Key Matchups and Predictions: OSU vs. A&M

For a game of this magnitude, I wanted to really have the key match-ups here and I feel like I did. Ryan Swope right now is a hot hand on the Aggies offense and he is so versatile. He will line up all over the offense. In a 3-4 defense the outside linebackers and accounting for them are so critical and Brand Weeden found that out last season in the game with Texas A&M.

The offensive line and the defensive line are always going to be a major match-up although some would guess it would be the Aggies defensive line against that senior corps of OSU offensive linemen. I just think the reverse of that matchup will be more critical in deciding the outcome.

OSU Secondary vs. Texas A&M Receiver Ryan Swope

Swope has become the "go to" guy for Aggies quarterback Ryan Tannehill as superstar wide receiver Jeff Fuller missed much of camp with a hamstring injury and he has not played the same so far this season. In fact, Fuller said he felt a twinge in his hamstring last week against Idaho and hoped it was scar tissue breaking. Meanwhile, Swope has 14 receptions for 183 yards and two touchdowns. Fuller has 11 receptions for 131 yards and no touchdowns. Swope is sometimes harder to find and account for because A&M will line him up wide, inside, at an H-back, and even as a running back. They move him all over meaning he could see coverage from either corner, either safety, and even the "star" linebacker.

Advantage: Even

OSU Quarterback Brandon Weeden vs. Texas A&M Outside Linebacker Sean Porter and Joker Caleb Russell

The Aggies bring the blitz from all over, but the number one spot that blitzes is the outside linebacker. Porter has 1.5 sacks on the season. The Aggies have a number of sacks off the defensive line, three-man front, but many of those got loose in blitz situations. The Cowboys offensive line will take care of the linemen, but it could but outside backers that cause disruption. The good thing is Weeden is a veteran and has really improved on picking up blitz trends and looks. His video study is very strong.

Advantage: Significant to Weeden

OSU Defensive Line vs. Texas A&M Offensive Line

The Cowboys had played really well on the defensive line in the first two games and were OK for the middle of the night at Tulsa until the middle of the third quarter with a 45-6 lead and Tulsa moving into an unbalanced offensive line. The Cowboys got caught and defensive end Cooper Bassett was pinned inside and Je'Tarian Douglas was off to the races on an 80-yard touchdown run. There are some out there that are unforgiving, but honestly, it was tough to keep the intensity going at that point at nearly 2:30 a.m. The A&M offensive line is a zone blocking group that also blocks for the power. I call that kind of offensive line "stompers." The Cowboys are really veteran, big, strong, and athletic at defensive end. Up the middle the Cowboys are better than they have been, but still really young and they will see some things out of A&M they haven't seen thus far.

Advantage: Even

Prediction:

Some are thinking this could end up being a defensive struggle, but I don't think so. I am not expecting the typical offensive fireworks for each side that could lead to a 50 something to 50 something game. The usual suspects could cause the game to go sideways like turnovers. If the game is clean for the most part then I expect a good offensive day for both teams and a closely contested finish. Oklahoma State has won three in a row. The road does not bother this group as they are veteran and kind of relish the opportunity to battle the opposing team and their crowd. The common denominators in the Cowboys three wins have been more sacks than A&M in all three games shutting A&M out at least one quarter, and a close to or right at 50 percent third down conversion rate. I like OSU to start fast and finish strong with the middle of the game being the problem. A shut out in the fourth quarter would be nice.

Final Score:

No. 6 Oklahoma State 34, Mo. 8 Texas A&M 31

Big 12 Predictions

This Week

@Miami, Fla. 31, Kansas State 14

@#19 Baylor 38, Rice 10

@Texas Tech 41, Nevada 28

@#1 Oklahoma 35, Missouri 13

Season Record

Straight Up: 20-5

Against the Spread: 13-4

Last Week

Straight Up: 9-1

Against the Spread: 7-0

Friday, Sept. 16

@Connecticut 23, Iowa State 21

Saturday, Sept. 17

@Georgia Tech 52, Kansas 17

#21 Texas 20, @UCLA 14

Texas Tech 49, @New Mexico 20

@#24 Baylor 56, S.F.A. 9

@Kansas State 38, Kent State 7

@Missouri 37, Western Illinois 6

@#9 Texas A&M 31, Idaho 13

#1 Oklahoma 34, @#5 Florida State 21

#7 Oklahoma State 41, @ Tulsa 20


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