BAYLOR vs. OKLAHOMA STATE:
FIVE KEYS TO SATURDAY'S GAME
1. OFFENSIVE BALANCE: Oklahoma State's one loss this year was to a TCU team that ran for 238 yards and passed for 228. The Bears have struggled to run the ball, averaging just 3.8 yards per carry and less than 120 yards per game. But now, with JaMycal Hasty returning from an injury, they have all their backfield weapons available for the first time this season.
2. WIN THE 4TH QUARTER: Through the first five weeks, the Bears were in every game with the chance to tie or take the lead in the fourth quarter. One of the keys to coach Matt Rhule's "Plan to Win" is a fourth-quarter shutout, something the defense hasn't done all year. Whether it's a turnover, a blocked field goal or a goal-line stand, the defense has to find a way to keep the Cowboys off the scoreboard in the final quarter and give Baylor a chance to pull out a big road victory in Stillwater.
3. KICKING GAME: Going into the Kansas State game two weeks ago, sophomore Connor Martin's only job was kicking field goals and extra points. With Drew Galitz suffering a season-ending knee injury on the opening kickoff, it's all on Martin now. This also puts more pressure on the kickoff and punt coverage units. Particularly on punts, Martin doesn't kick it as high or as long as Galitz, so the cover guys have to stay in their lanes, swarm and not let returner Jalen McCleskey break off a big one.
4. BEND, DON'T BREAK: The Cowboys have a quick-strike offense that can take it to the house in a hurry with quarterback Mason Rudolph and big-play receivers James Washington, McCleskey, redshirt freshman Marcell Ateman and LSU transfer Tyron Johnson. Washington is averaging 23.1 yards per catch and has TD grabs of 77 and 86 yards. Force Rudolph and the Cowboys to be patient and work the ball down the field, keep the receivers in front of you and don't let running back Justice Hill get going.
5. WEAR EARPLUGS: Kansas State is loud, but the sidelines are extremely tight at OSU's Boone Pickens Stadium. So, the crowd is right on top of you and they bang wooden paddles on the padded sidewalls right behind the opposing team's bench. It's not quite as annoying when you're actually on the field playing, but it can be extremely intimidating when you're on the sidelines and hearing that constant pounding. The Bears had crowd noise blasting through the speakers while working out in the Allison Indoor Facility this week, so hopefully that prepared quarterback Zach Smith and the offense for what they're walking into on Saturday.