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Football hopes to keep rolling against high-flying OSU

Nov. 5, 2010

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Daniel Cernero | Photo Editor
No. 10 quarterback Robert Griffin takes the field with No. 74 center Philip Blake and No. 49 running back Kaeron Johnson against Texas on Oct. 30. The No. 22 Bears face play No. 19 Oklahoma State on Saturday.

By Matt Larsen
Sports Writer

After scribbling a "W" beside their last two conference road matchups, the No. 22 Bears (7-2, 4-1) travel to Stillwater, Okla., for their biggest conference road challenge thus far against No. 19 Oklahoma State at 11:40 a.m. Saturday.

"Probably over the last eight to 10 years they have been one of the more prominent teams in the Big 12, without a doubt," head coach Art Briles said. "So it's going to be a really good test this weekend with us going up there."

Briles believes the close wins on the road against Colorado and Texas will benefit the Bears as they look to take down another Big 12 foe on its home turf.

"It helps, it really does," Briles said of the wins. "We know we're capable of doing it. We've just got to go fight hard for one more week. Then we'll settle in at home the last two weeks. We've got to go be a tough team for one more week."

The Cowboys (7-1, 3-1) bring a high-powered offense and a near-perfect record into the matchup. Their only loss came to an angry No. 9 Nebraska squad the week after the Huskers' only loss.

Junior quarterback Brandon Weeden and the OSU offense also managed 41 points in that highscoring ordeal against a Nebraska defense that ranks third in the country in pass defense.

High-scoring ordeals have become the norm for the Cowboys, who rank second in the nation in total offense and average more than 45 points a game.

Weeden's primary target both in the Nebraska game and this season has been wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who managed two touchdown grabs against the Huskers and leads the nation in receiving yards per game (158.9) and scoring (15 touchdowns and 12.86 points per game).

The 6-foot-1 wideout served a one-game suspension last week as OSU managed a 24-14 win over Kansas State in his absence.

A fellow receiver lining up for Baylor, sophomore Terrance Williams believes his team's defense has the ability to contain Blackmon.

"I trust my defense so I really don't think about the big names," Williams said. "He is very, very good but with the people we [have], I'm confident we can do a good job with him."

After accounting for Blackmon, Baylor's defense will turn its attention next to the backfield, where senior running back Kendall Hunter quietly averages 147 yards a game in the shadow of a pass-saturated offense.

The 5-foot-8 back features a quickness that makes his movements both behind the line and in open field difficult to predict.

"He is a shifty back," Briles said. "I think playing the Stewart kid at Colorado gives us a little experience with a guy along those lines."

Though they know the Cowboys boast a full arsenal, the Bears' defense comes off its best outing of the year as they held the Longhorns to five field goals and just one touchdown last week.

After seeing the success of a defensive mentality that aims to clamp down in the red zone, senior safety Tim Atchison has confidence in his squad's ability to keep tabs on all the weapons.

"When you are going against players like Blackmon and Hunter, you know they are going to make plays. They are athletes," he said. "Our job is to contain them and keep them from making any game changing plays."

On the other side of the ball, the Cowboys sit second to last in the Big 12 in passing defense.

The Bears will likely look for a resurgence of the passing game that vaulted quarterback Robert Griffin to first in the Big 12 and third in the nation in total offense.