Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 match up in our Oklahoma State vs. Tulsa preview.
2:30 P.M. CT, Saturday, September 14, 2019, H.A. Chapman Stadium, Tulsa, Oklahoma
TV: ESPN2 (Beth Mowins, Anthony Becht, and Rocky Boiman)
Away Radio: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, John Holcomb, and Robert Allen)
Home Radio: Golden Hurricane Radio Network (Bruce Howard, Rick Couri, and Jeremy Poplin)
Opening line: Oklahoma State -14
RB Shamari Brooks
The junior had his ninth career 100 yard game last week going for 140 yards on 29 carries against San Jose State. Brooks isn’t the largest back at only 5 foot 9 and 195 lbs but he is quick and elusive in space. He is also experienced, having played in 20 games with 12 career starts. Tulsa’s offensive line seems improved and OSU’s defensive line is a work in progress. Averaging 4.5+ a carry from Brooks again is certainly possible and would go a long way towards a Golden Hurricane win!
QB Zach Smith
Philip Montgomery recruited Zach Smith to Baylor originally but had left to become Tulsa’s HC before Smith even set foot on campus. Following the whole Art Briles mess Smith decided to transfer so why not go where the man he thought would be his offensive coordinator in Waco was? Winning the starting job this season Smith has been steady, completing 21 of 28 passes with one touchdown last week. His first start, at Michigan State two weeks ago, was mostly a disaster but that was a team wide offensive collapse against a far superior defense that the Golden Hurricane will face against OSU. Smith needs to be as efficient this week as he was last week and short, quick passes and not make mistakes. Couple that with a strong running game and Tulsa can keep the Cowboys powerful offense off the field and limit their ability to run the score up.
The Justice League
They call star wideout Tylan Wallace Superman for good reason but even the actual Man of Steel needed help from his friends occasionally, The sure-handed and reliable slot receiver Dillon Stoner is still there but Tyron Johnson, who manned the outside receiver spot opposite of Wallace last season, left for the NFL draft. The battle for Johnson’s old spot this year seems to be between Jordan McCray, Patrick McKaufman, and C.J. Moore. Moore is the shortest of the three at 6 foot 5, and their towering frames make them a great compliment opposite of the smaller, explosive Wallace. McKaufman, a redshirt junior, has been around the longest, South Alabama grad transfer McCray has seen the most playing time, but redshirt freshman Moore has two impressive touchdowns on just three catches this season. But which one will take control and become the guy?
LBs Calvin Bundage and Devon Harper, DT/DE Israel Antwine
The question on this injured trio isn’t WHAT contribution will the make but WHEN will they make it. Getting even one of them back for this game so they can take some live snaps before the trip to Austin would be huge. The new look defensive line could use Colorado-transfer Antwine’s skill as its performance has been underwhelming against weaker opponents, especially at defensive tackle. Antwine is being held up by what Gundy said is a “technicality” and doesn’t know when he’ll be available. Linebacker depth is tissue thin, with Amen Ogbongbemiga and converted safety Malcom Rodriguez taking almost every meaningful snap in the first two games. That might work against the Oregon States, McNeeses, and Tulsas on the schedule but as the season goes on and the snaps pile up good luck stopping an OU or a UT rushing attack. Getting the depth back to a decent level is a must, and getting defensive star Bundage back on the field would be a major boost.
Can the Cowboys ever start fast? A familiar problem from past seasons reared it’s ugly head against McNeese last weekend and OSU only scored one offensive touchdown in the first quarter. The starting offense had two punts and a fumble in its first four possessions. Do that against a Big 12 team and you’ll be lucky to only be down 14. Gundy and new OC Sean Gleeson have to find a rhythm early, which probably means running Spencer Sanders often on the first drive of games. He seems to be the kind of players that’s too jazzed and needs to take a few hits to get settled down. if The Cowboys struggle to move the ball in the first quarter against the Golden Hurricane then the trip to Austin the following week suddenly looks more daunting that it already was.
Can the Golden Hurricane take advantage? The Cowboys are the more talented team but the more talented team doesn’t always win. OSU is breaking in a new QB, a new offensive line coach, a new defensive line, and their linebacker corp is decimated by injury right now. While OSU won big its first two games there were glaring flaws. Tulsa needs to come out swinging and try to put the pressure on early. with that many new faces things can snowball pretty easily. If Tulsa can force their opponent into an uncomfortable spot maybe they can pull out the victory.
Oklahoma State 52 Tulsa 28
Tulsa recruits a lot of local players and many of them relish the chance to show the bigger local Universities (OSU, OU, Arkansas) that they made a mistake by over looking them so expect the Golden Hurricane to play hard. Keeping that in mind though Mike Gundy says he was disappointed in how his offense played to start the game against McNeese last week so expect the Cowboys to come out firing early on Saturday. With OSU’s defense being up and down expect a close game maybe until halftime. Ultimately though the three-headed monster that is Spencer Sander, Chuba Hubbard, and Tylan Wallace will prevail. Hubbard especially will be running hard due to only gaining 44 yards on eight carries last week. The Cowboys eventually overwhelm the Golden Hurricane and pull away in the second half.
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