OSU-Kansas Key Matchups and Prediction

The 2010 Oklahoma State football team has a chance to become the first squad in school history to win 10 regular season football games when it takes the field Saturday against Kansas in Lawrence, Kan. The 10th-ranked Cowboys are 9-1, while the Jayhawks are 3-7.

1. OSU Wide Receiver Justin Blackmon
vs. Kansas Double or Bracket Coverage including Free Safety Chis Harris
Harris started out playing corner in a defense coordinated by current Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young. Harris actually outplayed All-American Aqib Talib that played on the other side and wound up being a first-round draft choice.

Harris is now at free safety where he can get to more of the field and have a larger impact on the defense, but his cover skills are still good and will be put to the supreme test when he is playing over the corner on Oklahoma State soon-to-be All-American Justin Blackmon. This should be a good show.

Blackmon is both fast and physical and has yet to be contained. Harris will have to hope he gets the appropriate help from the cornerback in front on the coverage. It is just too much and Harris will be overmatched physically. That does not diminish how good a player the Bixby, Okla., product has been for the Jayhawks. Nobody has stopped Blackmon and he is getting better and more confident every week.
Edge: Solid Edge to Blackmon

2. OSU Defensive Line vs. Kansas Offensive Line
The Oklahoma State defensive line has been a blue collar, overachieving outfit all season and they like it that way. The tackles are often times banged up and the backups are inexperienced, but they have held together. The defensive ends are good playmakers and hold up strong.

Now the Cowboy defensive front gets an offensive line that has struggled much of the season and may be barely holding together here at the end. The Kansas run game is averaging 3.5 yards per play, second lowest in the league, and the Cowboys are limiting opposing offenses to 3.7-yards per play making that look like a match.

OSU has 20 sacks while Kansas has given a conference-high 30 sacks, tied for the most in the Big 12 with Iowa State and Texas A&M. My sack margins for both teams, Oklahoma State a healthy +10 and Kansas a paltry -20. Enough said as this becomes a potential mismatch.
Edge: Solid Edge to OSU Offensive Line

3. OSU Star Linebackers Shaun Lewis and James Thomas
vs. Kansas Tight End Tim Biere
Biere is the biggest goal-line receiving threat for Kansas as he has 17 receptions for 207 yards, and he has a team-high three touchdown receptions. Kansas is one of the few teams Oklahoma State will see this season that really uses a tight end as a major receiving threat.

Lewis and Thomas are used to picking up backs out of the backfield and watching for "wheel routes" but the tight end drag has not been something they have seen much of. Both players are physical enough and certainly have the qucikness to keep up with the 6-4, 260-pound Biere.

In the middle of the field this matchup is not as important unless Kansas uses it in its package of plays specifically for this game. It is in the red zone and near the goal line that Lewis and Thomas need to see No. 86 and keep an eye on where he is at all times.
Edge: Edge to OSU's Lewis and Thomas.

Give Kansas head coach Turner Gill credit as his team is still playing hard despite little to play for the rest of the season. It is Senior Day for the Jayhawks and even his seniors have been on board and played hard. That is a good sign for the future, but the signs for Saturday are not good.

This Oklahoma State team is pretty trap-game proof. The reasons are the Cowboys have great work ethic and practices this week were as energetic and physical as they were last week for Texas. The Tuesday practice may have been more so than last week before Texas.

This football team relishes every opportunity it gets to play in the games. The offense has a standard they have established and each week strive to hit the mark to keep that standard up there. The defense is improving and loves to shut opponents down as much as possible. Defensive coordinator Bill Young says he is not about stats, but they do like the fact the stats are really looking better late in the season.

Finally, this team understands that it is about the journey and a strong positive step this week makes it easy to stay in step next week. There's no looking ahead but just connecting the dots all the way to a Big 12 Championship. Kansas is playing hard but so is Oklahoma State and the Cowboys have way too much firepower for the Jayhawks.

No. 10 Oklahoma State 56, Kansas 10

Big 12 Predictions
Colorado 31, Kansas State 24

Texas Tech 47, Weber State 17

Texas 35, Florida Atlantic 13

No. 16 Missouri 24, Iowa State 21

No. 14 Oklahoma 42, Baylor 23

No. 9 Nebraska 28, No. 19 Texas A&M 26

Robert Allen's Record for the Season
Straight Up: 60-22
Against the Spread: 37-36
Not all games have a spread. Games with Big 12 teams involving FCS teams do not have spreads.

GoPokes Top Stories