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Bedlam Comparison: Looking at Common 2023 Opponents Between the Rivals

OSU and OU have three common foes this season: Kansas, Iowa State and Cincinnati.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

It’s Bedlam week, which brings the longest seven days of the football season, drawn out with comparisons and over analyzing the upcoming rivalry matchup.

Bedlam is, well, bedlam, so it’s nearly impossible to predict what will happen on the field. But one thing to peek at to even get an idea is to compare common opponents that the Cowboys and Sooners have had this season and what the results were.

Oklahoma State and Oklahoma have faced three common Big 12 foes this season: Kansas, Iowa State and Cincinnati. Let’s look at how each fared against the trio and if it gives any glimmer of how Saturday could go.


OSU: W, 39-32 (10/14)

OU: L, 38-33 (10/28)

Thoughts: This was OU’s most recent game and the favorite for Cowboy fans to enjoy. The main difference in this matchup, besides the outcome, was that OSU got to host KU, while OU had to travel to Lawrence for the Jayhawks’ homecoming. With that being said, though the football stadium was fuller than usual, it’s no Phog Allen. I’m not sure traveling to KU for a football game takes a team into enough of a harsh environment to make a difference. Most of the stadium was even vacant for a bit after a lengthy weather delay. However, I would say OSU was given an advantage inside Boone Pickens Stadium when the Jayhawks were in town.

The weather did make a difference in Lawrence, though. It was cold and rainy. That forced OU to rely on its run game, especially at the end to wind down the clock. The Sooners’ lackluster ground game finally did them in and is what gave KU enough chances to pull off the upset.

The Sooners averaged 4.9 yards a carry while having to run the ball 55 (!!) times. For comparison, though in a different environment, OSU averaged 5.7 on 38 attempts.


OSU: W, 45-13 (10/28)

OU: W, 20-6 (9/23)

Thoughts: While OU was suffering its first loss of the season Saturday, OSU was shellacking Cincinnati.

Once again, OSU hosted this opponent while OU hit the road. The Cowboys got an obvious boost from a sold-out homecoming crowd Saturday, but I’m not sure it was enough to make the amount of difference when you compare these two score margins.

Cincinnati’s run defense is stout and hadn’t allowed a running back to rush over 75 yards before it was introduced to Ollie Gordon, who ran for 271 yards and averaged 10.8 yards a carry. As a team, OSU totaled 315 rushing yards, averaging 8.5. For comparison, OU’s leading rusher against Cincy was Marcus Major, who had 15 carries for 63 yards, averaging 4.2. OU had 103 total, averaging 3.0 yards an attempt. That means Gordon, by himself, nearly tripled the Sooners’ run total as a team against the same defense.

Dillon Gabriel threw for 322 yards and a touchdown against the Bearcats, while Alan Bowman had 286 passing yards, two touchdowns and interception. Both teams, for the most part, kept Cincinnati’s offense in check.

Iowa State

OSU: L, 34-27 (9/23)

OU: W, 50-20 (9/30)

Thoughts: Close your eyes, Cowboy fans, we’re revisiting September.

Of the three games we’ve compared, this one happened in the closest timeframe, as they were a week apart. However, that was in September, and after that loss we weren’t sure if OSU would win another game. But it’s looked to be a completely different OSU team in October in a drastic turnaround.

Regardless, let’s compare. ISU is still OSU’s lone Big 12 loss, as the Cyclones’ only conference loss was to the Sooners. OU had its way with ISU, accumulating 523 total yards, as Gabriel threw for 366 yards and three touchdowns, plus two rushing scores. At the time, this was OSU’s best offensive performance in nearly a year and it came a week after scoring only one touchdown against South Alabama. The Cowboys had 409 yards of offense in their first game with one quarterback behind center and Gordon actually getting the ball.

Defense was shaky for OSU, though, giving up 348 passing yards and three touchdowns with no turnovers to freshman Rocco Becht in his Big 12 debut. OU forced Becht into throwing two interceptions, going 15-of-33 for 188 yards and two touchdowns.

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