TEXAS LONGHORNS v. OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS
This week, it’s another team from north of our beautiful Texas borders. While I don’t have nearly as much animosity toward the Oklahoma State Cowboys as I do their in-state rivals, I still don’t like them. I don’t like Stillwater, it smells like cow manure even before you hit town – honestly, how could you walk to class day-in and day-out in that – although Eskimo Joe’s is a nice stop-in as their one and only tourist attraction. In addition to watching out for former OSU basketball coach Eddie Sutton driving drunk on the roads of Stillwater, you should also watch out for buckets of money falling from the sky in the form of alumni donations. I truly believe football coach Mike Gundy has compiled this team with money – money for recruiting, money for facilities, and long-term promises of football prowess based on donations, etc. Unfortunately (and intelligently, in my opinion as a public relations professional), they have temporarily halted all renovations to the ‘Pokes football facilities until the current financial crisis is averted. Either way, this Gundy team is 7-0 and poised to make a run in the Big 12’s South division. So, like Mack Brown and the team did with the ou game ball – let’s bury the Missouri win. Let’s put last week’s game behind us – it was a great win – and move on to our next tough opponent …we’re two-for-two so far in our big game schedule, and we’ve got at least two more big ones to go. Below, quick highlights/lowlights from the Missouri game and then my Okie State prediction and preview.
The Recap: Texas v. Missouri
Final Score: 56-31
From the kick-off, this game was never in question, and the score is definitely not representative of what happened in Darrel K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on Saturday. This Texas team absolutely dominated the Tigers, and I loved it. The Texas offense scored TDs on nearly every single possession in the first half to go up 35-3 at halftime. Against the #11 (and until 2 weeks ago, #3) team in the country – that is phenomenal. The defensive line put pressure on Missouri QB Chase Daniel all night with only three and four man rushes, and that let the LBs step back and play coverage to help out the secondary. Missouri got nothing down the field in the passing game, and was held to underneath passes and short yardage gains most of the game. Will Muschamp continues to be my hero…I think he should run for president. More than you know, this Texas defense is winning games for us.
Texas QB Colt McCoy surpassed Vince Young for the all-time school record in total TDs accounted for with 82. He still has the rest of this season and next to improve on that mark.
McCoy completed 29 of 32 passes (over 90 percent completion rate) for 337 yards and two TDs. He also ran for two TDs.
RB Chris Ogbonnaya ran for 65 yards on 13 carries, with two 2 TDs, and also had six catches for 68 yards. He has become the RB we have been waiting to find all season.
RB Vondrell McGee also ended the game well with six carries for 58 yards – a 9.7 yards per carry average.
Sophomore WR Brandon Collins became a nice third WR complement with six catches for 76 yards and was the second leading receiver on Saturday.
WR Malcolm Williams had an amazing TD catch of 32 yards over two Missouri defenders. Fantastic.
Back-up QB John Chiles threw one pass, complete for 51 yards and a TD to true freshman WR Dan Buckner. Watch out for Buckner, he’s the future at WR for Texas.
Texas is averaging a monumental 48 points per game.
DE Brian Orakpo – defensive pressure all night long…there is nothing more to say about this kid other than he is going to be playing on Sundays next year.
The Texas defense held Missouri possession after possession in the first half. Missouri had more 3-and-outs in the first half than they did in five total games this season.
The Texas rush defense is #2 in the nation, giving up a mere 48 yards per game, and didn’t give up a rushing TD until the Missouri game.
The Texas defense in the second half – while we knew Missouri would score points, I would have liked to have seen the defense hold them a bit more in the second half.
The Texas pass defense is ranked #111 in the country, giving up an average of 275 yards per game and 12 TDs through the air on the season.
DB Chykie Brown injured himself in the first half, and didn’t play the rest of the game. We need him to get better and be ready to play after this weekend.
Penalties – eight for 80 yards. We need to eliminate the silly penalties and play good, clean football.
Special teams…I’ll give them credit for not giving up the big special teams play, but we need to hold down the lanes in the kicking game.
Eyes Of TX’s Prediction
Texas 52, Oklahoma State 28
Oklahoma State (7-0)
This Cowpokes team is #6 in the country for a reason – they will be the most balanced team Texas plays on offense all year. They control the clock, and they have the ability to beat you on the ground and through the air. Their offense, in particular, has been spot-on all year and returns a lot of starters. They are consistent, and can put up points like most of the other offenses in the Big 12 this year. Here’s how they look across the board.
