Can Holgorsen-Led Offense Keep Going?

STILLWATER - Oklahoma State hasn't played Tulsa since 2004 but that doesn't mean the Cowboys aren't familiar with the Golden Hurricane. Dana Holgorsen's remarkable success against Tulsa the past two seasons while the offensive coordinator at the University of Houston could give the Cowboys a distinct advantage entering Saturday night's game at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Houston has defeated Tulsa each of the last two seasons in Conference USA games, and the Holgorsen-led offenses had their way with the Hurricane.

The Cougars have averaged 58 points, 669 total yards and 501.5 passing yards in back-to-back victories over TU. Holgorsen's offense averaged 7.6 yards every snap against the Hurricane. Quarterback Case Keenum completed 62. 7 percent of his passes (64 of 102) for 926 yards and nine touchdowns without throwing an interception in those wins.

Houston scored nine points in the final 21 seconds, including a 51-yard field goal on the game's final play, to defeat TU 46-45 last November at Chapman Stadium in Tulsa. A year earlier, Keenum threw for six touchdowns as the Cougars rolled to a 70-30 victory in Houston.

So it would make sense that two of the nation's most explosive offenses in 2010 - Tulsa is fourth (562.5 yards per game) and OSU ranks eighth (533) in total offense - should put up some big numbers Saturday night, right?

"Every time you say that it ends up being a 17-14 game. It never fails," Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said Monday.

"If you look at statistics, it looks like there are going to be a lot of points scored. It doesn't always turn out that way. We're going to do the best we can to defend them, and do the best we can to execute on special teams, and do the best we can to score a lot of points on offense, and take it from there," Gundy added.

There will be plenty of explosive players on the field Saturday for both teams. Cowboy running back Kendall Hunter is the nation's second leading rusher (207 yards per game), Justin Blackmon ranks fourth in receptions per game (9), seventh in total receiving yards (257) and eighth in receiving yards per game (128.5), and quarterback Brandon Weeden is No. 15 in total passing yards (566).

Tulsa quarterback C.J. Kinne ranks first in the nation in passing yards (755) and second in total offense with 395.5 yards per game, while Damaris Johnson is sixth in all-purpose yards (216.0).

Holgorsen hopes the Cowboys have the same type of success against the Hurricane that his Houston teams did the past two years.

"I've watched them all morning. They are very similar to how they have been the last several years. I coached against them the last two years while I was down at Houston so I'm pretty familiar with how they run their program and their defense so we are going to keep watching film and come up with a plan to execute," he said.?

?Gundy would like to see his Cowboys improve on their 53-point per game scoring average (which ranks fourth best in the nation), but wants defensive coordinator Bill Young's group to hold the Hurricane below their 41-point per game average.

"I would prefer to not be a 56-54 (final score); I prefer it be 56-14," Gundy said.

"I like what we're doing on offense. I like the way that we can strike fast. I like the excitement and flexibility that we have with our offense. I like the way we run the football. I'm convinced that we'll continue to get better and better. We will face teams throughout the season who we may have a difficult time handling pass rushers or certain guys who cover our receivers but I'm convinced this is the best thing for what we're trying to accomplish here at Oklahoma State.

"I'm excited that we made this change and I'm excited about recruiting players to continue to bring this offense along. I think we have a very marketable product and we got the right people coaching it. I'm looking forward to sitting back and watching it. It's good for Oklahoma State football."


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