It'll be a long while before anyone forgets the last time Oklahoma played Baylor in Waco. The Sooners entered the game ranked #7 number seven in the nation and lost to Robert Griffin's unranked Bears squad 45-38. Griffin gave a performance that night that propelled him to the top of the Heisman race and history was made as Baylor scored their first ever victory over OU.
The Sooners will return to the scene of the crime on Thursday night and the task will be every bit as monumental as in was on that night in 2011, if not more so. Baylor features the nation's top-ranked scoring offense (63.9 PPG) and 6th ranked scoring defense (15.9 PPG).
Bryce Petty is torching opposing defenses by completing 69% of his passes for an average of 13.9 yards per reception. He's thrown for 2,453 yards and 18 touchdowns on the season, with just 1 interception and three sacks. His receiving corps is insanely good, with Antwan Goodley and Tevin Reese each averaging over 23 yards per reception. They are the two leading receivers on the team have have caught eight touchdowns each. If there's a big play in the passing game, there's a solid chance that one of these two guys are involved.
"He's a tremendously accurate thrower. He's very smart, understands what they're trying to do and gets the ball out of his hands." - Mike Stoops on Bryce Petty
:Like most successful offenses, Baylor is fueled by a dominant offensive line. They are big upfront which makes them powerful but they also have quickness. The Bears have a team average of 6.3 yards per carry and have only seen their quarterback sacked three times in 176 passing attempt. Yeah, its safe to say that they're doing their job and doing it well.
Baylor's offense doesn't stop with the passing game though. They are just as potent on the ground as they are through the air. Lache Seastrunk is averaging 9.1 yards per carry and has eleven rushing touchdowns on 96 carries. Shock Linwood has carried the ball 55 times and is averaging 8.1 yards per carry. Defending the Bears isn't a matter of slowing them down or making them one dimensional. You can't do that! The only thing that an opposing defense can do is slow them down and try to dictate the pace.
In year's past, when Baylor's offense was explosive, opponents could stay in the game because of the poor Bears' defense. That doesn't seem to be the case with this season's Baylor team. They are the top defense in the Big Twelve in scoring, passing and running,
Opponents are only averaging three yards per carry against Baylor and the Bears have only given up six rushing touchdowns this season. Linebacker Bryce Hager is leading the way for the defense with a team high 58 total tackles. Safety Christ McAllister has a team high 5.5 sacks but he's followed closely by defensive end Jamal Palmer who has recorded four sacks on the season.
Pressure has helped the Bears climb to the top of the conference in passing defense. Opposing quarterbacks are completing just 44.3% of their passes against the Bears who have picked off opponents nine times while only giving up seven touchdowns through the air.
Eight Baylor defenders have picked off opposing quarterbacks this season and the Bears have dropped opponent signal callers for a total of 24 sacks.
To say that the Sooners must be at their absolute best on Thursday night would be the understatement of the year. This is a Baylor team like none before and while I doubt they're invincible, they're about as close as you can get to it.