October 13th, 2007
OKLAHOMA STATE (3 - 3)
(1 - 1)
NEBRASKA (4 - 2) (1 -
Report for Nebraska vs. Oklahoma State
Latest Line -
Nebraska by 4.
Oklahoma State Offense
Oklahoma State Cowboys' offense can be among the most potent forces in the
country when they are clicking on all cylinders. After six games, the
Cowboys rank 14th nationally in total offense (472.17 ypg), 51st in passing
(238.67 ypg), 37th in passing efficiency (137.12 rating), 10th rushing (234.50
ypg), 39th scoring offense (31.67 ppg), and 101st in turnover margin (-1.00).
QB: So. Zac Robinson (78 of 135, 1094 yds, 9 TDs, 6 INTs)
has been a very good dual-threat QB since taking over the starting role earlier
this year. Robinson's ability to make plays with his feet is a tremendous
asset for the explosive Oklahoma State offense. Robinson has rushed for
273 yards and 2 touchdowns on 43 carries. He's got a good arm, completing
57.8% of his passes, but isn't among the Big XII's best yet. Robinson
suffered a concussion last week against Texas A&M, but should still play
this week. Behind Robinson is Jr. Bobby Reid (25 of 46, 276 yds, 1 TD, 1
INT), another very good dual-threat QB. Last season, as the starter, he
torched Nebraska for 229 yards passing, 61 rushing yards, and 2 touchdowns
through the air.
RB: Oklahoma State's running backs are among the
Big XII's best. The Cowboys' running backs are led by starter Sr. Dantrell
Savage (71 carries, 410 yds, 2 TDs). Savage is an outstanding small back
that can do it all on the field. Behind Savage is TFr. Kendall Hunter (57
carries, 441 yds, 3 TDs), who is also a small rusher that can really move
downfield. So. Keith Toston (33 carries, 163 yds, 1 TD), Jr. Chris Offor
(17 carries, 103 yds), and Sr. Julius Crosslin (11 carries, 28 yds, 3 TDs) have
also seen carries this year. Overall, this is a very good group of
backs. Coming out of the backfield, Dantrell Savage (9 catches, 70 yds, 1
TD), Kendall Hunter (6 catches, 68 yds, 1 TD), and Keith Toston (5 catches, 46
yds) have all caught passes, but throwing to the backs isn't a big part of the
Oklahoma State offensive gameplan (19% of receptions come from RB's). You
won't see the fullbacks touch the ball very often, but at starter is Jr. John
Johnson, and the top reserve is Jr. Jeremiah Burton. Fumbling has been a
problem with this group, which can turn winnable games for the Cowboys into
WR/TE: Oklahoma State has a good quality
group of receivers, led by top wideout, Sr. Adarius Bowman (38 catches, 621 yds,
6 TDs). Bowman is one of the nation's best receivers, and at 6'4", 220
lbs. presents a match-up nightmare for most schools. Also starting at wide
receiver is So. Jeremy Broadway (11 catches, 118 yds, 1 TD) and Sr. Tommy
Devereaux (4 catches, 42 yds). Broadway is having a good year as the
second option, while Devereaux is having a disappointing season with just 4
caught balls. TFr. Dez Bryant (12 catches, 153 yds, 1 TD) has been
impressive in his back-up, ranking third on the team in catches and receiving
yards. Other top reserves include Sr. Scott Broughton, So. DeMarcus
Conner, and Jr. Seth Newton (2 catches, 24 yds). At tight end are Jr.
Brandon Pettigrew (29 catches, 330 yds, 1 TD) and Jr. Justin Waller.
Pettigrew is a big target at 6'6", 260 lbs and has great hands. Saturday
will be Pettigrew's 27th straight start.
OL: The Oklahoma State
offensive line has done a very good job this season. After six games, the
line has cleared way for 5.4 yards per rush, while giving up only 7 sacks.
