Follow The Oregon Model

National and local perceptions have long been that Oklahoma State has followed the "Oregon model" to success.

From flashy new looks, top-of-the-line facility upgrades and a megabooster, the comparison has a lot of truth to it. Now that the Cowboys are in their first BCS bowl game today against No. 4 Stanford, it's appropriate to use the "Oregon model" one more time.

But this time OSU needs to try to recreate what the Ducks did on the field on Nov. 12.

UO struck first and struck often in handing the Cardinal its only loss of the 2011 season. When Stanford has to play from behind, it can't play the way it wants to — being a run-first team.

When Stanford has a lead it practices ball control with big run packages, time draining huddles to the end of the play clock and thrives by keeping the opposing offense on the sideline.

Only one team has had enough success in thwarting that gameplan, and it led to a lopsided 53-30 win by Oregon.

And of teams the Cardinal has faced, none is more similar to Oregon than Oklahoma State. The Pokes run a fast-paced style, score frequently and force the opponent to change what it wants to do.

Oregon ranked fourth in total offense; OSU ranks third. Oregon was third in scoring offense; OSU is second. Statistically, the two are very similar but that isn't necessarily the most important comparison to draw from the two.

What bodes well for OSU is this — the Cowboys have excellent balance offensively and team speed that only the Ducks have shown them.

Stanford is known to be stout against the run but has faltered against the top running backs it has faced, most notably the Ducks' LaMichael James. Oregon relied heavily on its star back, who dictated the flow of the game with 20 carries for 146 yards and three touchdowns. James finished ninth nationally among running backs with 17 touchdowns on the ground. OSU's Joseph Randle finished third with 23.

The best way for the Cowboys to counter Stanford's physically and ball control approach is to do the exact same thing to them. The Cardinal coaches have talked all week about priority No. 1 being to slow down Justin Blackmon and impact the Cowboys passing attack but, in reality, if the Cowboys can get Randle and Jeremy Smith going like Oregon did with its backs, it could be long evening for Stanford.


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