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Three Matchups: Ramon Richards vs. The World

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Bedlam 2016 has studs all over the place, let’s take a look and see how they match up against each other.

1. Can OSU pound the ball in Bedlam?

How the Pokes are able to attack a vulnerable Sooner run defense (down numerous defenders) will go a long way in deciding this game. The last time we saw the Bedlam teams play was when the Cowboys throttled the Frogs (and a Gary Patterson-coached defense nonetheless) in Fort Worth and the Sooners emptied Milan Puskar Stadium by halftime against a top-15 Mountaineer team.

In the world we live in, the Cowboys gashed the Frogs for 334 yards on the ground (7.4 yards per rush) against the third best rushing defense in the conference. OU won in a similarly impressive fashion but West Virginia ran wherever they wanted for 388 yards in a blowout loss

In a Big 12 with lots of offensive talent, it’s understandable to get lit up sometimes. But the running back that went scorched earth on OU (West Virginia’s Justin Crawford) hadn’t exactly been an All-Big 12 running back to that point.

ProFootballFocus graded Crawford as the 21st-best running back in the league and he had two 100 yard games in conference play (one against KU) going into the game. So what does all of this mean? The Pokes are rolling downhill like there’s a Les Miles-esque crown on every field they’re playing on.

Rushing for 6.64 yards per carry over the past three games (for what would be first in the league in conference play) and lining up against a team that’s been dominated up front bodes well for the Cowboys. Let’s play some keep-a-way from Baker.

2. Baker vs. Mason

The poised 6’5″ dart-throwing, pro-style Cowboy from South Carolina versus the gun-slinging, un-sackable, deep-ball-throwing swaggering Sooner. In the top three of nearly every quarterback category in conference play, we were robbed of a premier matchup in Bedlam last year… But not this time around.

Quarterback Rating Passing Yards Touchdowns/Interceptions Yards Per Attempt
Baker Mayfield 194.7 3381 35 and 8 10.9
Mason Rudolph 160.39 3591 25 and 4 9.2

Rudolph finds himself with more opportunity given a clearly struggling defense is on deck, Bob’s worst in recent history. Lining up against the 121st-rated pass defense in the NCAA with an arsenal of weapons and a pair of horses behind you will give any quarterback a world of confidence.

Baker finds himself in a similar position with defenses having to stack the box on the regular to try and neutralize the two headed monster that is Mixon/Perine. Baker extends plays just long enough (only sacked 17 times this season), giving Dede Westbrook just enough time to separate.

Crimson and Cream Machine writer Jack Shields talked about the two types of offenses that have given OU fits this year, one being the ball hogging K-State ground-centric unit and the other being the prolific Texas Tech deep ball.

Mason will have both thriving ground game and plethora of deep threats at the ready, the question will just be which way Mike & Mike decide to go. Rudolph and Mahomes are the only quarterbacks with 30+ passes of over 30 yards and Mason leads the league with four passes over 70. If the weather holds up Mason could rack up enough air time to qualify for a Southwest Airlines Buddy Pass.

What a time to be alive watching a couple all timers slinging the rock around with a Big 12 title on the line, maybe even the best quarterback showdown in conference history.

3. Will Ramon slowdown “Maybrook” enough?

The OU offense has been dynamic (understatement) in 2016, primarily because of how effectively OC Lincoln Riley uses his weapons.  Primary among them is who ESPN considers the top college football player currently, Dede Westbrook.

Over the last eight games, Westbrook has been an unstoppable force with 1,200+ yards and 15 touchdowns. ProFootballFocus wrote a great article on Bedlam sharing good thoughts on the “Maybrook” (Mayfield to Westbrook) connection and it’s importance in the game.

maybrook-quick-feet-1

Disregarding the fact that it feels like OU is milking Westbrook like me playing NCAA Football on Xbox trying to force a guy for the Biletnikoff, Riley has been super effective at getting the ball into the  hands of his playmaker while everybody in the stadium knows where it’s going. That’s the beauty of a balanced offense though, you can’t stop everything.

So what are the Pokes to do? Time for some RealTalk with Ramon Richards, the polarizing junior OSU cornerback who is lines up on the side of the field that Westbrook does. No. 7 will have his biggest challenge of the year this week and he’s likely to have some over the top help from one of the conference’s best in safety Jordan Sterns.

But what does Ramon bring to the table?

The love affair OSU fans have with Richards is best described by PFB publisher Kyle Porter in that “Ramon is like one of your children, there’s times where he drives you absolutely insane then out of nowhere he just does something that warms your heart towards him.”

Westbrook is feeling pretty confident going into the game, there should be some pretty good theater this week between the two. Ramon is tied for the team lead in interceptions with three and if he can pull down one more against the hated rivals, I get the feeling the orange-faithful will be glad to have him.

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