By Jason Elmquist
WACO, Texas —
A week after allowing 50 points for just the second time this season, the Oklahoma State defense won’t be getting any breathers in Saturday’s game against Baylor.
The Bears’ offense is in the top five in the nation in scoring (fifth with 44.36) and yardage (second with 575.45 yards per game) and is led by the top quarterback in the country in Nick Florence.
“You just try to slow them down, that’s about the only hope,” OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young said.
Florence, who took over for a Heisman Trophy winner this season, is averaging 389.5 yards of offense — the best of any Division I quarterback — with a quarterback efficiency of 157.11, which is second in the Big 12 Conference behind West Virginia’s Geno Smith.
“They’ve been effective all year. They’re averaging 45 points and prior to conference play they were averaging about 50 points,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “They’re throwing for about 360 yards a game, rushing for 230 yards a game and averaging 45 points a game. Our plan is to slow them down.
“I don’t know that anybody has been able to stop them. They played TCU and turned the ball over six times in that game and didn’t score as many points, but other than that it’s been a track meet.”
The Baylor offense has seen a sudden surge in the last two weeks — which led to upsets of Kansas State and Texas Tech — thanks to success in the run game.
Against the Wildcats, Baylor rushed for 342 yards with two backs — Lache Seastrunk (185) and Glasco Martin (113) — eclipsing the 100-yard mark. Baylor approached the 300-yard rushing plateau against the Red Raiders with 278 yards on the ground — with Seastrunk rushing for 136 and Martin getting 98 yards and two touchdowns.
“Challenges with Baylor are going to be the same as it’s been the last few weeks. We’ve been playing some of the top offenses in the country the past month, and the expectation is the same,” OSU linebacker Shaun Lewis said. ”We want to limit the run game and make them one-dimensional. We know coach is going to come up with a great game plan this week.”
The Cowboys may be able to slow down the running attack of the Bears, as OSU is third in the conference in rushing defense with giving up just 124.4 yards per game.
The problems posing the Pokes Saturday will be Baylor’s pass attack against the Cowboys, who are eighth in the conference, giving up 284.7 yards per game. OSU has forced just nine interceptions this season — the third-fewest in the Big 12 — while Florence has thrown 13 interceptions, the fourth-most in the conference.