The Baylor Bears have beaten the Oklahoma Sooners just three times in 27 attempts, but a fourth victory could put them in firm control to eventually take the Big 12 regular-season crown.
Baylor (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) welcomes in Oklahoma (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) to McLane Stadium for the Bears' most-hyped game in years. ESPN's College Gameday returns to Waco for the first time since 2015.
"This is a chance for us to show the country Baylor, Baylor football and Waco," Baylor head coach Matt Rhule said. "Players don't have much to do with it. I don't have much to do with it. I think I show up for like 10 minutes on Saturday and kind of go over there and get on set and then leave. But, hopefully for everyone else, I hope you turn the TV on and it's a mass of students and people and everyone. I hope it's a pretty cool event, really, for the area."
The Bears held off the TCU Horned Frogs 29-23 in triple-overtime to stay undefeated. It's the fifth time in the last seven games that Baylor has been involved in a matchup decided by eight points or less.
MATCHUP TO WATCH: OKLAHOMA 'O' VS. BAYLOR 'D'
Baylor, which is a 10-point underdog against Oklahoma, is one of five remaining unbeaten FBS programs. The Bears' 19th-ranked scoring defense (19.0 points per game) continues to clamp down on opposing offenses even after senior linebacker Clay Johnston was ruled out for the season in mid-October with a knee injury.
Terrel Bernard had significant playing time before that injury, but he's stepped in for Johnston and exceeded expectations, evident by the 19 total tackles, sack and interception he registered against TCU
"Them [sic] guys are probably the best on film that we've seen to this point," Oklahoma junior wide receiver CeeDee Lamb said. "We have to come out with our best foot forward and play to our potential."
"They're very fast, very good athletes on defense and take good routes to the ball," Oklahoma senior quarterback Jalen Hurts said. "Like any other time, we have to be ready for these guys. They're really good."
The Sooners will play their first game this season without the team's third-leading rusher Trey Sermon. The junior running back suffered a season-ending knee injury in Oklahoma's 42-41 win over Iowa State.
Hurts, who leads the Sooners with 3,611 total yards and 39 touchdowns, will still have Kennedy Brooks and Rhamondre Stevenson to try to sustain that rushing attack that averages 250 yards per game.
"There’s times where it’s like defending the single wing, they’re running quarterback counter with lead tailbacks blocking for them so they present a lot of challenges and a lot of that’s credit to (Hurts)," Rhule said. "He's a great runner, has great vision, he’s accurate, he can do it in a multitude of different ways."
Oklahoma is ranked first in the NCAA in offensive yards (587.3) per game and is second in scoring (48.4 points per game). Plenty of that production comes from Lamb, who is tied for the NCAA lead in touchdown receptions (13) with Arkansas State's Omar Bayless.