version of Bedlam? Does Williams make it so that the Cowboys’ defense can’t stop him, they only hope to contain him (channeling my inner Dan Patrick there)?

Or, does the monster that is the Cowboys’ defense make the Sooners’ offense curl up in the fetal position and Oklahoma State wins their first Bedlam game in six years?

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