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Ask the Expert: Oklahoma State journalist predicts 17-point victory over Tech

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We connected with our friends at Cowboys Ride For Free to chat about the game this Saturday.

NCAA Football: Boise State at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

If you told me our best offensive players would be two freshmen, and an junior wide receiver with no real production to speak of prior to the season - I’d suggest to you that we were in for a rough year. Although, Bowman, Henry, and Wesley have been nothing short of outstanding this far and I’m optimistic once again. But, Oklahoma State is a perennial top 20 team for a reason, and catching the Cowboys in Stillwater hasn’t been kind to Red Raiders in close to 20 years.

Before we dive into the questions, I’d like to thank Phillip Slavin chatting with us this week, and everyone should drop him a follow on Twitter. Also, Cowboys Ride For Free is a great site if you wanna spy on the opposition prior to this weekend - so check them out here.

Taylor “Corn Dog” Cornelius has the physical stature of a stud QB, and pretty good stats to go along with it. Were fans surprised he won the job over some of the 4-star talent on the roster? Equally, can you speak to his strengths and weaknesses?

PS: Fans were some what surprised, though it didn’t come completely out of nowhere as Head Coach Mike Gundy had been saying it was TC’s job to lose since the Spring. While fans weren’t fans of TC after the first couple of games, his steady progress through three weeks, ability to run, and the win over Boise State has convinced most that the Cowboys can win with him under center.

As far as strengths, he is incredibly accurate in the short and intermediate passing game and throws very well on the run. Speaking of, the kid can run, and despite being 6-6 and 230 pounds. He moves well, is patient for his blockers, and has developed a pretty good read on when to tuck the ball and take off and when to throw. Speaking of, his decision making has continued to improve through three games.

His deep ball leaves something to be desired. When he has time to sit back and put some air under it, his accuracy is not great.

Overall, he’s not what you would expect from an Oklahoma State quarterback, and he’s not going to end up on an NFL roster next season. But he might surprise you with what he can do on Saturday.

Everyone knows about Justice Hill, and from what I’ve seen - he’s better now than he was before. 8.1 yards/carry is crazy, but it looks like everyone for the Cowboys is getting reps. What makes the OSU running game so elite/balanced?

PS: Overall talent. When you have four guys that could start for a lot of teams, you want to get them all the ball. Hill is the best of the bunch so he’s going to get the most touches, but J.D. King’s strength is just that; strength. He brings the muscle and the ability to bust through some tackles before going down. LD Brown has speed and is a great complementary back on this team. Chuba Hubbard is so fast and shifty, and great out in space. If it’s him versus one defender to beat, it’s game over.

Also, to Gundy’s credit, you look around at players like Rodney Anderson getting hurt. Gundy wants to limit Chuba to some extent to keep him healthy through the end of the season, and hopefully avoid injuries. With three guys as talented as Chuba, King, and Brown, there is no reason to have Hill carry the ball 30 times a game.

I noticed OSU got a new Defensive Coordinator, and it looks like there’s been a major shift in philosophy. What have the early results looked like, and where do you feel like the strength of the defense lies?

PS: So far it has been a success. Not perfect, but certainly an improvement. OSU is having great success getting to the quarterback, getting into the backfield, and creating chaos.

The strength lies in the speed of the defense and the way defensive coordinator Jim Knowles uses it. He put his best players in positions to make plays, and with the different players he can utilize in blitz packages -- including Calvin Bundage, Jordan Brailford, and Devin Harper, just to name a few -- he is able to use a variety of looks and schemes to keep offenses and QBs on their toes.... and backs.

What do you feel like are Oklahoma State’s best matchups heading into Saturday?

PS: I think Oklahoma State’s run defense will succeed against an Texas Tech running game averaging just 175.7 yards per game. As of now, OSU is giving up just 74 ypg on the ground and just 2.11 yards per attempt. If OSU makes Tech one-dimensional, even though that one dimension is pretty good, it gives OSU a major leg up in this game, and more opportunities for the defense to get after the Alan Bowman.

The tackle for loss (TFL) numbers the Cowboys produce always shock me. Thus far, you’re average 11 TFLs/game, and 5 sacks/game. That’s absolutely insane, and I pray unsustainable. How much of this is due to opponent, and how much is it your defense being plain good?

PS: Well, considering the Cowboys recorded 7 sacks and 10 TFLs against a very talented Boise State team, I think it’s more about the defense and the scheme being affective than it is just the opponents.

I think, obviously, as we get through the season and more teams get tape on what Oklahoma State is doing, some of those numbers might drop. That said, I don’t think overall the drop will be significant, more a game-by-game basis based on coaching and personnel.

This defense is built around fast, aggressive players whose goal is to get into the backfield. That’s going to stay that way until someone stops them.

Are there any key injuries or suspensions for the Cowboys?

PS: At the moment, LD Brown is banged up and could be out for the game. Kicker Zach Sinor is expected to be back for this game. Otherwise, nothing glaring at this point in the week.

Score Prediction

PS: I do think Texas Tech is going to put some points up, but I don’t see the Red Raider defense slowing OSU down all that much. I’ll take OSU 48 - TTU 31.