Throw it long or throw it short, Baylor wide receiver Antwan Goodley will take it the distance.
Goodley has an unreal 16 receptions of 25 yards or longer this season. Five of his 11 touchdown receptions this season covered at least 61 yards.
The redshirt junior had been a bit player prior to the graduation of Terrance Williams, who was drafted in the third round by the Dallas Cowboys, but Goodley has picked up the slack this season. Listed at 5-foot-10 and 225 pounds, Goodley has rare speed and displays it both before and after the catch -- he's just as likely to get vertical on a quick screen pass as he is on a go route.
That's how you end up averaging 22.4 yards per catch, as Goodley leads the Bears with 48 receptions for 1,075 yards this season. That impressive stat line is only one reason the BU balanced spread offense puts defensive coordinators in such a bind.
If a defense uses safeties primarily in run support, Goodley, Tevin Reese -- who averaged 25 yards per catch before dislocating his wrist -- and Levi Norwood (seven receptions for 156 yards and two touchdowns in BU's first game without Reese last week) can all stretch the field. Drop the safeties into coverage, and BU has multiple running backs capable of gaining yards in chunks.
"They take a lot of shots downfield, because of (quarterback Bryce Petty's) accuracy and the speed of the wide receivers," Iowa State defensive coordinator Wally Burnham told Fox Sports Southwest. "It's hard to get people in the box to stop the run. If you have success in that, they'll throw the heck out of the ball."
Oklahoma State would seem to have the one player capable of erasing Goodley this week in lockdown cornerback Justin Gilbert.
Gilbert (6-0, 200) has the size to jam Goodley at the line and shed blockers to limit the effectiveness of screens. Gilbert also has the burst to match Goodley's, as he has shown as a kick returner during his impressive career.
However, Gilbert was spotted at the Cowboys' basketball game Tuesday night with his arm in a sling, the Oklahoman reported. Gilbert hurt his shoulder in the impressive win over Texas last week, intercepting two passes to increase his total this season to six.
If Gilbert cannot play, OSU will have to gamble on where to allocate help given the dropoff that would occur if other defensive backs have to handle Goodley.
As West Virginia defensive coordinator Keith Patterson said, "You've got to pick if you want to die a fast death or a slow death."
Goodley specializes in the former, as OSU might soon find out, especially if it does not have Gilbert available.