Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 game in our Oklahoma State vs. Oregon State preview and prediction.
9:30 p.m. CT, Friday, August 30, 2019. Reser Stadium, Corvallis, Oregon
TV: FS1 (Justin Kutcher, Petros Papadakis and Shane Vereen)
Home Radio: Beavers Radio Network (Mike Parker, Jim Wilson, and Ron Callan)
Away Radio: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, John Holcomb, and Robert Allen)
RB Chuba Hubbard
I’m just going to say it: Chuba Hubbard will be a better running back this season for Oklahoma State than Justice Hill was last season. That’s not meant to knock Hill, who is looking like he might be the best back on his NFL team this season, but I just think Hubbard is that good. He showed flashes as Hill’s back up last season and really progressed fast when Hill went down to injury the last 3rd of the season. He can catch out of the backfield, can pass block, can make defenders miss or lower his shoulder and get a few more yards. Oh yeah and he’s maybe the fastest player to wear a Pistol Pete helmet since Tyreek Hill. The Oklahoma State offensive line should be improved under new offensive line coach, the legendary Charlie Dickey, and last season Oregon States run defense was one of the worst in the nation. If the game stays close and Hubbard gets enough touches he may hit 200 yards.
Dru Brown or Spencer Sanders? Mike Gundy hasn’t said. He did say both would play against the Beavers, maybe even all season. Then he hinted at naming a starter later this week. Regardless of what they do whoever ends up playing, Brown or Sanders or both, is obviously very important to the Cowboys success but maybe not in the way that you think. Oklahoma State might have the best individual wide receiver and the best individual running back in the Big 12 in Tylan Wallace and Chuba Hubbard, so they don’t necessarily need their QB to be a star. While they would love to have an absolute stud under center what they want first is a game manager. Whoever can limit mistakes and make the right play will probably be who Gundy ultimately stick with.
RB Jermar Jefferson
All Jefferson did as a freshman was rush for 1,380 yards on 239 carries. That’s 5.8 yards a pop. Oklahoma State wasn’t exactly good on defense last season and it is replacing not only all four defensive line starters and their primary backups, they have a safety playing linebacker at least for the first game due to injuries in camp that limited the practice time of heat-seeking missle LB Calvin Bundage. I expect the Beavers to run Jefferson early and often to test the Cowboys new line and banged up ‘backers. If Jefferson gets going it might be a long day for the Cowboys. Keeping the game close into the fourth quarter and giving themselves a chance would be the perfect scenario for the home team.
Oregon State was finished the season ranked 129th out of 130 in scoring defense, run defense, and total defense. That’s almost so bad it can’t get worse. But they are trying to get it fixed fast with the additions of two linebacker transfers from Nebraska and Oklahoma, and a junior college grab on the defensive line. Avery Roberts (from NU) and Addison Gumbs (from OU) are instant talent upgrades at linebacker, and Jordan Whittley (Laney JC) is a 300-pounder the young defensive line could certainly use. The Beavers should be better on defense this year but how much better and how soon will it click is the question. Maybe a couple of ex-blue blood linebackers will be the boost they need. Oregon State wasn’t a slouch on offense last year and all the need to for the defense to occasionally slow down the other team and they will have a shot to beat a few teams this season.
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Talking about the quarterbacks and who beats out who here would be easy. But I’m not going to do that because despite them being the obvious choice I think something else besides their play will actually decide that battle: the offensive line. The rumor around Stillwater is that Brown and Sanders are basically the same QB with a few minor differences. Brown tends to see things faster and is just a step ahead on his timing and his reads, and makes less mistakes. Spencer Sanders has a slightly bigger arm and is more fleet of foot, but struggles to keep up with his senior competition mentally. That’s where the offensive line come in. If they can protect well enough that Sanders’ break away speed isn’t needed to save broken plays then Brown may get the nod. But if the line is porous they may go with the young sprinter who can turn a bust into a touchdown.
Can the Beaver’s play ANY defense? I mentioned the stats once already but I’ll do it again. They were 129th of of 130 teams in run defense, scoring defense, and yards per game. It’s hard to win any games with those numbers which is why they went 2-10 last season. The offense wasn’t terrible but also wasn’t great, gaining over 400 yards a game on average but scoring only 26 points a game against the 46 the defense gave up. The defense has to be better by at least 10 ppg game this season to give the offense more chances to score. More stops means more times for the towering QB (6 foot 7 Jake Luton), the experienced receivers (11 of the top 12 pass catchers return), and the dangerous running back (almost 1400 yards from the returning starter last season) to go down and score points. Oklahoma State is breaking in a new offensive coordinator and in the middle of having a quarterback controversy. And in a Cowboy defense that should allow the Beavers to have success sets up nice for the Oregon State defense. The need to get a few stops and let the offense pound it out on the ground. If they can get ahead and force whichever Cowboy QB is on the field to feel the pressure of trying to catch up while also trying to impress his coaches the mistakes may pile up and the beaver defense could start the year out on a good note.
Oklahoma State 41 Oregon State 28
I feel like Oregon State is better but still also a year away from a real jump. Oklahoma State may have only been 7-6 last year but they went 4-5 against ranked teams including 2 top 10 wins and a 1 point loss to another top 10 team. Their problem was discipline and focus against the lower ranked teams on their schedule, not talent, and Mike Gundy vowed to fix that this off season. The Beavers have the fire power to keep this game close enough and with both teams having good running backs going against weaker defensive fronts I expect a lot of rushes speeding the game up. If Oklahoma State was returning a starting QB or had named a starter over the summer I’d pick this to be a bigger win. Dealing with the distraction will have a n effect on the game. The Cowboys win comfortably but not comfortably enough for the orange and black clad fans in Stillwater.
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