NORMAN, Okla. — It was a weird one down in Lubbock, but the Sooners came away with the win. The 51-46 shootout was a difficult one, to say the least, but a lot can be learned from it. Heading into Bedlam, the Sooners need to handle a lot before their meeting with the Cowboys.
The secondary depth took a major hit when Kahlil Haughton and “Bookie” Brendan Radley-Hiles couldn’t start against the Red Raiders. The status of these two is still up in the air, but it doesn’t look great. If those two are out, it will likely be Jordan Parker and Justin Broiles back in as the subs. Also, look for the continued incorporation of young Delarrin Turner-Yell. The coaching staff’s confidence in him continues to grow, and it’s evident he has the talent to back it up. Not having Bookie and Haughton is tough, but this is an opportunity for those three to gain some valuable experience. On offense, Jonathan Alvarez has officially retired from the game due to injuries. The veteran lineman has always provided quality depth, but the Sooners will have to go on without him. Finally, Marquise Brown hasn’t been 100% recently but is steadily feeling better. His ankle has bothered him for a couple of weeks now, but this Saturday he could be 100%. If he’s burning the Cowboy secondary with ease, you’ll know for sure.
Oklahoma learned a lot down in Lubbock. Specifically, they know that the team discipline needs to improve. The Sooners finished with 10 penalties for over 100 yards. On top of that, several players let the atmosphere get to their heads. Altercations and trash talk filled the night, and it cost them several times. That is something they know cannot continue when they take on the Cowboys. Oklahoma State has nothing to lose at this point, and they are known for treating this game like the Super Bowl. If the Sooners can keep a level head, they have the advantage, especially because of the running game’s emergence through the last couple of games. Trey Sermon was on fire against Texas Tech, and Kennedy Brooks kept hanging around the 100-yard mark whenever his role increased. Getting the ball downhill with those two backs will be crucial, especially considering the weather. It’s supposed to be one of the coldest games of the season on Saturday, so throwing the ball could get a little difficult. The offensive line feels like they’re playing their best football, and the two backs are on a roll. If the Sooners can run the ball, that will be a huge help for the defense. Even though the Sooner defense walked away from that win a little disappointed, there was some silver lining. The Sooners held the high powered Red Raider offense under its total yard average for the season, and they created some highlight plays as well. Specifically, the Robert Barnes return on the attempted two-point conversion by the Red Raiders. There could be some more of those highlights this weekend against a struggling Cowboy offense.
This Bedlam matchup has a lot less hype surrounding it than in past years. The Cowboys aren’t exactly in the best position, and sometimes it shows. Their most recent loss to the Baylor Bears exposed their inconsistency on offense, and some serious problems on special teams. However, there is still potential on both sides of the ball. Tylan Wallace is emerging as not only one of the best receivers in the conference, but one of the best receivers in the country. His partner, Tyron Johnson, was a former five-star recruit and is a superb athlete. As if those two weren’t enough, Dillon Stoner in the slot can be quite the mismatch. Whenever the Cowboys aren’t getting the ball to their stacked receiving corps, they’re giving it to their star running back. Justice Hill ran for 231 yards against Oklahoma last season, and he is already challenging the Sooners this time around. He took to Instagram to take a subtle shot at the Sooners, but the Crimson and Cream defenders weren’t worried. Defensively, Oklahoma State got off to a hot start at the beginning of the season. They were building a reputation as a solid defense, and then they absolutely plummeted. Not a lot of confidence can be found on that side of the ball for the Cowboys, so the Sooners must capitalize on that. The key will be limiting turnovers against a defense that desperately needs a momentum boost. If Kyler Murray learned from his mistakes, which it looks like he has, then it could be a long day for the Cowboy defense.
The lack of Bedlam hype shouldn’t carry over onto the football field. The Sooners know they cannot take this game lightly and that another win over the orange and black is just another necessary step towards their playoff hopes. If they can get the job done, the Sooners stay alive in the race towards the playoff.