NCAAF 

Sooners keep Playoff hopes alive by eliminating Baylor

In the last two seasons the Baylor Bears had flipped the script on what use to be a one side affair when they went up against the Oklahoma Sooners.  Virtually embarrassing the Sooners going up and down the field at will, and winning three times in the last four years.

In 2013, the Bears racked up 459 total yards with 255 on the ground, and put up 41 points against Mike Stoops defense.  In 2014, similar results, the Bears had 544 yards of total offense and 396 in the air with 224 of those yards racked up by Corey Coleman on 15 catches in Norman, Oklahoma.  Stoops defense had no answer for the Betty to Coleman connection.

With two humiliating games of tape to review, Head Coach Bob Stoops and brother Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops devised a plan for the high octane Baylor offense.

Oklahoma stayed true to themselves having the confidence that their front seven would bring enough pressure that they wouldn’t have to bring any additional defenders to disrupt the passing game of Baylor.  They showed different zone looks to confuse the Bears’ young quarterback Jarrett Stidham replacing veteran and injured Seth Russell.  The Sooners brought the freshman back down to earth allowing just an average output.  Stidham threw for 257 yards with two touchdowns, but had two crucial interceptions.

Oklahoma had a strong hold the Bears rushing attack, keeping them under wraps.  A Baylor team that averages over 250 yards on the ground could only muster 159.  Baylor running back Shock Linwood had rushed for only 103 yards.

The script was flipped for the top receivers for each team as well.  The Sooner defense allowed Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman to catch only 3 passes for 51 yards.  But Oklahoma receiver and emotional leader Sterling Sheppard had 14 catches 177 yards and two scores.

The key to the overall success for Oklahoma was their quarterback Baker Mayfield, who opened the eyes of a lot of Heisman voters with play on Saturday night.  He showed a lot of poise, moxie, and confidence in leading his team to a win.  When the pocket broke down, he escaped and made key runs or key passes when he was ushered out of the tackle box.  He went 24-of-34 for 270 yards with three touchdowns and an interception.  WheneverMayfield made a mistake, he took ownership of it and put it in the back of his head like it never happened.

Oklahoma’s playoff picture is not promised, but they do control their own destiny. If they play like they did Saturday night for the next two games their hopes are alive and well, and it could be hard to keep them out of the Top 4.

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