3. Establish the running game.
It will be demoralizing for the Sooners if OSU can sustain drives and get consistent first downs behind running back Jaylen Warren. As a team, the Cowboys gain nearly 200 rushing yards per game.
The Utah State transfer averaged a nation-best 164.5 rushing yards per game during a particular four-game stretch earlier in the season for OSU. He hasn’t matched those numbers recently, but he’s still as effective as any running back in the country.
In 2021 as a whole, Warren has rushed for 1,078 yards while averaging nearly five yards per carry. That kind of success on the ground will go a long way in helping the Cowboys knock off their longtime rival.
2. Dominate the red zone.
OU’s offense has made 53 trips to the red zone and has scored in 51 of them, including 41 touchdowns. That’s 96.2% scoring rate is the best in the nation, and it’s driven by an NFL-bound cast of talented skill position players such as Marvin Mims, Kennedy Brooks, and Jadon Haselwood.
OSU’s defense can’t let OU march down the field to open up the action on Saturday night — it would be too much of a confidence booster for the underdog Sooners.
This maxim extends to the OSU offense, too, as it was forced to settle for several field goals against Texas Tech last week. The Cowboys offense needs to punch the ball in the end zone and not leave points on the board if it gets within the OU 20.
1. Play with an “edge.”
OSU feels an inferiority complex towards OU due to the lack of recent success against the Sooners. It hasn’t helped that OU has dominated the Big 12 over the past two decades and that the Sooners are the league’s only team to have qualified for the College Football Playoff since 2015.
But the Cowboys are having a special year. They’re ranked in the Top 10 and have one of the nation’s best defenses. They have a seasoned set of playmakers on offense. They need to play like they’ve got the game under control — don’t get bothered by bad calls, an early turnover, or an OU cheap shot.
If OSU plays its game free of distractions, it will defeat OU for the first time in seven years.