Fasten your seatbelts, college football fans. The end of the Big 12 season is here meaning only one thing:
Oklahoma and Oklahoma State fans everywhere prepare for this anticipated matchup every year as the uproar of the in-state rivalry gets taken up a notch – or five – with the two teams coming together in competition to close out the 2019 season this Saturday in Stillwater.
Head coach for the Cowboys Mike Gundy previewed the meeting in his weekly press conference highlighting key Cowboys for high-energy performances, his confidence in injuries being taken care of leaving players stronger than ever, and zoned in on vital tactics to pressure OU’s powerful offense led by Jalen Hurts.
“This is a triple-option team disguised as a spread,” Gundy said of OU’s offense. “We have to put pressure on the quarterback, tackle him, and make plays on him. It’s a one-man show.”
Hurts has stepped into a major role for the Sooners following back-to-back Heisman winners Kyler Murray and Baker Mayfield, and he has done nothing short of leading OU to exciting wins accumulating 449 plays, while rushing a total of 1,156 yards, passing for 3,184 yards, and racking up 17 touchdowns.
“I feel like he is the main factor,” Cowboys cornerback A.J. Green said. “We all know that he’s like a running back with the football. He can extend plays, and they like to do a lot of quarterback runs with him.”
Gundy brought great attention to the importance of keeping opposing teams off the goal line, and how the pressure applied to West Virginia this past Saturday was a key adjustment made by the Cowboys’ defense that would have to be carried over into Bedlam this weekend.
“I told the team that was what won the game,” Gundy said. “We were able to get the penalty and Tre Sterling was able to get pressure on the quarterback, knock his arm down and held them to a field goal. That’s where the game was won and it was very well done.”
With powerhouse guys such as CeeDee Lamb and Charleston Rambo coming to Stillwater this weekend, the Cowboys’ defense will be put to the test on just how strong they can be taking away scoring opportunities and holding an electric offense out of the end zone.
Not only will the players have their work cut out for them, but Gundy faces challenges of his own as he’s only come out successful at Bedlam twice in his fourteen-year tenure as head coach of the Pokes.
A win on Saturday would be the first win for the Cowboys over the Sooners since 2014 where Tyreek Hill continues to haunt Sooner fans securing the win in Norman on a 92-yard punt return as a result of poor decision making from Bob Stoops.
OSU also holds the longest win streak in the Big 12 with four straight wins, and a win against OU would make the Cowboys’ record 5-1 inside Boone Pickens Stadium this season giving them the best home record they’ve had in the past three seasons.
“We want to treat them just like any other team in the Big 12, because anyone can beat anyone on any given day, no matter who they are,” Cowboys Safety Tre Sterling said. “We’re going to work hard every day of the week, play to the best of our ability and see what the outcome will be by the end of the day on Saturday.”
The Cowboys (8-3) and the Sooners (10-1) are scheduled for Prime Time showing on FOX with a 7 p.m. kickoff inside Boone Pickens Stadium.