Oklahoma Football: running and defensive game, keys to getting Bedlam win

For the majority of the 107 meetings that this Bedlam rivalry has gone on, the Oklahoma Sooners have been the favorites over the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

oklahoma sooners

Four of the last five meetings though, have turned a complete 180, as the Cowboys have been higher ranked and the favorites over the Sooners.

The 108th meeting all time will mark another one of those moments as the Cowboys rank sixth in the BCS and looking for a Big 12 title.

Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2 Big 12) has had its share of difficulties and “controversies” this season, losing to Texas and Baylor by double digits and playing two quarterbacks in junior Blake Bell and freshman Trevor Knight.

The Sooners are 83-17-7 all time vs OSU and if OU wants to capture its 84th Bedlam win, two keys to doing so will be the run game and the defense.

OU has one of the best run games in the nation, ranking 15th with 242.3 per game.

They have three players who can run the ball effectively in seniors Roy Finch and Brennan Clay, and in Knight. Senior running back Damien Williams, who led the team with seven touchdowns, was suspended and dismissed from the team earlier last week.

Receiver Lacoltan Bester was also suspended, but wasn’t dismissed.

The Sooners can really take advantage of the Cowboys defense by throwing in a two-running back system. Both backs will share the workload, meaning both should be ready to go every time they’re in, never being out of breath as you might see with one running back doing it all.

Clay leads the team with 843 yards on 134 carries and six scores. Clay rushed for a career-high 200 yards in OU’s 41-31 win over Kansas State on Nov. 23.

Finch will see an increased role with Williams departure, and has rushed 58 times for 347 yards, 6.0 yards per carry.

Knight, who started the season as the starting quarterback, has rushed for 391 yards, 7.7 yards per carry, and two touchdowns. Knight has rushed 24 times for 205 yards in the past two games. It’s uncertain if Bell will play, as he missed their last game with a concussion.

The Cowboys can also run the ball so that’s where the defense needs to have its best game of the year.

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OSU has scored 31 total touchdowns on the ground and are led by its three-headed monster in senior quarterback Clint Chelf, junior running back Desmond Roland, and senior running back Jeremy Smith.

Chelf has thrown for 1,592 yards and 14 touchdowns to five interceptions, while also scoring six touchdowns on the ground.

Roland and Smith have combined for 19 touchdowns and 1,001 yards rushing.

After a 27-0 victory in Norman during the 2009 season, the Sooners have allowed 44 points to OSU the last three meetings.

The Sooners will win if Knight plays smart in the pass game and Bob Stoops sticks to the run game. Mike Stoops’ defense will need a big game, and if the Sooners can win the turnover battle, even if Chelf, Roland, and Smith have good games, you can say bye-bye to OSU’s BCS hopes, just like the 2009 season.

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