Baylor at Oklahoma
When and Where: Saturday, Sept. 29, The Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, Norman, Okla., 3:30 p.m. EDT.
After surviving a major scare, the sixth-ranked Sooners look to get back to business Saturday when they host Big 12 rival Baylor.
Oklahoma (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) dropped a spot in the latest AP Top 25 after escaping with a 28-21 overtime victory over Army last Saturday. The unfamiliarity of the Black Knights’ triple option led the Sooners defense struggling to get off the field as they allowed three time-consuming touchdown drives before making a stand in the extra period.
Baylor back on track after upending Kansas
Baylor (3-1, 1-0 Big 12) got back on track with a 26-7 victory over Kansas to open conference play last Saturday as Charlie Brewer threw for 221 yards and three touchdowns.
— Baylor Football (@BUFootball) September 22, 2018
But it was Brewer’s legs that also helped the Bears, compensating for the first-half suspension of starting running back JaMycal Hasty for his actions in an altercation from last season’s game against TCU. Brewer had a 15-yard scramble that contributed to Baylor’s first scoring drive and a 13-yarder that helped set up a second-half field goal.
Brewer finished with 56 rushing yards, and Hasty added 60 in the second half as Baylor totaled 190 on the ground and 447 for the game. Freshman receiver Tyquan Thornton had three catches for 50 yards, including a 39-yarder that is Baylor’s longest scoring play of the season.
“He can flat-out fly,” Brewer said of Thornton to the school’s official website. “I know you guys just got to see it for the first time today, but that freshman class is something special. A lot of speed in that class. So, I’m excited for those guys.”
Thornton has eight catches for 164 yards and a pair of touchdowns, emerging as a third receiving option behind Jalen Hurd and Denzel Mims. Hurd has team highs of 22 receptions and 311 yards with two scores while Mims has chipped in 13 catches for 245 yards and a score.
Baylor’s offense has totaled 400 or more yards in all four games while averaging 486.8 on the season. Brewer has completed 62.7 percent of his passes for 862 yards and six TDs with only one interception.
The Bears lost four games to ranked opponents last year during their 1-11 season and have lost six in a row to AP Top 25 opponents since a 49-38 win over then-No. 10 North Carolina in the 2015 Russell Athletic Bowl.
Hurd missed last season’s 49-41 loss to Oklahoma due to a knee injury, but Mims picked up the slack with 11 catches for career highs of 192 yards and three touchdowns.
Sooners make OT stand to stay unbeaten
Oklahoma’s high-octane offense spent much of the game watching it as the Black Knights had touchdown drives lasting a combined 29 minutes and 12 seconds. The Sooners, who had the ball only a fraction over 15 minutes and ran just 40 plays, almost won the game in regulation after an interception by Kenneth Mann, but Austin Seibert missed a 33-yard field goal on the final play of the fourth quarter.
Kyler Murray needed only two plays in overtime to give the Sooners the lead, hooking up with CeeDee Lamb on a 10-yard scoring pass, and Oklahoma finally exhaled after Parnell Motley intercepted a fourth-down pass on Army’s overtime possession.
“When you’re sitting there and they’re driving the whole length of the field, they’ve taken off 10 minutes and you’re just sitting there waiting to get the ball back, it’s definitely tough,” Murray told Oklahoma’s official website after accounting for 236 total yards and factoring on all four touchdowns. “I was not tired at all. We only had the ball like 16 minutes, or something like that. It felt like four.”
Oklahoma’s defense, which has yet to distinguish itself statistically, delivered in the form of linebackers Kenneth Murray and Curtis Bolton. Murray set a school record with 28 tackles, the most recorded in an FBS game dating back to when statistics were kept in 2000, and Bolton added 23.
— Nathan Tracy (@nathanforksu) September 23, 2018
The Sooners allowed 339 rushing yards, but the Black Knights averaged only 4.4 per carry on 78 attempts and did not have a run longer than 23 yards.
Kyler Murray, though, elevated himself into the Heisman Trophy race with another strong performance. The junior has thrown for 1,028 yards and 11 touchdowns with only two interceptions and is second on the Sooners in rushing with 240 yards and three scores, including a 33-yard dash versus Army.
