No. 16 Oklahoma seeks 20th win in row over Baylor
The Baylor Bears already have had their most successful regular season in the Big 12. Saturday night they will try to end it by achieving something they've never done - beating Oklahoma.
''It's just playing another team that's beat us around a little bit,'' quarterback Robert Griffin said. ''It's not like we've met all of our goals and we're just going to go out and give it our best try against Oklahoma. We're looking to go out and get a win.''
No. 16 Oklahoma (8-2, 4-2 Big 12) needs to win to stay in contention for the league's South Division title. The Sooners have won all previous 19 games against Baylor (7-4, 4-3), including their 14 conference meetings by an average margin of 25 points.
''Going to Baylor, in the end, whatever's happened in the past, we've got to play this year,'' Sooners coach Bob Stoops said. ''All those other years, they don't matter.''
Both of Oklahoma's losses this year came on the road in the last month. Now the Sooners play their last two regular-season games away from home for only the third time in 25 seasons. The Bedlam rivalry against division-leading Oklahoma State is next.
''Everybody always makes a big deal out of the road,'' running back DeMarco Murray said. ''We have to come out here and play like we're at home. ... We know that it doesn't matter where you play. It's how you play.''
To win the South title for the eighth time in 11 seasons, and get into the last scheduled Big 12 championship game, the Sooners have to win and get some help since they are tied with a Texas A&M team that already beat them.
Baylor actually began November with the Big 12 South lead after ending a 12-game losing streak against Texas. The Bears also controlled their own destiny, but have since lost to Oklahoma State and Texas A&M and were passed by both in the standings.
Baylor is still guaranteed its first winning record since 1995, the season before the league's inception. The Bears will likely snap their 15-season bowl drought that matches the longest for a team from a BCS conference.
''It's a process,'' third-year coach Art Briles said. ''When we finish up Saturday, I think we'll look at the end result and certainly feel like we made some great strides this year, without a doubt.''
Yet, Briles and his Bears aren't ready yet to look at the big picture of what has been a breakthrough season.
''Right now, we're just geared in and focused in on Oklahoma because they're a great team and a great program,'' Briles said. ''We're going to have to be at our best. We understand that.''
Oklahoma has won six of the last 10 Big 12 titles and was the national champion in 2000.
Griffin and Oklahoma's Landry Jones are two of the Big 12's three 3,000-yard passers this season, are 2-3 in total offense and each have only six interceptions. Jones has thrown for 27 touchdowns, while Griffin has thrown for 20 TDs and run for eight more.
Murray last week moved into second place on the Big 12 career list for all-purpose yards (6,195) and is only 89 yards shy of another 1,000-yard rushing season. Jay Finley has rushed for 1,073 yards and is 115 shy of Baylor's single-season record.
''They've got some beasts at the skill positions, especially at the quarterback,'' linebacker Travis Lewis said. ''We're going to have our hands full with this offense.''
With Griffin's comeback after an injury-shortened 2009 season, Baylor has changed some perceptions by ranking second in the Big 12 with 489 total yards per game. That is just ahead of Oklahoma's 481 yards per game - and both teams score more than 33 points a game.
''Now when (opponents) step on the field against us, they've got to be ready with our dangerous offense, and our defense has been opportunistic this year,'' Griffin said. ''We're just hoping to gain that respect from everybody and we know the only way to do that is to win football games.''