By Daniel Wallace
The Bears will look to do something this weekend on the football field they have not done since 1939. That feat would be coming out of Stillwater, Okla. with a victory. The Bears (4-2, 1-2), will battle the No. 3 overall ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-0, 4-0) at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla.
The Bears have had an extra week to prepare for the explosive Cowboys, as they are coming off their second bye week of the season. According to head coach Art Briles, the bye week came at an ideal time during the season.
“We’re ready to get back and put our trade to work,” he said. “The bye week came at a really good time for us, from a mental standpoint and physically.”
During the bye week, the Bears’ offense focused on red zone and first down efficiency.
Junior quarterback Robert Griffin III said the extra week off helped him relax without the stress of playing a football game.
He said he is confident that both sides of the ball will work together this week to knock off the number three team in the nation.
“I’m looking forward to seeing us play well, as a team, not just as an offense and going out and getting a victory,” Griffin said. “There’s no doubt in my mind we can beat them.”
On the defensive side, the Bears’ emphasized making stops on third downs, and also made a personnel switch, which saw junior cornerback Chance Casey move to the safety position.
Briles said the reason for the change was to add more depth and quickness at the position and thought it fit Casey’s skill level very well.
Griffin said he is excited about the added speed to the secondary and the improvement Casey’s move brings to the team.
“It’s good to have him back there,” Griffin said. “Hopefully he gets comfortable and can help us in this game immediately and we’ll feel his impact because they like to spread it put and throw it around a lot. You need guys at safety that can cover like him.”
Oklahoma State’s high-octane offense is lead by senior quarterback Brandon Weeden and junior wide receiver Justin Blackmon. Briles said he has been impressed by Weeden’s maturity level and his spot-on throws during the ballgame.
“He’s real accurate with the football. He’s not a panic guy. That comes from maturity and the experience he has had with his athletic career,” Briles said, “They protect him well schematically. He gets the ball out of his hands; they don’t ask him to do things he does not feel comfortable doing. They run the ball well enough to keep pressure off him.”
Briles added what impresses him the most about Blackmon is that he does his job and goes onto the next play. He also described him as a hustler who works hard and is self-motivated.
Weeden and Blackmon have hooked up for eight scores in seven games, and Weeden has thrown 11 more touchdowns to receivers not named Blackmon, piling up 2,436 yards.
The Cowboys’ electric Weeden-to-Blackmon combination does not worry sophomore safety, K.J. Morton, who will have his hands full covering Blackmon and the rest of the Cowboys’ speedy receivers.
Morton said he is excited to showcase his skills against an offense known for piling up yards and scoring multiple touchdowns.
“I know that I will have a challenge but I love a challenge,” he said. “That’s why I came to Baylor, to get to play those type of receivers. I’m very excited and I’m staying up late and doing all the extra stuff that I can do to be well-prepared for this game.”
Senior running back Terrance Ganaway said great teams win on the road and the Bears’ consider themselves a great team. He, along with senior wide receiver Kendall Wright, is confident in the defensive unit’s plan to stop the Cowboys’ offense and believes the Bears’ can come out on top.
“With the season we have going, we can beat anybody,” Wright said. “All we have to do is cover every play. I think we can go to Stillwater and beat them this year.”
Baylor’s high-powered offense has been well-documented as well, and Robert Griffin III will continue his pursuit of the Heisman Trophy on Saturday. He will receive help in the running game as Baylor is the only FBS school averaging 300 yards passing and 200 yards rushing.
The battle in Stillwater will kick off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and will be televised nationally on ABC.