Everyone knew that going to Stillwater, where Baylor had not won since the late 1930s, would be a ginormous test for the undefeated and 4th-ranked (BCS) Bears. But Art Briles’ troops had been playing at such an extraordinarily high level, the feeling was that it was going to take an extraordinary defensive effort just to keep pace on the scoreboard against the Nation’s No. 1 offense.
Oklahoma State on Saturday night looked everything like the preseason conference favorite it was projected to be, completely dominating the Bears on both offense and defense in putting a big-time whooping on the previously unbeaten visitors from Waco, and by a 32-point margin, 49-17.
The Cowboys scored first in the game, driving the length of the field after recovering a Baylor fumble at the OSU two-yard line. As it turned out, the Bears did not find the end zone on offense until the opening minute of the final quarter. By then, though, the score was OSU 35 and Baylor 10, and the Cowboys were well on their way to their seventh conference win in a row and the top spot in the conference standings with just one game remaining in the regular season.
Baylor came into the game averaging over 60 points a game, while yielding just 17 points per contest to its opponents. The Cowboys ran up 590 yards of total offense for the game, 440 of that on the 21 for 27 passing of senior quarterback Clint Chelf. The Baylor secondary was only allowing 190 passing yards per game through it first 10 games of the season.
Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty, who was having a career year leading the high-octane Bears offense coming into the OSU game, was constantly under pressure from the aggressive,swarming Oklahoma State defensive front. He may have played himself out of the Heisman Trophy competition, though, because of the magnitude of the loss.
With wins over Baylor and Texas, the only other Big 12 teams with one league loss, all Oklahoma State must do to capture its sencond Big 12 championship in three seasons is beat Bedlam rival Oklahoma on Dec. 7. And that game is in Stillwater.
“We felt like this was possible,” said Kyle Staley, a burly sixth-year senior running back for Oklahoma State. “We’re on a roll, and our next opportunity is Oklahoma.”
Also over the weekend, Oklahoma went to Kansas State, which was on a four-game conference winning streak after losing its first three league games, and beat the Wildcats for the sixth straight time in Manhattan, pulling away late for a 41-31 victory.
The Sooners used a run-heavy, ball control offensive attack, the same formula that has been more closely associated with Wildcats head coach Bill Snyder than with a Bob Stoops-coached team, to take control of the game and outlast Kansas State on the road and on Senior Day. The temperature at game time was around 25 degrees, with strong gusts of wind coming out of the north.
Oklahoma ran for 301 yards on the ground, led by senior Brennan Clay’s 200 yards. The Sooners held K-State to just 24 net rushing yards for the game on 26 running attempts. Senior running back John Hubbert ran for 13 yards on the game’s first play, but was totally held in check for the remainder of the game.
Forced to go to the air without an effective run game, Kansas State got a career performance from one of its own, Junior receiver and return man Tyler Lockett was virtually unstoppable catching 12 passes for 278 total yards and three touchdowns. For the game, Lockett had 440 all-purpose yards, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the Sooners’ back-breaking ground assault.
Said an obviously frustrated Snyder after the game: “This was a collective loss…Take your pick.”
As bone-chilling cold as it was at Kansas State on Saturday, the conditions were even worse in Ames, Iowa, where the Cyclones hosted Kansas. On the frozen tundra of Iowa State’s Jack Trice Stadium, where the air temperature was in the single digits, the Cyclones almost doubled the Jayhawks in offensive production, putting the Jayhawks back in the loser’s column just a week after Kansas had won its first Big 12 game in its last 28. The 34-o shutout by Iowa State was its first conference win of the season and only its second overall in 2013.
“If you don’t make plays in the passing game at all…,” Kansas haead coach Charlie Weis said, his voice tailing off. “You’re in a heap of trouble.” Jayhawk quarterbacks Jake Heaps and Montell Cozart combined for just 11 of 31 passing for a paltry 98 yards, underscoring their head coach’s comments.
Five More Things We Learned From Week 13 Action In the Big 12
- Kansas State was hoping to run the table in its final six games, after opening the conference season with three straight losses, and earn itself a fairly decent postseason game in the Big 12 bowl pecking order. A somewhat stunning 41-31 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday, it would appear the most likely bowl for the Wildcats, last season’s Big 12 champion, is the Holiday Bowl.
- A couple of guys named Sims are one and two on the rushing charts this season in the Big 12. James Sims of Kansas rushed for 114 yards on Saturday at Iowa State to go over the 1,000-yard mark with 1,028 yards for the season to lead the league. Charles Sims of West Virginia was No. 1 prior to Saturday, wiuth 946 yards, but West Virginia did not play this weekend.
- Saturday’s game at Iowa State’s Jack Trice Stadium was the coldest game in school history. It was eight degrees at kickoff and had dropped five degrees by the start of the second half. Iowa State’s 34-0 shutout of Kansas was the first Cyclone shutout since a 41-0 victory over Baylor in 2001.
- Oklahoma State’s convincing victory over Baylor moved the Cowboys up two spots in the new USA Today Coaches Poll from No. 9 a week ago. Baylor dropped four spots in the same poll, falling to No. 8 behind Oklahoma State.
- Oklahoma kicked a field goal at the end of the first half to break a 21-all deadlock at Kansas State on Saturday and take a 24-21 lead at the break. The Sooners went on to win 41-31. OU is 40-0 when leading at the half, the second longest such streak in the country.