When you have the second best rushing team in the Big XII, you know the
offensive line is doing something right. Not a single starter weighs more
than 295 lbs., but this allows them to have better quickness which suits the
offense well. Starting at tackle is So. Russell Okung (6'5", 290 lbs) on the
left and So. Brady Bond (6'6", 290 lbs) on the right. Top tackle reserves
include Jr. Jerry Palmoore (6'6", 305 lbs) and RFr. Trent Perkins (6'5", 300
lbs). Starting at guard is Sr. David Koenig (6'5", 295 lbs) on the left
side and Jr. Steve Denning (6'5", 295 lbs) on the right. Top back-ups at
guard include So. Noah Franklin (6'5", 310 lbs.) and So. Andrew Lawrence (6'4",
305 lbs.). Starting at center is So. Andrew Lewis (6'5", 295 lbs), with
TFr. Grant Garner (6'3", 280 lbs) serving as his top back-up.
Oklahoma State Defense
The Cowboys' defense has
been around the bottom of the nation this season, having real troubles against
the pass. Oklahoma State's defense ranks 92nd nationally in total defense
(430.33 ypg), 116th pass defense (321.83 ypg), 94th pass efficiency defense
(139.14 rating), 26th rush defense (108.50 ypg), and 61st in scoring defense
DL: The Oklahoma State defensive line is a
pretty decent crew, giving up 2.9 yards per carry to opponents, but has earned
just 4 sacks as a unit. Starting at left defensive end is Sr. Marque
Fountain (24 tackles, 2 QBH, 1 PBU), with So. Derek Burton (8 tackles, 1.5
sacks) backing him up. On the right side, Sr. Nathan Peterson (23 tackles,
2 sacks, 1 FR, 1 QBH) starts while Sr. Rodrick Johnson (12 tackles) is his
back-up. Fountain and Peterson are very solid bookends for this defensive
front. At nose tackle is Jr. Jeray Chatham (13 tackles, 0.5 sack, 1 FR),
with Jr. Tonga Tea (6 tackles) also getting a good share of snaps.
Starting at defensive tackle is Sr. Maurice Cummings (21 tackles, 1 FF), with
RFr. Quencey Patrick (5 tackles, 1 QBH) serving as his back-up. This unit
stood tough against Texas A&M last week, allowing the typically proficient
Aggie rushing attack just 150 yards on 43 carries.
Oklahoma State's linebacking crew is, when healthy, the best unit of the defense
with talented youth and quality veterans. So. Chris Collins (26 tackles, 1
FF, 1 QBH, 2 PBU) is the starter at MLB, with Jr. Marcus Brown (2 tackles, 1
QBH) listed as his top reserve. Starters at OLB are Sr. Donovan Woods (28
tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 1 QBH, 2 PBU) and So. Patrick Lavine (39 tackles, 1 FR,
1 QBH, 6 PBU). Top reserves on the outside are So. Orie Lemon (3 tackles)
and Sr. Jeremy Nethon (31 tackles, 1 sack). Collins is the best of this
bunch, but has missed 9 games of his short career with injury. Collins has
been battling a toe injury recently and is questionable for this week's
game. If he is absent, expect Lavine to again start at MLB for Collins,
and Nethon to start on the outside. This group is good at rush support,
but could be better in coverage, defending the pass.
Oklahoma State defensive backfield has done a poor job this season, ranking last
in the Big XII as well as 116th in the nation against the pass. Starting
at cornerback will be Sr. Jacob Lacey (34 tackles, 1 sack, 1 INT, 4 PBU) and Sr.
Martel Van Zant (17 tackles). Top reserves are So. Perrish Cox (17
tackles, 1 INT, 7 PBU) and Jr. Calvin Mickens (7 tackles, 1 PBU). Van Zant
has an injured toe, has missed the last two games and is questionable for this
week's game. If he is again absent, Cox will take over for him
again. At safety, Jr. Ricky Price (31 tackles, 1 sack, 2 PBU) is the
starter at free safety and Jr. Quinton Moore (11 tackles, 1 PBU, 1 BK) is his
top reserve. So. Andre Sexton (31 tackles, 1 PBU) starts at strong safety,
with Sr. Clint Coe (2 tackles) serving as his back-up. The Cowboys'
opponents are completing 62% of their passes, which is not an impressive
Oklahoma State Special Teams
special teams units have been fair this season. The Cowboys rank 81st in
net punting (33.65 yd avg), 32nd in punt returns (12.57 yd avg), and 80th in
kickoff returns (20.24 yd avg).
