We take a look at the Big 12 opener in Stillwater, OK in our Oklahoma State vs. Texas Tech preview and prediction.
6 pm CT | Saturday, September 22 2018 | Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Oklahoma
TV: FS1 (Brian Custer and Ben Leber)
Local Radio: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, Dave Holcomb, and Robert Allen)
Internet Radio: https://okla.st/osutunein
Satellite Radio: Sirius 211, XM 199
QB Alan Bowman
It looks like Kliff Kingsbury has found himself another quarterback. The position was a question mark coming into the season but Bowman, a true freshmen, went 43-59 (73%) for 605 yards, five touchdowns and no interceptions against Houston last week. He faces a better overall defense this week, but the chance for big numbers is still there if he can beat the pressure and hit his receivers in space.
RB Ta’Zhawn Henry
Henry was solid against Houston, picking up 111 yards on 24 carries plus adding 4 scores. While the Red Raiders are never going to try to beat anyone with their run game it important for the rushing attack to be a threat to help slow down the opposing teams pass rush. The Cowboys battered Boise State QB Brett Rypien last week, sacking him 7 times and hurrying him on what seemed like every drop back. If Henry can pick up four or five yards when his number gets called it would stop the rushers upfront from just pinning their ears back.
LB Dakota Allen
After having a surprisingly good year last season and landing three players on the preseason All Big 12 Team, all on the defensive side and including Allen, the Raider’s defense is looking more like the Swiss cheese squads that have been common under Coach Kingsbury. Oklahoma State’s offense isn’t as explosive as it has been the last few years, but it’s still very capable, and Allen needs to play well to help contain it. Justice Hill is a star at RB and can turn one missed tackle into a long touchdown, and new QB Taylor Cornelius has enough whe els to escape the pocket to get first downs with his legs and even ran the ball himself last week 15 for two touchdowns. If Allen can be a sure tackler and stop plays when they should be stopped it will go a long way to helping his team pull the upset.
DE Jordan Brailford
Oklahoma State may have a defensive star on the rise, and against Boise State last week Brailford was spectacular. Six tackles, three sacks, and two forced fumbles, He lined up at his traditional spot, defensive end, but he also stood up as an outside linebacker. Then as middle linebacker. He spent so much time in the backfield he may as well have been a Boise State fullback. He did most his damage in the first half and when the Broncos adjusted to slow him down after halftime it just freed up his teammates to wreck havoc. Playing against a true freshmen quarterback this week Brailford and his defensive comrades will be licking their chops, hoping to pressure the young man into mistakes. If they can’t find a way to get to Bowman the Tech QB could have a lot of success against the Cowboy’s secondary. Look for a chess match when it comes to Brailford, with Cowboy’s DC Jim Knowles trying to maximize his impact on the game and Kliff Kingsbury other trying to neutralize him without letting his partner, heat seeking missile Calvin Bundage, run wild.
Was Texas Tech’s offensive performance against Ole Miss the fluke or was it the explosion against Houston last week? Ask yourself the same question about Oklahoma State’s defense: was the impressive smothering of a good Boise State team what this defense is or was it just the perfect storm? We may not know the answer to either of these questions after Saturday night but we’ll have some more information to consider. Both the Red Raider’s offense and the Cowboy’s defense stole the show last week and now they get to butt heads against each other. Can OSU continue to punish opponent’s quarterbacks and stop rushing attacks dead in their tracks? Can Texas Tech shred Power Five defenses with the arm of an 18 year old gunslinger? It’s still early in the season but this seems to be a great match up of strength on strength.
Oklahoma State 48, Texas Tech 35
The Cowboy’s pass rush has been great through the first quarter of the season and they actually lead the nations in sacks. Jim Knowles ability to generate pressure with his squad has been impressive and for me that is the deciding factor in this ballgame. Alan Bowman is a star in the making and is going to win quiet a few games for the Red Raiders but he should struggle with accuracy in the face of the Cowboys defensive line and blitzing linebackers. Bowman throws for 400 yards but also tosses two picks forced by the pressure. The Red Raider run game never gets going, and coupled with the picks they have a few too many punts and give the Oklahoma State offense too many extra chances run clock and score. Justice Hill gets close to 200 yards and Taylor Cornelius again is the red zone hero for the Cowboys, running for two more touchdowns this week.
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