OSU vs. Texas: An Early Look

Breaking down the sixth-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys showdown with No. 22 Texas on Saturday in Austin, Texas.

Saturday, 3:30 ET
SITE: Darrell K. Royal Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas
SERIES: Texas leads 22-3 (last meeting, 2010, Oklahoma Stae 33-16)
RECORDS: Oklahoma State 5-0, 2-0 Big 12; Texas 4-1, 1-1 Big 12
POLLS: Oklahoma State (No. 6 AP, No. 7 USA Today); Texas (No. 22 AP, No. 21 USA Today)
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 45-35

-- For Oklahoma State: Don't let minds wander. Talk already is turning to the Bedlam matchup with Oklahoma on Dec. 3, but the Cowboys have a lot of work to do before then. QB Brandon Weeden must avoid mistakes in leading a balanced offense against the Longhorns.

-- For Texas: Handle the fundamentals. Texas has to make tackles at the initial opportunity, take care of the football on offense, and avoid giving up the big play. It will also have to show the mental toughness to quickly forget about last week's blowout loss to Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State's execution on offense in the easy victory against Kansas was so sound, so crisp that the Jayhawks had trouble getting lined up before the ball was snapped, let alone getting in position to make tackles. QB Brandon Weeden is the trigger man, but credit the rest of the Cowboys for their familiarity with the offense and what calls their quarterback makes at the line of scrimmage. The fast-paced attack also reveals what kind of shape the veteran Oklahoma State line is in. The beauty of the attack is the space created for receivers to run freely with the football.

Oklahoma State's defense returned just five starters, yet coordinator Bill Young was confident he could mold a successful unit because many of the players gained experience a year ago. The Cowboys are not afraid to substitute. Many players gain valuable repetitions, including backups during the entire second half in the rout against Kansas. Young made adjustments in that game after the Jayhawks drove 80 yards for a touchdown on their first possession. OSU stiffened, forced four first-half turnovers and easily took control. The Cowboys recorded nine tackles for loss.

Texas has playmakers on offense. The Longhorns are averaging 172 yards a game on the ground and 216 through the air. The problem is their inexperience at quarterback with freshmen Case McCoy and David Ash, they also have a tendency to make mistakes and turn the ball over. WR Jason Shipley is emerging as a very reliable receiver (26 catches, 369 yards) who looks more and more like his older brother Jordan every game.

Texas is giving up 216 yards a game to opposing passers and will have a big challenge in trying to contain Oklahoma State's passing combination of QB Brandon Weeden and WR Justin Blackmon. The Longhorns rate as the No. 2 defense statistically in the Big 12, holding foes to just under 322 yards a game. Only 106 of that comes on the ground.

Cowboys: One potential problem for Oklahoma State as it enters the matchup at Texas is the Longhorns just spent time defending an up-tempo attack. Oklahoma runs virtually the same fast-break offense as Oklahoma State. ... Oklahoma State ranks in the top 10 nationally in eight statistical categories. It leads the country in scoring (51.4) and first downs (29.6). It ranks second in total offense (577.4) and passing offense (431.2). ... Last year's win for the Cowboys snapped a 12-game OSU losing streak in the series against the Longhorns. ... The 70-28 romp against Kansas on Saturday included a rare achievement by a defensive lineman. DE Jamie Blatnick recovered a fumble and also grabbed an interception. ... RB Herschel Sims, who was considered the prize recruit in the 2011 class at Oklahoma State, made his freshman debut against Kansas and gained 41 yards on 11 carries, with one touchdown. ... Sophomore LB Tyler Johnson also made his season debut. He battled LB Caleb Lavey for a starting berth at middle linebacker before suffering a knee injury in preseason camp.

Longhorns: Last year's loss to Oklahoma State in Stillwater, which ended Texas' 12-game winning streak in the series, was a rout early with the Cowboys jumping in front 26-3 at halftime and 33-3 going into the fourth quarter of the eventual 33-16 victory. ... One good sign for Texas: Mack Brown has traditionally been excellent at getting his team to refocus quickly after the annual Oklahoma game. Brown enters this weekend 13-0 in the games immediately following the one with the Sooners during his Longhorns career. ... The big loss to Oklahoma dropped the Longhorns from No. 11 to No. 22 in the AP poll and from No. 10 to No. 25 -- barely in -- in the USA Today rankings. ... Texas is 14-2 against Oklahoma State in games played in Austin ... The 28-point comeback against Oklahoma State in the 2004 win marked the largest deficit the Longhorns had ever overcome in the program history. ... Texas is 39-7 at home against Big 12 opponents in Brown's coaching tenure. ... Texas is 31-9 in its last 30 games against top 25 opponents.


CB Brodrick Brown: One of the top playmakers on the Oklahoma State defense, Brown has an interception in each of the past three games. With a 4-0 advantage in takeaways against Kansas, the Cowboys climbed to third nationally in turnover margin with a plus-2 average per game.

OT Parker Graham: The 6-7 sophomore was victimized on the very first play of the Kansas game when the Jayhawks recorded a sack off the left edge. The OSU line was solid after that, though the three sacks sustained in two conference games is just one short of the total the Cowboys allowed Big 12 opponents last season.

WR Hubert Anyiam: The senior led the Cowboys in receiving in 2009, yet was slowed by injuries all of last season when WR Justin Blackmon emerged as a breakout performer. Anyiam is again a dangerous threat, leading the Cowboys with 85 receiving yards and two touchdowns against Kansas.

QBs Case McCoy and David Ash: The two Longhorns quarterbacks will again be under the microscope this week. Oklahoma State is a high-risk, high-reward defense, offering opportunities for big plays while punishing teams that are careless with the football. Both quarterbacks were extremely careless with the football a week ago, and that can't happen again if the Longhorns hope to pull off the upset.

RB Fozzy Whittaker: Whittaker was the bright spot for the Longhorns against Oklahoma, running a kickoff back 100 yards for a touchdown and gaining 45 yards on the ground. Malcolm Brown had his worst game of his young career against the Sooners, so Whittaker may find himself getting more work in the backfield this week.

CB Quandre Diggs: Diggs had a tough day against Oklahoma, getting beat for a 40-yard gain on Oklahoma's first play and finding himself victimized several times thereafter. He won't have much time to lick his wounds, as he can expect Oklahoma State to target him as well.

Cowboys: C Grant Garner (knee, probable).
Longhorns: LLB Aaron Benson (concussion, day-to-day).

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