No. 22 OK State seeks back-to-back wins in Bedlam over Oklahoma

Field-Level Media

After coming on in the second half to lead Oklahoma State to a comeback win over Iowa State, quarterback Spencer Sanders has been final about his availability for this week’s game against Oklahoma.

“There’s no doubt about it,” Sanders said.

After losing three of their previous four games, the win over the Cyclones gave the No. 22 Cowboys (7-3, 4-3 Big 12) some much-needed momentum ahead of their annual Bedlam game with host Sooners (5- 5, 2-5) Saturday in Norman, Okla.

This is only the fourth time in the history of the rivalry that Oklahoma State has been ranked and the Sooners have not. The last such instance came in 2009, when unranked Oklahoma knocked out the No. 11 Cowboys, 27-0.

Sanders is one of the main reasons Oklahoma State made it into the rankings. He completed 9 of 13 passes for 84 yards and a touchdown after coming off the bench in Iowa State’s 20-14 loss. The shoulder injury that kept Sanders out of nearly two full games remains a factor.

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“We’re going to have to treat him the same way we’ve treated him for the last five weeks,” Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. “But it’s good news, though, if he feels like that because we have to prepare him to play. But he’s the one who decides whether he plays or not.”

Sanders was a big part of the Cowboys’ 37-33 win over the Sooners last season, passing for 214 yards and a touchdown and rushing for 93 yards and a score. Oklahoma State is looking for straight wins against OU for the first time since 2001-02.

But Oklahoma is in a much different position than it has been for this game for some time. The Sooners are still looking to secure bowl eligibility for what would be the 24th straight season.

Oklahoma has lost consecutive games and five of its last seven. One of the Sooners’ highlights recently has been senior running back Eric Gray, who has averaged 148.5 rushing yards over his last four games.

“He’s been so consistent on and off the field — his daily routine, his time in the building,” Sooners offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby said. “Since we’ve been here, Eric has been a pro.”

Both teams have struggled defensively all season, with the Cowboys trailing the Big 12, giving up 452.9 yards per game. The Sooners are eighth at 432.3. Oklahoma State struggled particularly against the pass, giving up nearly 290 yards per game through the air.

The Sooners, however, struggled to get their deep passing game to play out consistently. Marvin Mims had long passes from Dillon Gabriel in each of the past two games, but several other deep balls went uncompleted.

Oklahoma hopes to get some high school help this week. Cornerback Jaden Davis and safety Key Lawrence missed last week’s loss to West Virginia, while Justin Broiles left that game. Sooners coach Brent Venables said he expects all three to play on Saturday. –Field-Level Media