Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. ET showdown on ABC featuring Oklahoma State against Oklahoma renews an in-state rivalry with a path to the Big 12 Championship Game
“I give it to Oklahoma’s offense,” Pollack said when asked about a matchup between the OU offense and OSU defense. “I’ll tell you what — (Sooners redshirt freshman quarterback) Spencer Rattler’s been a different player since he got benched. And if you were watching the first half of the Texas game, they’re like, ‘Dude, go sit down. You’re turning the ball over too much.’ And since that point, he’s only turned the ball over only time, responsible for nine touchdowns. He’s just been on fire.
“Spencer Rattler’s the best quarterback that I’ve seen outside the pocket and he does a great job of buying time. And by the way, he’s going to have to do that against Oklahoma State. They’ve got great pressure.”
Through seven games on the 2020 season, Rattler — a first-year starter — has completed 141 of 208 passes (67.8 percent) for 2,018 yards and 18 touchdowns to six interceptions while adding three rushing scores. He hit his turning point Oct. 10 against Texas, a 53-45 four-overtime win over the Longhorns, getting benched briefly but ultimately right the ship after a pair of losses to Kansas State (38-35, Sept. 26) and Iowa State (37-30 Oct. 3).
Oklahoma State, meanwhile, has been trending in the opposite direction after a 4-0 start. The Cowboys suffered a 41-34 overtime loss Oct. 31 to Texas and bounced back with a 20-18 win Nov. 7 over Kansas State, but Pollack does not see the same offense that star running back Chuba Hubbard flourished in 2019.
“Oklahoma’s defense has been playing much better, too,” Pollack said. “I trust them more than I have in the past. And Oklahoma State’s offense still — I don’t know what they are. I don’t know who they are, consistently, week in and week out. They’re OK. They don’t have anything to hang their hat on.
“They don’t run the football like they did a year ago. So Oklahoma State still has a lot to prove to me with consistency and what their season is going to become. But they’re still ranked really high, they still control their own (Big 12) destiny. But it just kind of feels like Oklahoma’s coming like they always do every year. They might have their hiccup, but they’re on their way.”
Through six games as a fourth-year junior on the 2020 season, Hubbard has taken 125 carries for 581 yards (4.6 average) and five touchdowns. He broke out with his 328 rushes for 2,094 yards (6.4 average) and 21 touchdowns over 13 games in 2019.