K: Jr. Jason Ricks is
Oklahoma State's top place-kicker. He is not having a great season, making
just 5 of 8 field goal attempts, with a 32 yard long. He is just 1 for 4
on kicks of 30 or more yards. On kickoffs, Jr. Matt Fodge is averaging
63.5 yards on 35 kickoffs with 7 going for a touchback.
P: Jr. Matt Fodge starts at punter for the Tigers and doing
very well. He has punted 26 times for an average of 43.1 yards this
season. 5 of his 26 punts have been downed inside the opponents'
KR/PR: Oklahoma State's return game has been good six games
into this season. So. Perrish Cox (16 kick returns, 22 yd avg) and Sr.
Tommy Devereaux (7 kick returns, 17 yd avg) make up the first-team kick return
unit. So. Perrish Cox (13 punt returns, 13.5 yd avg) and Sr. Tommy
Devereaux also make up the first-team punt return unit.
Coverage: The Oklahoma State kick coverage team has
been pretty good this season, allowing an average of just 21 yards on 28 kickoff
return attempts. Punt coverage hasn't been great though, with opponents
averaging 20.5 yards and on 11 returns, while also giving up a
Nebraska's offense is
beginning to decline, both in rushing and passing. Consistency is a
problem, and last week they failed to ever really get started. Six games
into the season, Nebraska ranks 29th nationally in total offense (439.33), 20th
in passing (293.17 ypg), 41st in pass efficiency (135.93 rating), 66th in
rushing (146.17 ypg), 45th in scoring offense (30.83 ppg), and 80 the in
turnover margin (-.50).
QB: Sr. Sam Keller (146 for 228,
1720 yds, 9 TDs, 8 INTs) has looked pretty good this season, when he has ample
time in the pocket to make his decisions. However, he is not a great QB on
the run, and if a defense can get pressure on him, he tends to force plays that
aren't there, resulting in turnovers. He's a fiery competitor that needs
his teammates to get behind him. After a poor game against Missouri, he
will look to rebound this week. Jr. Joe Ganz (1 for 1, 19 yds) is
Nebraska's top back-up and hasn't seen action since the season opener against
RB: Jr. Marlon Lucky (125 carries, 632 yds, 6 TDs) is
Nebraska's starting running back. Lucky is a quick back that needs a good
hole to run through, but once through, he is tough to catch. TFr. Quentin
Castille (30 carries, 122 yds, 3 TDs) is a bruising runner, has seen his carries
lessened over the past few games. Jr. Cody Glenn (26 carries, 86 yds, 2
TDs) is a power rusher that is a quality ball carrier when he is healthy.
TFr. Roy Helu (10 carries, 39 yds) is a speed back that hasn't seen many carries
this season. This is a good group of backs, but needs help from the
offensive line, as production has dropped since the season opener. Marlon
Lucky (35 catches, 261 yds, 1 TD), in addition to being the leading rusher, also
leads the team in receptions. Cody Glenn (6 catches, 52 yds), Quentin
Castille, (1 catch, 15 yds) and Roy Helu (1 catch, 5 yds) have also been used
into the passing game. At FB, Jr. Thomas Lawson (2 catches, 10 yds, 2 TDs)
has been given the starting nod this week. Sr. Andy Sand (1 catch, 15 yds)
has been moved to the reserve role at FB.
Nebraska's receiving crew has been very inconsistent this season.
Dropping passes has been a big problem for this unit. Starting Z receiver
is Sr. Terrence Nunn (17 catches, 219 yds), who has really been struggling this
year. Behind Nunn is Sr. Frantz Hardy (9 catches, 142 yds), a fast wideout
that has issues with dropped balls. Starting at X is Jr. Nate Swift (20
catches, 256 yds, 1 TD), who has good hands and does a good job in traffic
Sr. Maurice Purify (24 catches, 308 yds, 1 TD) is Nebraska's best threat, but
doesn't seem to see the field as often as he should. His measureables, as
well as his yards after catch are unmatched by anyone else in this group.
