WACO, Texas – Matt Rhule wasn't able to get his first win at Baylor until early November when he first took over the program in 2017, but a November victory this weekend may be all his team needs to put an end to Oklahoma's recent Big 12 dominance. The 10th-ranked Bears attempt to continue their dream season and basically assure themselves a regular-season conference title Saturday night when they host the eighth-ranked Sooners.
TV: 7:30 p.m. ET, ABC. LINE: Oklahoma -10.
Baylor, which finished 1-11 in its first season under Rhule, took another step towards winning its first outright Big 12 title since 2013 with last weekend's wild 29-23 overtime triumph at TCU - its fourth comeback victory of the season (all in league play) - to extend its overall winning streak to 11 games. "We're just a tough, hard-nosed, resilient group of guys that goes out there and just competes and plays. We're not perfect, but a lot of teams would have lost that game today," Rhule told reporters afterward. Oklahoma nearly blew a 21-point last weekend and needed to intercept a two-point conversion pass with 24 seconds remaining to hold on to a 42-41 victory over Iowa State. "You don't want (games like this), especially when you have a chance to separate like we did. But if they happen, you've got to find a way to man up and find a way to win in the end," coach Lincoln Riley told reporters.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA (8-1, 5-1 Big 12)
Junior wide receiver CeeDee Lamb was named Big 12 Offensive Player of the Week for the second time this season after tying a school record with his fifth career game of at least 160 yards receiving, finishing with 167 to go along with two touchdowns against the Cyclones. Sophomore Kennedy Brooks ran for a season-high 132 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts to become the third Sooner to hit the century mark on the ground in 2019. The increased reliance on Brooks was likely the product of losing Trey Sermon to a left knee injury on his first carry; both he and defensive lineman Kenneth Mann (undisclosed) are expected to miss the rest of the season.
ABOUT BAYLOR (9-0, 6-0)
The Bears scored all three of their touchdowns versus the Horned Frogs after regulation, including a pair of athletic grabs from Denzel Mims, who accounted for three of his six catches and 36 of his 57 yards during the overtime periods. Sophomore linebacker Terrel Bernard had a career-high 19 tackles - the most by a Baylor player since safety Sam Holl’s 21 stops against Kansas in 2011 - and his first interception of the season to earn Big 12 Player of the Week honors. Freshman kicker John Mayers was named the conference’s special teams player of the week after accounting for all of his team’s points during regulation, including a career-long 51-yard field goal with 36 seconds remaining to send the game into overtime.
1. Oklahoma has surrendered at least 41 points in back-to-back contests after holding opponents to an average of 19.4 points in its first seven games.
2. The Bears boast a Big 12-best 29 sacks this season after finishing with 25 in 2018.
3. Lamb, who leads all non-seniors nationally with 31 career receiving scores and 2,948 receiving yards, is the only Power Five player who has at least five games of 135-plus receiving yards.
PREDICTION: Baylor 41, Oklahoma 38