Oklahoma State football faces Baylor in the 2021 Big 12 championship game in Arlington, Tex. at 11 a.m. on Saturday. The game, which will be televised on ABC, marks the Cowboys’ first appearance in school history in a conference title game.
With the unveiling of the College Football Playoff rankings heading into conference championship weekend, the message sent by the CFP Committee is pretty clear: the Cowboys are in the playoff if they win and No. 1 Georgia takes care of business against No. 3 Alabama.
There are some other game results that can help OSU, too, in making it into the top four: No. 21 Houston could upset undefeated No. 4 Cincinnati in the AAC championship game and No. 13 Iowa could upset No. 2 Michigan in the Big Ten championship game a week after the Wolverines ended a -year losing streak to their archrival Ohio State.
Either one of these results coupled with an OSU victory would pave the way for the Cowboys to become the first Big 12 team other than Oklahoma to qualify for the College Football Playoff.
Here are six numbers to know for OSU’s Big 12 championship game matchup against Baylor:
Baylor’s Trestan Ebner owns the longest play in Big 12 championship game history, having collected an 81-yard touchdown catch from then-quarterback Jacob Zeno in the 2019 title game against OU.
The senior is a big-play threat that the Cowboys must account for on the ground and through the air: he has gained 746 rushing yards this season and has 25 catches for 257 yards, an average of 10.3 yards per reception.
Baylor averages 227.4 rushing yards per game, which is the most out of any power conference team in the nation. Sure, this figure trails run-oriented programs such as Air Force, Army, Navy, and Northern Illinois, but the Bears gain even more on the ground than Top 10 teams such as Michigan and Ole Miss.
OSU held the Bears as a team to 107 rushing yards in the Cowboys’ 24-14 victory on Oct. 2 in Stillwater earlier this fall. Limiting the two-pronged rushing attack led by Abram Smith (the nation’s seventh-leading rusher) and Ebner will be key.