Jr. Todd Peterson (9 catches, 125 yds, 2 TDs), Sr. Dan Erickson (4 catches, 46
yds), So. Menelik Holt, and TFr. Niles Paul (1 catch, 6 yds) are also receivers
that may see action. Starting at TE, or H-Back as Nebraska refers to it
as, will be Sr. Sean Hill (11 catches, 229 yds, 3 TD). Hill has been a
nice surprise for the Huskers, after four years without so much as one
reception. Sr. J.B. Phillips (1 catch, 6 yds), RFr Dreu Young (1 catch, 14
yds), Jr. Hunter Teafatiller (3 catches, 21 yds), and Mike McNeill (1 catch, 25
yds) are reserves at TE, but haven't seen many throws their
OL: Nebraska's offensive line has been struggling greatly
this season. The rush blocking has been poor, with limited running room
opened since the season opener. Pass protection had been fair until last
week, as QB Sam Keller had very small windows to make his throws. On the
season, they are allowing the backs 4.62 yards per carry; however, average per
rushing play is 3.9 yards per carry. This is hardly top-notch performance
from a unit that was touted as being Nebraska's best in years. Starting at
tackle is Sr. Carl Nicks (6'5", 330 lbs) on the left and Jr. Lydon Murtha (6'7",
310 lbs) on the right. Both are pro-prospects, but have struggled with
consistency this season. RFr. Mike Smith (6'6", 290 lbs) and Jr. Matt
Slauson (6'5", 335 lbs) are the top tackle reserves. Jr. Mike Huff (6'4",
300 lbs) will now start at RG after taking the spot away from former starter
Matt Slauson this week. So. Jacob Hickman (6'4", 285 lbs) starts at LG,
and has played fairly well after replacing the injured Andy Christensen.
RFr. Keith Williams (6'5", 310 lbs.) and RFr. D.J. Jones (6'5", 310 lbs) are
Nebraska's top reserves at guard. Sr. Brett Byford (6'3", 300 lbs) starts
at center, and has also been struggling, while Sr. Jordan Picou (6'3", 300 lbs.)
will now act as Byford's top back-up.
Nebraska's defense is an absolute train wreck. They
can't stop the run, can't stop the pass, and can't get pressure on their
opposing QB. Nebraska is ranked 96th nationally in total defense (441.50
ypg), 87th pass defense (251 ypg), 52nd pass efficiency defense (118.31 rating),
97th rush defense (190.50 ypg), and 75th in scoring defense (29
DL: Nebraska's defensive line has been pushed around all
season long, failing to put together any kind of formidable pass rush.
Plugging up running lanes has also been a challenge, as the unit is allowing
opponents 4.8 yards per carry. Jr. Barry Turner (17 tackles, 2 sacks, 4
QBH, 1 PBU) starts at open end. Turner has struggled with his quickness
since putting on weight in the off-season. Starting at base end is Jr.
Zach Potter (27 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 1 FF, 1 FR, 3 QBH), a big, 285 pound end
that has had a pretty good season. Top reserves are Jr. Clayton Sievers (3
tackles, 1 QBH) behind Turner, and RFr. Pierre Allen (1 tackle) behind
Potter. Starting at nose tackle is Jr. Ndamukong Suh (19 tackles, 1 sack,
1 FR), with Jr. Shukree Barfield (5 tackles) and Sr. Brandon Johnson performing
back-up duties. Suh has the tools to be a great one, but hasn't put it all
together yet. So. Ty Steinkuhler (4 tackles, 1 FF), starter at defensive
tackle, should be 100 % and ready to go this week, after struggling with a knee
injury much of this season. Jr. Kevin Dixon (13 tackles, 1 INT) is his
primary back-up and has done a nice job when he has stepped in.
