Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming season opener in our Oklahoma State vs. Missouri State preview and prediction.
6 p.m. CT, Sept. 4, 2021, Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Oklahoma
TV: Big 12 Now on ESPN+ (Courtney Lyle, Brandon Weeden and Shane Sparks)
Radio: Cowboys Radio Network (Dave Hunziker)
QB Spencer Sanders
Spencer Sanders has everything you’d want in a QB. He’s tall, has a great arm, can run like a deer, and has a competitive streak. He’s shown flashes of brilliance over two shortened seasons (due to injuries and then the pandemic) but has also hand a lot of mind-boggling mistakes in enough games to keep the Cowboy fans concerned. He’s finally had a full offseason to learn and grow so hopefully those days are behind him. Missouri State is the only team on the schedule the Cowboys should be guaranteed to pull the starters halfway through so Sanders needs to impose his will. No interceptions, no fumbles…. just pitch and catch, nice long scrambles, and ball security. Then he can hit the bench before halftime.
CB Christian Holmes
Holmes has big shoes to fill. Rodarius Williams, the Pokes starting corner last season, is gone to the NFL, making the final roster for the New York Giants on Tuesday. Williams was superb! If you doubt that just look at how different the OSU defense preformed towards the end of the year when he was in and out with injuries. The dude is a stud and taking over his spot won’t be an easy task. Holmes played last year as the primary back up and held his own when called upon but for the Pokes to play defense like that did the first three quarters of last year he’ll have to be trusted to handle receivers one-on-one with no help from the safeties. Shutting down Missouri State’s passing game would be a great first step.
WR number one?
Who’s going to take over as “The Man” at wideout now that Tylan Wallace is a Baltimore Raven? Will it be Tay Martin, the Washington State transfer who finally seemed to have it all click in the second half of the Cheez-It Bowl while taking Wallace’s spot as he watched from the sidelines? Or will it be Brennan Presley, the now sophomore who also showed out in the Cheez-It Bowl to the tune of 118 yards and three tds? This game should give us a hint as to who Sanders favors more. Whichever one ends up being the first option I think OSU will be just fine with these two as Batman and Robin this year.
Can Oklahoma State look the part? They are bigger and stronger and faster than Missouri State and it should show, but will it? Mike Gundy coached teams have a history of playing down to lesser opponents and that’s how things like the Central Michigan loss in 2015 happened. Even though they should have the Bears completely outmatched Bobby Petrino is still the coach and if you screw around too much he might just find a way to beat you. For the Pokes to come out of this without any worries the starting offense needs to move the ball at will, the starting defense needs to be smothering, and Missouri State shouldn’t sniff the red zone until the second half when Spencer Sanders has his baseball cap on. The question is will they do it, or will last mistakes leave the OSU fans with a bad feeling even in victory?
Prediction: Oklahoma State: 51 Missouri State: 10
The Cowboys are better across the board and even if they play terrible they would win by four touchdowns. The main focus of this game should be to play clean (watch the penalties and turnovers!) and get out without any injuries. I expect Sanders to have a field day in his limited time playing, something along the lines of 150 yards passing, 50 rushing, and 3 tds total. The running back committee should all get 10 or so carries so the coaches can get a feel for how they react in an actual game. The defense should dial up the pressure easily and control the line of scrimmage with ease. This should basically be a glorified scrimmage where the new guys on the offensive line and in the defensive secondary and linebacker positions get their feet wet, get some plays on tape, and get coached up for the next week.