This Okie State team is extremely balanced on the offensive side of the ball, and they have numerous leaders on the field who make this offense go. As a team, they average 293.8 yards per game rushing (leading the Big 12, and fifth-best in the country), and 218 yards per game passing. They are one of eight teams in the country – and the only team in the Big 12 – that averages more than 200 yards per game in both rushing and passing, and that allows them to average 46 points per game. Let’s start at QB – 6’3”, 210-pound junior Zac Robinson. Believe it or not, his pass efficiency rating is better than Colt McCoy’s, at 191.93. He has completed 70.1 percent of his passes, good for 1,488 yards and 14 TDs (and only four INTs) through the air. In addition, Robinson’s got the best running game of any QB the ‘Horns have faced this year, accounting for 249 yards and 5 TDs on the ground – the team’s fourth-leading rusher. In summation, he is the ideal zone-read QB, with a good arm, good accuracy and excellent legs. Like Texas, he also has a stable of RBs that account for their potent rushing attack. The ground game is led by 5’8”, 190-pound sophomore Kendall Hunter, who leads the conference and is sixth in the nation with 862 yards and nine TDs – he averages 143 yards per game. His complement is 6’1”, 210-pound junior Keith Toston, who has 487 yards and seven TDs on the season for an impressive 7.5 yards per carry average. Combined with FB Beau Johnson opening holes with huge blocks, this running game is dangerous. At WR, there is one guy to worry about, 6’2”, 210-pound sophomore Dez Bryant, who has nearly 50 percent of the team’s receptions. He has caught 45 passes for 809 yards and 11 TDs…plus two TD returns in the kicking game. He leads the Big 12 in receiving yards per game with a 115.6 yard average. Other WRs are Damian Davis and Bo Bowling, but they should not be the focus of the ‘Pokes passing attack. However, like Missouri, they have a talented TE in 6’6”, 260-pound senior Brandon Pettigrew. Like ou’s Gresham and Missouri’s Coffman at the same position, he has great size and speed and is a big receiving threat, with 11 catches this season…expect Mike Gundy to find ways to get him the ball after watching the Texas defense the last two weeks – he had a big game against Texas last year. Finally, the offensive line is fantastic and they are anchored by tackle Russell Okung. Their OL is experienced and strong, and last year they allowed Okie State to lead the league in rushing, and allowed just 13 sacks. So far this season, they’ve only allowed five sacks and nearly 2,000 yards of offense through seven games.
On the defensive side of the ball they are, like most defenses against potent Big 12 spread offenses, just mediocre. But, they excel at forcing turnovers – with eight INTs on the season – but, they don’t pressure opposing QBs much, totaling only eight sacks this season. Their DL is small at tackle, but big at the defensive ends, which leads me to believe they are just too slow off the line to cause many problems in the trenches. But, they hold their own in the running game, stuffing the lanes and allowing only 116 yards per game on the ground – but, the DL lets the LBs make the plays in the running game. And, the LBs are the top four tacklers for Okie State, and led by 6’1”, 210-pound Andre Sexton, who has 57 tackles this season – three for a loss (including a sack), an INT, four defended passes, four QB pressures, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery. In the middle, 6’1”, 240-pound junior Orie Lemonis is a key run stopper with 45 tackles and plays well inside the tackles. On the outside, 6’3”, 225-pound junior Patrcik Lavine can play dual roles – pass rusher or pass defender – similar to Texas’ Sergio Kindle, and he leads the team with two INTs. The secondary is decent, and led by CB Jacob Lacey – who had several INTs against McCoy last year. They don’t excel at pass defense, and while they have eight total INTs in the secondary, they have also given up 12 TDs passes on the year. Overall, the secondary gives up about 219 yards per game through the air. Their special teams is where they excel – WR Dez Bryant will return kicks, and he averages 20.6 yards per return, with two TD returns. He is complemented by Perrish Cox, who averages 32.6 yards per return and has also returned a kick for a TD. Their punter, Matt Fodge, is excellent with a 43.6 yard average, and their FG kicker Dan Bailey is 7-for-10 on FG attempts, but hasn’t made anything beyond 27 yards this year. Their kick coverage is great, allowing only 22 yards per kick-off and 1.2 yards per punt.
Texas has looked great the past two weeks, but this dual-attack team will provide some challenges for the Texas defense. I think the Texas offense will continue to exploit the passing game, and if we can take some pressure off of McCoy with a decent running game, the offense should click like it has week-in and week-out. The special team’s game concerns me, and Texas will really need to cover well in the kicking game to make sure Okie State doesn’t steal the momentum in the game. This game should be a win for the ‘Horns, but don’t think that the ‘Pokes have forgotten the recent history in this series (multiple late Texas comeback wins) – they’ll look to redeem themselves with the best team they’ve had in recent memory.
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