LB: Nebraska's linebacking corps will see some shifting
this week in the starting line-up after disappointing results through six
games. So. Phillip Dillard (26 tackles, 1 QBH, 2 PBU) has been named as
the official starter at MLB this week. Dillard is a talented young
linebacker that will take over for Sr. Corey McKeon (27 tackles, 1 INT, 1 FR, 2
QBH, 3 PBU), who was mid-way through his third season as the starter, but has
really struggled this season. Sr. Bo Ruud (41 tackles, 2 INT, 2 FF, 1 PBU)
will still start at SLB, but Sr. Lance Brandenburgh (25 tackles), has been named
as the new starter at WLB. Sr. Steve Octavien (37 tackles, 0.5 sack, 5
QBH, 2 PBU) has been dropped to second string behind Brandenburgh.
Octavien is the most athletic of the crew and should still see plenty of plays,
despite the demotion. TFr. Blake Lawrence and Jr. Tyler Wortman (1 tackle)
are the top reserves at SLB, and could see action if Ruud continues to
DB: Nebraska's secondary had a lot of trouble against
the big, talented receivers from Missouri last week. This is another
inconsistent unit for the Nebraska defense that has trouble in both man and zone
coverages. Sr. Cortney Grixby (13 tackles, 2 INTs, 5 PBU) is a four year
starter at WCB, and despite being just 5'9", has been playing the best of this
unit. Grixby's back-up, Sr. Zack Bowman (22 tackles, 1 INT, 1 QBH, 3 PBU),
hasn't been consistent since his return from a pair of knee injuries over the
past year and a half, but has great talent. Jr. Armando Murillo (29
tackles, 4 PBU) starts at LCB, with Sr. Andre Jones (10 tackles, 2 PBU) backing
him up. Both Murillo and Jones are also struggling this season. At
the safety positions, Sr. Tierre Green (17 tackles, 3 PBU) starts at FS and So.
Larry Asante (35 tackles, 1 FF, 1 QBH, 1 PBU) is the starter at SS. Top
reserves include So. Rickey Thenarse (11 tackles, 1 FF) and Sr. Ben Eisenhart (7
tackles) at FS, with Sr. Bryan Wilson (11 tackles, 1 QBH) at SS. Thenarse
is a great young talent, but doesn't get seem to get on the field often.
Nebraska Special Teams
Nebraska's special teams
are the only positive Nebraska has going for them. The Huskers are ranked
23rd in net punting (37.58 yd avg), 94th in punt returns (6.10 yd avg), and 52nd
in kickoff returns (22.46 yd avg).
K: TFr. Adi Kunalic (1
for 1, 46 yd lng) handles kickoffs and long field goals. Kunalic's
powerful leg pushed through 17 of 33 kickoffs for touchback, with a 67.4 yard
average. RFr. Alex Henery handles short field goals (5 for 5, 39 yd lng)
and extra points.
P: Jr. Dan Titchener is one of the nation's top
punters and a Ray Guy Award candidate. He is averaging 41.9 yards on 25
punts with a long of 51. 8 of his 25 punts have been downed inside the
opponents' 20. He has above average leg power, with solid
KR/PR: Nebraska's kick return game has been
good, however, the punt return game still needs work. Seniors Andre Jones
(8 kick returns, 21.9 yd avg) and Cortney Grixby (22 kick returns, 25.4 yd avg)
are the top kickoff return team. Cortney Grixby (7 punt returns, 5.1 yd
avg) and Andre Jones (2 returns, 12.5 yd avg) are also the team's top punt
Coverage: Nebraska's coverage teams have been average
this season. The kick coverage unit is allowing an average of 20.7 yards
on 17 kickoff returns, while the punt return coverage team allows a 6.2 yard
average on 10 punt returns.
