As Bedlam looms upon us we were able to connect with SBN's Oklahoma State site to talk some Sooners and Cowboys. Gerald Tracy reached out to us to set up the Q&A and below are his responses to our questions. You can read the other half of the Q&A at Cowboys Ride For Free.
CCM: Let's start with the Baylor loss last weekend. What were the Bears able to do against Oklahoma State that the previous ten teams weren't? Were any new "weaknesses" exposed?
CRFF: On defense they tired out OSU. OSU has been defending over 100 plays per game for the past few weeks so Baylor came out firing and was able to put the safety's on their heels. The rush defense was also looking pretty bad after a few quarters.
Offense wasn't that bad. Passing was working fine, it was this thing OSU tries to pass as a run game that was bad. Oklahoma State hasn't had a run game all year and it's really starting to hurt Rudolph. Rudolph is good, but when he doesn't have a threat of a run game, teams rush three and drop eight, making it hard to complete half the passes down the middle. I think Baylor caught OSU tired and already looking toward OU, not saying that means OSU will look 100 times better this weekend but definitely don't think it won't be that bad.
CCM: The running game has been a struggle all season long for the Cowboys, what do you see them attempting scheme wise, against the Sooners on Saturday night, in an attempt to get something going on the ground?
CRFF: They're going to try to do the same thing they've done all year, run it into a wall and see if it'll move. They're not very good at doing it and it all starts up front. Occasionally the line will get a good block and a back will get five or six yards but it's not often. I expect a lot of screens, play action and a few outside zones in the first quarter that won't work but they'll continue to do it.
CCM: Defensively the Cowboys are taking on an Oklahoma offense that has been incredibly balanced as of late. What should we expect from OSU when Baker Mayfield and company take the field?
CRFF: OSU typically only rushes four on a normal play but I wouldn't be surprised to have them rush five on most plays Saturday. Baker is going to need to be contained and there's about zero ways to do that these past few weeks so Ogbah and co., will need to get to him much like they got to TCU. I think you'll see the defense play much like they did against TCU. Both have a good quarterback with mobility and some good receivers (before TCU became even more banged up).
CCM: Where we know that the running game is the weakest point of the OSU offense, where would you point to on the defense as the weak link?
CRFF: Deep passes off double moves. Peterson and safety Jordan Burton both always seem to bite on double moves. That or third down defense against the draw. Baylor did it about eight times last week and Perine/Mixon are much better than that.
CCM: OK, the game is on the line and OSU is on the OU 25 with enough time for one more play. Who do you want at quarterback for the Cowboys, Mason Rudolph or JW Walsh? Why?
CRFF: Rudolph. From the 25 Walsh would probably run around the pocket and MAYBE make a throw but the receiver would have to make the play and find the end zone after the catch. Rudolph would at least throw it into the end zone and the way Ateman/Washington have been playing I'm confident they'd find a way to bring down the catch more than catch and run.
CCM: Lastly, give us your score prediction. How do you see it going down in Stillwater on Saturday night?
CRFF: It's going to kill me to say this but I don't have OSU winning this one. OU has just looked dominate for a while now and OSU is looking really tired. Mix in the Rudolph ankle injury (seems to be just a mild sprain, but he already wasn't very mobile to begin with) and no run game, I don't think OSU can do it. I do think there's the possibility of OSU stealing it away, after what we've seen the past few years in this game, but I'm taking OU by five. 35-30.