OSU-Louisiana Key Matchups & Prediction

Robert Allen's key matchups and prediction for Oklahoma State's nationally televised game against the University of Louisiana on Friday night at Cajun Field in Lafayette, La.

1. OSU Offensive Line
vs. Louisiana Defensive Line and Linebackers Devin Lewis-Buchana,
Grant Fleming, and Daylon McCoy
Louisiana head coach Ricky Bustle is proud of his defensive front and especially those linebackers. Against North Texas they threw everything and the kitchen sink at the Mean Green including a vast assortment of blitz packages and alignments.

In the opener against Georgia they were relatively simple. Having watched game video, my guess is they blitz the Cowboys. These Cajuns pack a punch and the offensive line must realize they are trusted with guarding the key to the season in protecting Brandon Weeden at quarterback.

It would be very smart and imperative to the success the rest of October and November if they take that so serious that they threaten to crush any player battling for a shot at Weeden. The motto for the offensive line needs to be "kill or be killed."
Edge: Solid to OSU Offensive Line

2. OSU Passing Offense
vs. Louisiana Secondary especially SS Lance Kelley and LCB Orkeys Auriene
I do believe that the Cowboys and Kendall Hunter will be able to run the football, but Louisiana has been destroyed by the pass this season.

Consistency is a watch word for the week and this is a perfect opportunity for the Cowboys, Weeden, and the receivers to explode from start the finish. Bo Bowling could get even more in the mix as could Hubert Anyiam. It is also time for Tracy Moore to have a big game.

If they can play them you would like to see Clint Chelf at quarterback and the other receivers like Charlie Moore to get some added experience and confidence. The reason I list Kelley and Aurience is that those two can play and have made big plays going the other way against offenses. Take the challenge and get the job done.
Edge: Solid to OSU Passing Offense

3. OSU Secondary especially FS Johnny Thomas and Backups
vs. Louisiana Wide Receivers Javone Lawson and Richie Falgout
This may be the biggest area with something to prove on a consistency basis over any other area of the Oklahoma State squad. Head coach Mike Gundy is right in that the pass rush must do a better job of forcing quarterbacks to throw off rhythm, but the secondary has allowed too many receivers to run open on vertical routes and on third downs with conversions being made way too frequently on third-and-mediam and third-and-long situations.

Now because of the knee injury to Victor Johnson, Johnny Thomas is thrust back into a predominant role at safety and the back-ups almost across the board are freshmen. These are spots where depth is necessary.

Louisiana is down to its third running back and it appears NFL prospect of a tight end LaDarius Green will miss another week with a high ankle sprain. I do know that Lawson and Flgout are capable of making plays. This is a great time to change the trend on third downs.
Edge: Slight to OSU Secondary

PREDICTION
I looked at the betting line Thursday afternoon and while I never bet anything other than Thoroughbred racing, I was surprised that the over/under on this game is 62 points. I came up with my pick well before I saw that number.

It is the first road trip of the season for the Cowboys, and yes, in 1986 a pretty good Oklahoma State team nearly got beat in Lafayette. However, this is a Louisiana team that is beat up and has bigger games in its conference coming up in the next two weeks.

If Oklahoma State will go out and take control early then this game will become disarmed quickly. If the Cowboys are sloppy and allow Louisiana to hang around and get hope then the Cajuns press the issue looking for the big headlines that come with an upset over a BCS conference team. Plenty of quick strikes are predicted here and the game gets into an Oklahoma State rhythm.

Oklahoma State 52, Louisiana 10

Big 12 Predictions
Thursday
#6 Nebraska 35, @Kansas State 14

Saturday
Baylor 37, Texas Tech 28 @ Dallas

Texas A&M 31, #13 Arkansas 28 @Arlington

@#22 Missouri 24, Colorado 20

@Iowa State 35, #10 Utah 31

2010 Record
Straight Up: 40-7
vs. the Spread: 19-19
Not every game has a spread. The games against FCS competition do not have a point spread.


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