Nebraska's Offense vs. Oklahoma State's
Nebraska's offense has struggled since opening Big XII
play. What had been the rock of the offense, the passing game, was anemic
at best last week against Missouri. QB Sam Keller has a terrific arm, but
cannot make plays when constantly on the run. Missouri was able to form a
good pass rush and forced Keller into a bad night. Oklahoma State will
look to a similar game plan if they want to neutralize the Nebraska passing
attack. The Huskers' receivers are pretty solid, but outside of Maurice
Purify, there isn't a tremendous playmaker. Even Purify, this season,
hasn't been able to make all that many plays. Nebraska is loaded with
youth at receiver and one has to wonder if the veterans continue to make
mistakes, if those young guys could see the field soon. Oklahoma State's
defensive backfield certainly isn't going to frighten anyone, ranking dead last
in the Big XII against the pass. Numbers were improved last week against
Texas A&M, although the Aggies own the 106th ranked passing offense, so
don't read too much into that performance. The Cowboys are allowing
opponents to complete 62% of their passes, while Nebraska QB Sam Keller is
completing 64% of his throws. If he gets time to throw, Keller should have
a big day.
The Nebraska running game has been stagnant for 5 straight
games, after blowing up Nevada for 413 yards on the ground. Marlon Lucky
still leads the Big XII in rushing with 632 yards, but hasn't had a chance to
explode recently for big gains. Lucky, and the rest of the backs need an
initial block to get going and they haven't been getting it from the line.
Because of this, the backs are fighting just to get out of the backfield.
Oklahoma State is giving up just 2.9 yards per carry this season, while
Nebraska's running backs are averaging 4.6 yards per carry. The Cowboys
are playing tough up front, and had an excellent showing against Texas A&M
last week, allowing just 150 yards against an Aggie team that is 7th nationally
in rushing. Oklahoma State's defense is allowing opponents to convert 36%
of their third down conversions, while holding opponents to a quality 73%
success rate in red-zone scoring. Meanwhile, the Huskers are converting a
less than outstanding 44% of their third downs, but maintain a solid 88%
red-zone scoring offense rate.
Up front, Nebraska's offensive line
will be much bigger than the Oklahoma State defensive front. Nebraska's
average offensive lineman is 6'5", 305 lbs, while Oklahoma State's average
defensive lineman stands at just 6'3", 264 lbs. This size differential
isn't necessarily an advantage; however, as Nebraska's line has been pushed
around by smaller guys all season long. Nebraska's offensive line has not
been blocking well in the run game, and started to break down in pass protection
last week against Missouri. The Huskers have given up 7 sacks and 33
tackles for loss this season, while Oklahoma State has earned 36 tackles for
loss and 8 sacks this season. Oklahoma State can gain control of this game
with a steady pass rush. That is where this game will likely be won or
Oklahoma State's Offense vs. Nebraska's
The Oklahoma State offense is led by dual-threat QB Zac
Robinson, who has done a solid job since taking over for Bobby Reid earlier in
the year. He has good mobility, which has allowed him to rush for 273
yards and a pair of scores. He is completing nearly 58% of his passes, but
doesn't have a great touchdown to interception ratio, throwing 6 picks and 9
touchdowns. Nebraska's defensive front can't seem to muster any sort of
pass rush this season, with just 6 sacks on the season. Nebraska played
with a 3 man front against similarly mobile QB Chase Daniel of Missouri last
week and was only able to get to him once, but the ball was already
thrown. The Cowboys have a good group of receivers, but none match the
talent and competitiveness as top WR Adarius Bowman. Bowman is averaging
103.5 yards per game receiving this season and should continue that trend
against Nebraska this week. Nebraska struggled against Missouri's big TE
targets, so OSU TE Brandon Pettigrew might also be in line for a good
afternoon. The Huskers' secondary was passed on all night long against
Missouri last week to the tune of 411 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air.
