Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming Big 12 game between the West Virginia Mountaineers and the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Date: 11 AM CT | Saturday, October 28, 2017 | Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, West Virginia
TV: ABC (Joe Tessitore, Todd Blackledge, and Holly Rowe)
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network | Dave Hunziker, Dave Holcomb, Robert Allen
Radio: IMG Mountaineers Sports Network | Tony Caridi, Dwight Wallace, Jed Drenning
National Radio: Westwood One Sports (Ryan Radtke and Al Groh)
Satellite Radio: Sirius (108), Internet (966), WVU feed on XM (200)
Internet Radio: http://okla.st/osutunein
Oklahoma State Cowboys
QB Mason Rudolph
Rudolph is good. So good that what was considered an off day against a stout Longhorn defensive last week was still a 66% completion, 282-yard day. He didn’t throw a touchdown pass for the first time in forever, although a wide open drop on a post route by Jalen McCleskey would’ve produced one. Expect the senior to bounce back and have another eye popping day in Morgantown.
WR James Washington
With a corner playing man, a safety 20 yards deep over the top of him and another playing robber to take away the slant, the Biletnikoff favorite was held to just 32 yards and no touchdowns in his last game. Unfortunately for West Virginia they don’t have the talent up front that Texas has. If they employ the same strategy, the Cowboy run game will punish them on the ground. Washington needs 86 yards to hit 1000 for the season. He should have it by halftime.
RB Justice Hill
The Big 12’s leading rusher has been a workhorse this year, going for 750 yards on 139 carries. With opponents choosing to try and stop the Cowboy passing attack, Hill has feasted on empty boxes all season. If the Mountaineers play along the sophomore should have another 100-yard day easily. As a good teammate, if they load up to stop him he’ll happily do play action so the receivers can have big days.
West Virginia Mountaineers
QB Will Grier
Grier may be second in the Big 12 in passing yards behind this week’s opponent, but he’s thrown for seven more scores. The junior hasn’t disappointed after transferring in from Florida to run Dana Holgorsen’s offense. He’s a prototypical NFL QB at 6 foot 2 and 215 lbs and he has a bit of a gunslinger style that suits him well at West Virginia. If he gets on a roll, it could be a long day for what has been a better that expected Cowboy defense.
WR David Sills V
Sills made headlines as a 13-year-old seventh grader by committing to play quarterback at the University of Southern California. Now he makes headlines by scoring a touchdown every third time he catches the ball. With 15 touchdowns and 737 yards on 46 catches, the 6 foot 4, 203 lb junior presents a challenge for any opponent’s secondary. The Cowboys have cornerbacks that are bigger and longer than most teams but they are also both young, first-year starters and prone to mistakes. A veteran with the size and skills of Sills may feast on them.
RB Justin Crawford
At 6 feet tall and 200 lbs, the senior is a load of a running back and may be the best in the Big 12. He is fast and shifty for his size, and is the 3rd leading rusher in the conference but is only trailing #2 by three yards. He hasn’t had his best games in his last two outings, going for just 77 yards combined and one TD total after having at least 100 yards in the first five games. Much like his counterpart on the Cowboys he could take advantage of a defense that may play a light front to try and stop the potent WVU air attack.
This week it’s more a singular key storyline: which offense plays better? There’s a reason why all my key players above are offensive. This may be a game where the first to punt loses. Both teams employ air raid schemes with future NFL quarterbacks and wide outs, but also balance it with strong running attacks with talented running backs. It’s pick your poison. Do you want to get beat on the ground or through the air? Defensive coordinators Glenn Spencer (OSU) and Tony Gibson (WVU) are both under a lot of pressure this week to find a way to slow down the juggernauts across the field enough for their guys to win the likely shootout. There should be fireworks a plenty. So who blinks first?
Oklahoma State 41, West Virginia 31
You get a touchdown, and you get a touchdown, and you get a touchdown! Everyone gets a touchdown! Both these offenses are impressive, with OSU piling up 585 yards a game to West Virginia’s 539. That’s good for first and fifth in the nation respectively, and a wash in my eyes.
What brought me around to a Cowboy win was these numbers: Oklahoma State fields the 41st ranked defense in the country compared to West Virginia’s 111th ranked defense. Glenn Spencer’s defense has quietly had a solid year. Interesting stat for the game: the Cowboys have only allowed four passing touchdowns in seven games, good for third in the nation. While the young cornerbacks were an early concern, they have played very well the last two weeks, although against lesser offenses than WVU sports.
The Cowboy defensive line and linebackers have improved every game and get good pressure up the middle. While the Mountaineers should be able to move the ball, I trust the visiting squad to get a timely sack or tipped interception more than I do the home team. I think all the stars on both teams have good days and this should be a fun game to watch. The contest being in Milan Puskar Stadium combined with Oklahoma State’s kicking problems keeps it a one score game.