HOW OSU CAN WIN BEDLAM
Mason Rudolph - Rudolph has had a great junior season for the Cowboys. On the year he has completed 64% of his passes for 3,591 yards with 25 touchdowns to just 4 interceptions. He has even added a bit of a rushing game this year with 5 rushing touchdowns on the season. He has really improved on ball security this year and has taken his game on the road. He still has one of the more interesting stats that I’ve seen with him being undefeated against every Big 12 team except Baylor (who he is 0-3 against). If he is given time in the pocket he will be able to pick apart an Oklahoma secondary who ranks 122nd in FBS in passing yards allowed at 287.5 yards per game. I look for him to have a big game in Norman again.
Justice Hill and Chris Carson – The Oklahoma State run game has been a revelation this year. Over the past few years this has been a problem area for the Cowboys and that might be an understatement. With an improving offensive line, Justice Hill, and a resurgent Chris Carson the Cowboys have quietly had an effective run game over the second half of the season. This aspect of the game is very important for the Cowboys as we all know that Mike Gundy offenses strive for balance and are way more dangerous when they are balanced. Justice Hill is on the verge of setting the freshman rushing record at Oklahoma State and should have a very good chance of passing the 1,000 yard mark. Chris Carson came to Oklahoma State with a lot of expectations and underwhelmed in his first year. Ever since coming back from an early season injury he has been everything that the Cowboys expected and more. If this duo can get going and establish an effective run game to help take pressure off of Rudolph then watch out.
Zach Sinor – I know what you are thinking here…a punter really? Yes, really. Sinor has been a huge part of the success for the Cowboys this year. He doesn’t put the ball the furthest but what he does specialize at is pinning teams deep within their own territory. The Cowboys have often dominated opponents on average starting position and this is huge for a defense that practices the bend but don’t break type of defense. It will be even more important in this game as Dede Westbrook and Joe Mixon are very dangerous in the return game. I look for Sinor to continue to have success at pinning the Sooners within their own twenty and nullifying that part of the Oklahoma attack.
HOW OSU CAN LOSE BEDLAM
Turnovers – Oklahoma struggled for the majority of the season in forcing turnovers but in the last two games they have forced seven turnovers. If Oklahoma State reverts back to their early season struggles with ball security they will play right into the hands of Oklahoma. One thing that you cannot do if you are the Cowboys is give a really explosive Oklahoma offense a short field and make it easy on them. This hasn’t been a problem in the Cowboys current seven game winning streak and I don’t think it will be an issue. If it does happen I could definitely see the Cowboys losing.
Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine - Let’s be honest here. We all remember the scene from last year’s Bedlam with Mixon and Perine running wild for the majority of the game. I’m sure the Cowboy’s defense has not forgotten this and will definitely make stopping this duo a priority. With that being said the OSU defense has struggled against the run this season and will most likely struggle to contain them for the whole game. It’s really about limiting the damage that they can do by winning the field position battle and limiting the big plays. If the Cowboys struggle against the run like they did last year it could be a really long night for the Pokes.
Dede Westbrook – Westbrook has far exceeded my expectations of him going into the season. I realized that he was a good receiver and could be a great wide receiver. I never thought that he could be the most explosive wide receiver in the country. He has proven me wrong and has put himself into the Heisman trophy conversation. Oklahoma State must find a way to contain Westbrook and not give up the big play to him. This is easier said than done when the defense is trying to contain Mixon and Perine. The majority of Westbrook’s receiving touchdowns on the year have been on play action passes and it’s easy to see why. The Cowboys secondary has played much better in the second half of the season and will have to continue this improvement. If the play action pass to Westbrook is working the Cowboys could be in trouble.
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