Oklahoma State's running game has been among the nation's best
this season, ranking 10th overall in the country with 234.50 yards per
game. Top running back, Dantrell Savage has great ability and would
certainly like to have a game similar to the one he had last year against
Nebraska in which he rushed for 117 yards and 2 touchdowns. One major
thing in his favor is the play of the porous Nebraska rush defense this
season. The Huskers are struggling to get into opponents' offensive
backfields, while also missing numerous tackles. Add other very good backs
in Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston, and Nebraska will definitely have all they
can handle on Saturday. Oklahoma State's third down conversion percentage
is at 44%, but has an above average 86% red-zone scoring average. The
Nebraska defense has been abysmal on 3rd downs, allowing opponents to convert on
45% of their attempts. In the red-zone, the Husker defense has also not
been impressive, allowing opponents an 88% red-zone scoring
Oklahoma State's average offensive lineman is 6'5", 293 lbs, while
Nebraska's average defensive lineman comes in at 6'4", 284 lbs. The
Cowboys' offensive line won't be helping the Huskers' defensive front out this
week, as the Pokes' line has been playing excellent football. QB Zac
Robinson shouldn't see too many red jerseys in his face on Saturday afternoon,
as the Huskers have failed to put together a decent pass rush all season.
After 6 games, Nebraska has earned 38 tackles for loss and just 6 sacks.
Meanwhile, Oklahoma State has allowed 31 tackles for loss and 7 sacks through 6
games. Nebraska's defense is allowing a huge 4.8 yards per carry, due to
missed tackles, missed assignments, and a lack of gang tackling. Oklahoma
State is averaging 5.4 yards per carry this season and has to think they'll be
in for a big day on the ground.
Keys to the
For Nebraska to Win:
line needs to play outstanding football in both rush and pass blocking.
Win turnover battle. Couldn't force a single turnover against Missouri
3.) Eliminate penalties. Penalties killed drives last week
and also gave new life to drives for Missouri.
4.) Tackle well, don't allow
Savage, Robinson, and Co. run wild.
5.) Try to prevent Adarius Bowman from
making "the big play" for the Cowboy offense.
For Oklahoma State to
1.) Get pressure on Nebraska QB Sam Keller. The offense
folded last week after Missouri got into the backfield.
2.) QB Zac Robinson
needs to play mistake free football.
3.) Will need to keep the outstanding
rushing attack going.
4.) Cut down on the penalties. 76.2 yards per
game in penalties is unacceptable.
5.) Don't allow past road woes creep into
the mind if the game gets tough.
OL: Oklahoma State
Clayton Sievers - leg - out indefinitely
DT - Ty Steinkuhler - knee -
OG - Andy Christensen - knee - out for season
RB - Kenny
Wilson - leg - out for season
QB - Zac Robinson
- concussion - probable
LB - Chris Collins - toe - questionable
Martel Van Zant - toe - questionable
WR - Artrell Woods - back - out for
Game Breakdown &
This is the 42nd meeting between Nebraska and
Oklahoma State. The Huskers hold a dominant 36-4-1 all-time record over
the Cowboys. Oklahoma State, however, has won 2 of the last three meetings
in the series. Last year in Stillwater, Nebraska led Oklahoma State 17-0
before the Cowboys powered past the Huskers to win 41-29. The last time
these teams met in Lincoln was in 2003, and Nebraska beat Oklahoma State 17-7 in
a hard fought defensive game. The only time Oklahoma State was able to
beat Nebraska in Lincoln was in 1960, which was the first ever meeting between
these two teams, and 2 years before former Nebraska coach Bob Devaney took over
and began building the program.
Oklahoma State has had an interesting
route to their 3-3 record. Their season began with disheartening loss at
Georgia, losing 35-14 in a game that they were supposed to be more competitive
in. Inability to convert on third downs (3 of 13) hurt them against the
Bulldogs. After disposing of Florida Atlantic, 42-6, the Cowboys headed to
Troy, Alabama for what was expected to be a tune-up for the Texas Tech
game. Troy gave Oklahoma State all they could handle and more, as the
Trojans upset the Cowboys 41-23. Again, third down conversions played a
big role (2 of 11) hurt this team, as did their 3 turnovers. The next game
was back home to play Texas Tech in what ended up being a track meet.
Oklahoma State and Texas Tech amounted for 1,328 yards of offense, as the
Cowboys defeated the Red Raiders 49-45. The Pokes were able to escape with
a win following QB Zac Robinson's pass to TE Brandon Pettigrew with just 1:37
left to play. Oklahoma then defeated Sam Houston State 39-3, despite
giving up nearly 300 yards through the air. Last week against Texas
A&M, the Cowboys held a 17-0 halftime lead before losing the game 24-23 to
the Aggies. Oklahoma State is 0-3 on the road this year and could really
use a win in Lincoln to give the team some confidence that they have lacked away
from home. A loss would put them at 3-4, a place coach Mike Gundy does not
want to be.
