As for this week, we have some beefy match-ups for you as Arizona has a defensive line that is a strength for them and an offensive line that could be an Achilles heel.
The Cowboys played really well up front in the opener and Richetti Jones (three hurries) and Jamie Blatnick (sack and a hurry) along with Cooper Bassett (sack) are a true strength of the team. They will face a pair of new starting offensive tackles for Arizona that got pushed back a lot by the light weight defensive line for Northern Arizona. This appears to be an opportunity for the Cowboys to get some pressure on this Tech-style three step and shot gun offensive attack. Just getting hits on the quarterback is important against this style of attack.
Advantage: Huge to Jones/Blatnick
Last December Robert Golden was starting at a corner, but he is now at safety as one corner went down with a knee injury. Arizona has also lost a linebacker and a safety to knee injuries and another corner went down in camp as well. Wade is a senior and a solid player that had an interception last week against Northern Arizona in the pivotal second half where the Wildcats pulled away. Northern Arizona passed for 179 yards in the contest, which is a paltry amount, but they don't have the talent of Brandon Weeden at quarterback nor the compliment of receivers Oklahoma State has. You can be sure that these guys have had good work because they can get it from their own offense with Nick Foles and company.
Oklahoma State threw for 458 yards last week, Weeden had 388 yards before retiring to the bench. You can expect that Oklahoma State will hit a good number on Thursday. While Blackmon had eight receptions for 144 yards, Anyiam did not have a catch. That will not be the case this week. Anyiam could become this week's Tracy Moore.
Advantage: Huge to Blackmon/Anyiam
This will be worth the price of admission as all three of the Cowboy guards in Joe Wickline's new three-man rotation are tough hard-nosed guys that will get after defensive tackles. The weight of the three is 305 for Rush, 310 for Martinez, and 310 for Taylor. Rush and Martinez are seniors with Tayler being a three-year starting junior. Washington and Tuihalamaka are both 280 pounds and athletic. Last week, Washington had five tackles, four solo and 1.5 sacks. Tuihalamaka did not register a tackle. This will be down and dirty tough line play and I love watching that kind of stuff. Oklahoma State will want to run the ball and how well they do it will be dictated in large part by this match-up.
This is a different Arizona team than what the Cowboys faced in San Antonio in the Alamo Bowl. The similarities are in quarterback Nick Foles and the defensive line. Yes, Arizona had three defensive ends picked in the NFL Draft, but they are still talented up front with seniors C.J. Parish and Houston transfer Mohammed Usman manning those spots. Both have high RPM motors and talent. Inside you have stellar tackle Justin Washington and the third Tuihalamaka brother to come through the UA program. Behind that line is a young and inexperienced linebacker corps and a secondary that resembles a MASH unit. Those are tough areas to be deficient in when traveling to Stillwater. Foles started off with 412-yards passing last week to run his career total past the 6,500-yard mark. He has more than Juron Criner at wide receiver with at least seven high quality targets. Arizona may be a one-trick pony, albeit a good one. The new offensive line is struggling blocking for the run and the Wildcats have gone back to their roots in the Texas Tech offense throwing it two-thirds of the snaps in the opener. In the Alamo Bowl turnovers did them in 38-10. I don't think they will turn the ball over four times, but if they just turn it over a pair then the Cowboys cup runneth over.
Final Score: @#7 Oklahoma State 41, Arizona 16
Big 12 Predictions
Friday, Sept. 9
@#23 Arizona State 27, #19 Missouri 16
Saturday, Sept. 10
Iowa 34 @Iowa State 14
Northern Illinois 24 @Kansas 20
BYU 17 @#21 Texas 14
Straight Up: 9-1
Against the Spread: 4-2
Friday, Sept. 2
@Baylor 28, #15 TCU 26
Saturday Sept. 3
@Iowa State 30, Northern Iowa 17
@#24 Texas 38, Rice 10
McNeese State 16, @Kansas 14
@#21 Missouri 45, Miami-Ohio 9
@Kansas State 37, E. Kentucky 7
@Texas Tech 47, Texas State 14
@#1 Oklahoma 41, Tulsa 14
Sunday, Sept. 4
@#9 Texas A&M 38, SMU 27