We enter this week 3-0, and face a loaded Oklahoma State Cowboys team that has a wealth of talent for 2017. Luckily, we also see our Red Raiders flying high following a dominating performance against Houston. Meanwhile, the Cowboys had a shocking loss to TCU at home. This series has been dominated by Oklahoma State for close to a decade, but it’s possible this is the most talented group Mike Gundy has had since the days of Brandon Weeden in 2011.
I’d like to thank Micah Allen again (toss her a follow for OSU info), and the people at Cowboys Ride for Free. They do a outstanding blog for all things Oklahoma State. Check out their site for added context for what we can expect Saturday. While you’re at it, toss them a follow on Twitter as well.
So let’s dive in!
1. The Cowboys have looked unstoppable, and extremely human within a span of two weeks. Which version of the team do you expect to show up on Saturday?
Micah: Honestly, your guess is as good as mine. I like to think they'll come in mad at how they played last week and ready to bounce back and put up 60 points. But it is a night game in Lubbock and there's no telling what could happen. All I know is that if we play like we played last week, we won't win.
2. Most Tech fans are familiar with the one that got away in James Washington. Do you feel like he's the X-Factor to a Tech secondary that hasn't faced a legitimate deep threat this year? If no, who needs to step up for OSU to win?
Micah: James Washington is most certainly Rudolph's favorite target. The only problem is that defenses know that and so they've been double, sometimes triple covering him. But man when he can get open, you're not gonna catch him. And it's a beautiful, beautiful thing. I think while there will be other receivers that get catches. In particular Marcell Ateman, he has the same number of catches as Washington, just for less yardage. Washington remains the main target. #Rudolph2Washington
3. What's impressed me most about OSU, outside of the receivers, is the depth of the run game. What can we expect from Justice Hill, and how much does Mason Rudolph use his legs to compliment this group.
Micah: Justice Hill is so powerful, expect him to do whatever he's gotta do to get those extra 1-2 yards for a first down. If he's has to carry a D-Lineman across to do it, he will. Justice is gonna be a huge factor if Oklahoma State is gonna do anything on the ground. Justice is our No.1 rusher and I've been impressed with him from day 1. He brings the ability to add variety to the offense. He's sneaky, knows how to avoid blocks and can get the ball where it needs to go. Mason can run the ball if he's got to, But he's definitely more of a passing QB with a cannon. But, He can recognize when he can keep the ball and get the first down himself and is capable of making progress with his legs if his guys can't get open.
4. What do you feel like are Oklahoma State's best matchups heading into Saturday?
Micah: James Washington .vs. well....pretty much anyone. Tech has struggled defending the pass and I think that James Washington could have a field day with them. He finds ways to get open and can just be a thorn in defenses' side all day long. Like I said earlier, you lose him for a second and he's gone.
5. I was blown away to see that OSU averaged 9 TFLs/game. Has that been from an emphasis on defensive aggression (blitzes), or are players winning their individual matchups?
Micah: This defense has had the speed that Oklahoma State defenses in the past haven't had. They're getting to the ball faster and (with the exception of last week) making their tackles more continuously than they have been. There has been some emphasis with aggression that Glenn Spencer has been preaching to his guys. So it's really a mixture of both.
6. Are there any key injuries or suspensions for the Cowboys?
Micah: O-lineman Larry Williams is out for the season
D-Lineman Kevin Henry is out for the season
WR Chris Lacy has been out since the Pitt game and is day to day
O-Lineman Zach Crabtree is day to day
Cornerback Madre Harper and Linebacker Brendan Vaughn have been removed from the team.
7. Score Prediction
Micah: 41-35 Cowboys.