Lamb and Marquise Brown are a formidable receiving tandem, combining for 35 catches, 659 yards and seven TDs. They have accounted for half of Oklahoma’s receptions and more than half of the team’s receiving yards and scoring catches.
The Sooners had 625 total yards in last year’s win over Baylor, with Lamb contributing three catches for 68 yards. Oklahoma has won the last three games between the teams, scoring 138 points, after losing three of the previous four.
- 1-7 ATS in its last eight home games vs. Baylor.
- 0-4 ATS in its last four games following a straight up win.
- 2-5 ATS in its last seven games vs. Baylor.
- The over is 5-1 in its last six September games.
- The over is 23-10 in its last 33 games following an ATS loss.
- The over is 6-2 in its last eight games as a home favorite of more than 10.5 points.
- 15-7 ATS in its last 22 games as an underdog.
- 11-5 ATS in its last 16 road games as an underdog of 10.5 points or more.
- The road team is 16-6 ATS in the las 22 games between the teams.
- The over is 18-8 in its last 26 September games.
- The over is 11-3 in its last 14 games after allowing less than 275 yards in its previous game.
- The over is 4-1 in its last five games as an underdog of 10.5 points or more.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Unfamiliarity with Army’s triple option aside, Oklahoma’s defense has given up at least 324 yards in every game and 21 or more points in three of them. The Sooners are a team built to outscore opponents, which is needed to survive in the Big 12.
Oklahoma’s offense has been electric when on the field this season, averaging 8.4 yards per play. Murray’s dual-threat skills coupled with his decision-making shows how much he learned last season as Baker Mayfield’s understudy, and second-year coach Lincoln Riley has emerged as one of the best coaches in the country since his arrival in Norman last season.
Baylor has a good offense, but not a great one, and that is going to be the difference in this game in terms of the outcome. Brewer has been an effective quarterback for the Bears and directs a balanced offense that has big-play threats throughout the field in Hurd and Mims and running backs Hasty and John Lovett. They should be able to hang with the Sooners provided they do not turn the ball over.
This game will come down to who gets stops. Baylor had its first good defensive game last weekend at Kansas, but that is also the problem — it came against Kansas. Before that, the Bears played a Duke team starting a second-string quarterback and without its best wideout and gave up 399 yards.
Oklahoma has star talent at multiple positions, and the Bears are not going to get too many second chances when Murray and the Sooners make mistakes. Baylor may try to shorten the game with its ground attack, but in the end, Oklahoma should pull away to win a high-scoring game.
Prediction: Pick: Baylor +27 (-110)
Full-Game Total Pick
The teams have combined for 69 or more points in each of the last three meetings and have totaled 53 or more in the last eight. The teams also have averaged 69.0 points in the last three contests at Oklahoma. Both defenses give up plenty of yards, and that trend should continue in this contest along with plenty of points.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 68 points (-110)
Full-Game Prop Bet
Oklahoma’s defense has yet to distinguish itself this season, and its pass defense has been awful — even Army had 165 passing yards and the Black Knights run the triple option. The Bears have solid options in the passing attack, and while they may now be able to keep up with the Sooners point for point, they should find enough points to hit their individual over.
Prediction: Pick: Baylor OVER 22.5 points (-115)
Half-Time Side Pick
Oklahoma has scored 15 first-half touchdowns this year, while Baylor had given up 56 first-half points in its first three games before pitching a 30-minute shutout against Kansas. The Sooners have also held double-digit halftime leads in six of their last eight conference home games.
Prediction: Pick: Oklahoma -14 (-105)
Half-Time Total Bet
The extra half-point makes this tricky, but the expectation is there will be big-scoring plays that lead to extra possessions for the needed points.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 35.5 (-110)
Half-Time Prop Prediction
Baylor’s over is a better bet to take given Oklahoma’s defensive issues. The Sooners’ first-half over/under of 25.5 points is intriguing since they have scored at least 21 points in the first two quarters of all four games, but that number does look daunting.
Prediction: Pick: Baylor OVER 10.5 points (-115)