Nebraska is likely the shakiest of 4-2 teams in the
nation. After a dominant showing in the season opener against Nevada,
winning 52-10 and racking up 625 yards of offense, Nebraska has struggled to get
things clicking. Against Wake Forest they were unable to mount much of an
offensive attack, but still claimed victory 23-20. USC then came to town
and crushed Nebraska 49-31, in a game that was supposed to show Nebraska was
back among the top teams in the country. The following week against Ball
State was ugly, as the Huskers won 41-40, despite giving up 610 yards of offense
to the Cardinals. The Huskers were home again the next week to play Iowa
State, and were victorious 35-17, even though the offense was stagnant and
turned the ball over 3 times. Last week against Missouri, in what was
expected to be a shoot-out for Big XII North supremacy, ended up being a behind
the woodshed beating, as the Tigers destroyed Nebraska 41-6 in embarrassing
fashion. Nebraska is teetering on the brink of a disastrous season and
desperate for a win. The Huskers are 3-1 at home this year, and would like
to see that win column increase this week.
Nebraska's offense's strength
should play right into the Oklahoma State defense's weakness, the passing
game. However, for the Huskers to take advantage of a suspect Cowboy
secondary, the offensive line better be ready to protect QB Sam Keller.
Last week against a poor Missouri pass defense, the Nebraska offensive line was
unable to keep away the Tiger pass rush, and Keller didn't have time to pick
apart their secondary. Oklahoma State will look to do the same this week,
and might have the guys that can do it. One thing is for sure, Nebraska's
anemic rushing attack will have tough sledding against Oklahoma State stingy
rush defense. RB Marlon Lucky has been frustrated lately about the way the
Huskers are rushing the ball, and unless the offensive line wakes up and starts
doing a good job of blocking, he won't have a whole lot of room this week
either. Nebraska's best bet is to get their passing game working first to
try to open up some lanes for Lucky and company to run through later in the
drives, because the reverse certainly hasn't worked this year. Nebraska WR
Maurice Purify must be a bigger part of the offensive game plan.
State's rushing offense is pretty dynamic, with three capable backs and a QB
with good wheels. There could be ample running room against a Nebraska
rush defense that has been struggling mightily this season. Nebraska's
defense has struggled against mobile, dual-threat QB's, and the Cowboys possess
one in Zac Robinson. RB Dantrell Savage and company had a good day against
Nebraska last year and will hope to have an even better day against the Huskers
this year, as their defense has been much worse than they were a year ago.
The Cowboys may take a few pages out of the Missouri playbook this week after
watching their near flawless performance a week ago against the Huskers.
Running QB draws for huge gains and throwing it downfield to a big Pettigrew or
Bowman will likely be in order. Robinson will need to show that he can
throw the ball on the road though this week. In the three games that the
Cowboys have lost, they have passed for less than 200 yards. Bowman and
Pettigrew are the two best options for the offense in the passing game, and if
Nebraska's secondary plays like they did a week ago, they will both have big
This match-up features two poor defenses that have been lit up
multiple times this season. Oklahoma State's offense has been excellent
this season, however, did not play well at all in the second half against Texas
A&M last week. Nebraska's offense has shown signs that it can be a
very good unit, but is having issues with their offensive line. Nebraska
typically has played better football at home, while Oklahoma State has not been
playing good football outside of Stillwater. Both teams could really use
this win, but even more so for Nebraska. Expectations were high this
season, and they have been flat so far. The Huskers have made some
personnel adjustments for this week's game, and after an emotional team meeting
earlier in the week, could get them back on track. This game has the
makings of a shoot-out, and will likely be a back-and-forth game. This one
is almost too close to call, but because this game is in Lincoln, give a very
slight edge to Nebraska.
State - 31
Oklahoma State vs. Nebraska Game Preview
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