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Breaking Down Why Oklahoma Will/Won't Win Bedlam

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Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Since at least one of the "major" news outlets in this state has so little to apparently write about this Saturday's Bedlam game they're putting out articles on a player getting a haircut or another speculating where Blake Bell may or may not transfer, we figured we would do you all a solid and talk about the actual game itself.

We wanted to look at several key aspects of this Bedlam match-up and the particular areas in which Oklahoma must succeed in order to pull off the upset (man, is that weird to type).  As well as those in which the Sooners need to avoid playing poorly in order to prevent a loss none of us are anxious to experience.

Oklahoma Will Win Bedlam If . . .

. . .Trevor Knight plays as well as he did in Manhattan.  Just as we (and others) said heading into that Kansas State game, if OU's offense is working Knight simply needs to be efficient with his passes.  Now facing this stout OSU defense, the assumption that OU's running game will be able to relieve Knight from having to be more than just an efficient passer is far from a given.

Oklahoma Won't Win Bedlam If . . .

. . .they turn the ball over.  This isn't exactly rocket science, nor is it unique to this individual game.  It's something that applies to pretty much every game, every Saturday.  But much like they did two years ago, this OSU defense has an uncanny ability to force turnovers this year.  They're tied for third in the country with a +16 turnover margin and they are particular adept at forcing turnovers in the red zone.

Oklahoma Will Win Bedlam If . . .

. . .they win the line of scrimmage.  In a game where the elements could play a significant role in the game, it will be pivotal for the Sooners to win up front on both sides of the ball.  This is something they clearly did in their last game against K-State, but they will be facing a much more talented and disruptive front this Saturday in Stillwater.

If OU cannot open up run lanes for Knight and Brennan Clay (among others) and/or if they cannot get some semblance of pressure on Clint Chelf, it figures to be a very long and very cold day for the Sooners.

The play of OU's front seven will also be critical to at least slowing down OSU's running attack.  If the Sooners are getting pushed around up front it makes things that much easier for Chelf who, like Knight, is best when he's being efficient with his throws rather than the entire game plan resting on his shoulders.

Oklahoma Won't Win Bedlam If . . .

. . .Eric Striker and Charles Tapper do not play well.  They are very clearly Oklahoma's two most effective pass rushers. however both, at times, have shown a tendency to disappear in games.  That can't happen on Saturday as the Sooners will need them both to spend plenty of time in the OSU backfield.

Oklahoma Will Win Bedlam If . . .

. . .they can get to 250 or more yards rushing.  I think that is their magic number in this game where, if they reach it, things will have gone very well for them from an offensive perspective.  However, that's with the obvious caveat that the OU defense is able to do their part and not let OSU run wild on offense.

Oklahoma Won't Win Bedlam If . . .

. . .they are forced to settle for field goals in the red zone.  This is an Oklahoma offense that has struggled at times in that area of the field where things get condensed and there is less space with which to work.  Even if the weather keeps this one a low scoring affair, the Sooners will need to come away with six instead of three on most if not all of their red zone opportunities.

Oklahoma Will Win Bedlam If . . .

. . .they are the one who makes a big play on special teams.  If this is as close a game as some expect, special teams -- as they so often do -- could be the determining factor.  Both OU and OSU have dynamic punt returners and while OSU deserves the edge on kickoff return, assuming Justin Gilbert is near 100%, but OU has guys capable of breaking off a big return as well.

A big return of any kind could be just the momentum swing one side needs to put them over the top and obviously we're hoping that team is the Sooners.

Oklahoma Won't Win Bedlam If . . .

. . .they get behind early AND abandon the run game.  I emphasized 'and' because while I think OU falling behind early in this game would be potentially disastrous, I also don't believe that alone is something they're incapable of recovering from.  However, if they fall behind early and Josh Heupel abandons the run I see almost no hope of OU winning the game at that point.


What are some of your 'will they or won't they' keys to the game? Hit us up in the comments and let your voice be heard on this Bedlam eve.