Oklahoma State vs Baylor prediction, game preview, how to watch. Week 5, Saturday, October 1
Oklahoma State vs. Baylor football: Score, updates from Cowboys' Week 5 game against Bears
The Baylor Bears play host to the Oklahoma State Cowboys on Saturday afternoon in a crucial Big 12 matchup from McLane Stadium. These two last met in the Big 12 Championship last fall, with the Bears coming away with the win in dramatic fashion in the final seconds. The Cowboys are unbeaten this season as they hit the road for this one, while the Bears are coming in fresh off a win in their own Big 12 opener. This has been an even series over the years, with Baylor having a slight edge, winning six of the last ten matchups between the two teams. In what is expected to be a close one again, this is a matchup fans won't want to miss.
After losing in the Big 12 Championship last season, Oklahoma State will want nothing more than to avenge that loss and open up Big 12 play with a win in this one. The Cowboys are undefeated on the season but considering the lack of quality in their opponents, Saturday will be their first test. Having to go on the road to Waco to take on their first quality opponent is far from ideal, while the Cowboys know that grabbing the win is crucial towards making a return trip to the conference finale. Oklahoma State has performed well on the road over the last few seasons and the hope is that can be the case yet again in this one.
There are two injuries for Oklahoma State to keep an eye on as they hit the weekend. Jaden Bray (arm) is probable for the weekend, which will mark his first appearance of the season. He'll be a much-needed addition, especially with Blaine Green (wrist) questionable for the weekend at receiver.
Oklahoma State has one of football's best offenses and with the amount of experience building within this group over the last few years, it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that they can score points in a hurry. The Cowboys rank eighth nationally in total offense and ninth in passing yards per game, while they are ranked tops nationally in scoring. The lack of a running game shouldn't be a concern given all the talent at their disposal. Spencer Sanders (10 touchdowns) is elite under center and given the talent at wide receiver, Baylor could have trouble keeping pace.
Defensively, the Cowboys will want to focus on stopping the run and if they can keep Baylor from controlling the game on the ground, they'll have a chance in this one. One issue this season has been Oklahoma State's inability to force turnovers, though Baylor has been struggling to take care of the ball. Mason Cobb (24 tackles, 2 sacks) is the leader in the middle of the field and with an athletic secondary, winning in the air is a key for this group.
For the Bears, expectations are high for this group, especially coming off of winning a Big 12 title just a season ago. Last week, they were able to take down Iowa State on the road, though they'll be happy to return home to the friendly confines of McLane Stadium. Their only loss came on the road to BYU, in overtime, showing how challenging their schedule has been so far. While the Cowboys could struggle early in their first big game of the season, the Bears are no stranger to the bright lights. Adding in confidence from winning the December matchup last season, this group should be riding high coming into Saturday.
Baylor only has one injury to worry about and much like their opponent, it comes on the offensive end as well. Taye McWilliams (undisclosed) is doubtful for Saturday at running back, having also missed the last two games. Other backs have taken control of the backfield since he started missing time, as his absence shouldn't cause too much of a problem.
Baylor's offense has become one-dimensional this season, with a strong emphasis on the ground game. They rank 26th nationally in rushing yards per game but without the aerial attack to match, concerns remain about what might happen if Oklahoma State shuts them down on the ground. Richard Reese (5.7 yards per carry, 6 touchdowns) has been elite, while QB Blake Shapen (7 touchdowns, 1 interception) has earned more and more trust as the season has progressed. Questions remain surrounding the wide receiver core, with Saturday looking like a game for this group to break out.
Defensively, the Bears have one of the country's top run defenses, though it might not be worth much in this one. The Cowboys have an elite passing attack, though with that area being one in which Baylor has struggled to defend, it might not matter. The Bears were able to slow down BYU's passing game pretty well and will need to match that energy in this one. Everything starts with Al Walcott (23 tackles) directing the defense from the back, at his safety position. With the Cowboys looking to move the ball through the air, it'll be on Walcott to keep the secondary sharp.
How to watch Oklahoma State vs. Baylor
When: 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1
Where: McLane Stadium in Waco, Texas
Radio: 96.1 FM
Oklahoma State vs. Baylor Betting Pick
Going back to the offseason, I’ve been higher on Oklahoma State than the market. The Pokes were my preseason pick to win the Big 12, and last week, I wrote on why I believe there is value on this team at 100/1 for a national title future.
There is no doubt this will be one of the most difficult games for Oklahoma State all season — against a good Baylor team in a hostile environment.
It’s worth noting that Gundy and his staff had two weeks to prepare for this game with the bye week. Meanwhile, Baylor had to play a really physical game against a stingy Iowa State group.
I am a firm believer in the improvement of the Cowboys’ offense, and I expect the Pokes to be able to put up plenty of points in this one.
On the other side of the ball, I just don’t see any big-play threats on the Baylor offense that will be able to take advantage of a youthful Cowboys secondary.
Give me Oklahoma State to head to Waco and leave with a victory, getting a small piece of revenge from last year’s Big 12 Championship in the process.