No. 21 Baylor, No. 19 Oklahoma State prepare for ranked showdown
Saturday’s Big 12 dustup between No. 21 Baylor and No. 19 Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., could determine which of the undefeated surprise teams will have the staying power to be contenders for the conference title.
Then again, the battle might also be an early weed-out game to figure out if the Bears or Cowboys are mere pretenders. Such is the week-to-week gauntlet of play in the Big 12.
Both teams jumped into the AP Top 25 after wins at home last week over ranked conference opponents.
Baylor (4-0, 2-0 Big 12) outlasted No. 14 Iowa State 31-29, stopping the Cyclones on the deciding 2-point conversion attempt in the waning seconds and beating a ranked opponent for the first time since 2015.
Gerry Bohanon passed for 164 yards and two touchdowns and ran for a third score, and Trestan Ebner scored on a 98-yard kickoff return to lead Baylor to the win. Isaiah Hankins’ 34-yard field goal with 5:36 left in the fourth quarter ended up producing the winning points for the Bears.
In the first half, the Bears racked up 212 yards and 21 points on a team allowing fewer total yards and points coming in while running out to a seven-point lead. Ebner’s kickoff return and the Baylor defense did just enough after halftime to finish off the upset.
“The guys are a confident bunch,” Baylor coach Dave Aranda said. “There’s a good, healthy amount of ego there, and there’s a good amount of love for their brother. Whatever is in front of us, we’re going to try to knock it down. For us to be able to take the next step from this is to be able to do the little things with really strong discipline.”
The Cowboys (4-0, 1-0) moved into the rankings after a definitive 31-20 victory over No. 25 Kansas State. Spencer Sanders passed for 344 yards and two touchdowns and added another on the ground, and Jaylen Warren amassed 204 total yards (123 rushing, 81 receiving) in the win over the Wildcats.
Like Baylor, Oklahoma State dominated the first half, racking up all of its points and 295 of its 481 total yards before struggling in the final two quarters. The Cowboys have not scored after halftime in their past two games.
The Oklahoma State defense held Kansas State to minus-6 yards of offense in the final quarter while producing three consecutive three-and-outs to secure the victory.
“I told the team I was proud of the way they continue to play together as a unit,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “This team plays together more than any team I can remember since I’ve been the head coach. The defense played well, and offensively we played much better, and the first half looked like what we have been the last 15 years.”
Saturday’s contest will be the 40th overall meeting between Oklahoma State and Baylor in a series that dates to 1914. The Cowboys hold a 21-18 all-time advantage, including a 13-7 edge in games played in Stillwater.
–Field Level Media