OSU-Arizona: Key Match-ups & Prediction

It's the second week of the season and new quarterback Wes Lunt is in the match-ups again. There's a good reason as this will be a major step up in competition. Lunt will be working against a veteran middle linebacker that is the controller on the field of the Arizona 3-3-5 defense. Lunt will get different looks and will have a chance to catch the Wildcats in some compromising positions.

Arizona quarterback Matt Scott will play a major role as he will try to keep the Cowboys secondary guessing whether it is run or pass. The match-up of the Arizona offense vs. the Oklahoma State defense will be the more interesting battle on Saturday night.

OSU quarterback Wes Lunt
vs. Arizona middle linebacker Jake Fischer
Fischer is the on-the-field coach for the Arizona defense. With a new scheme going against a successful high-tempo offense, the Wildcats, who are thin on depth and especially at linebacker, need evey edge they can get.

If Fischer can read through the rookie quarterback that is the kind of edge that would help. That or a big hit that gets Lunt thinking about something other than executing plays and completing all of his passes like he did in the opener against overmatched Savannah State.

This match-up comes down to being as simple as a middle linebacker staring down a quarterback and trying to see what he is thinking. Lunt is absolutely cool and has not shown any tendency to be rattled. If he stays that way then it will be hard luck for Fischer.

Lunt with a slight edge

OSU defensive tackles Calvin Barnett and James Castleman
vs. Arizona center Kyle Quinn and guards Trace Biskin (right)
and Chris Putton (left)
Last week showed that Barnett, Castleman and the other Cowboys defensive tackles are posied for a good season. I write that knowing they were going up against an offensive line from Savannah State that was way overmatched.

Former defensive end Richetti Jones said that Barnett has some "dog" to him, which is a good way to say that he will really battle. The Arizona guards are not real stout and this is an opportunity for the Cowboys defensive interior to get push up the middle. If they get containment on the outide then Arizona will have problems.

Barnett and Castleman win decisively

OSU secondary vs. Arizona QB Matt Scott
The key here is the third option to the zone-read spread offense that Rich Rodriguez employs. Scott has a great arm and he threw for 387 against Toledo.

When defensive backs (corners and safeties) see the zone-read the temptation is to come up and support the run. But with the third option being a pull up by the QB for a slant or hitch they have to stay at home in coverage. Arizona burned Toledo with it last Saturday. Scott is very deceptive and also capable of doing a lot of damage running or passing.

Scott with a slight edge

Game Prediction
The first thought is the Oklahoma State offense's tempo will allow the Cowboys to take advantage of an Arizona defense that is new in scheme to the players and a little depth stressed with injuries from preseason camp. That explains our points on the Oklahoma State side.

I believe that Lunt is the real deal and won't be a lot different than he was in the opener even after realizing that the competition is much greater. The match-up that I'm looking forward to watching is the OSU defense versus the Arizona offense. That could be interesting. Watch the turnover and sack numbers as they could be a big difference maker.

No. 16 Oklahoma State 49, Arizona 21

Big 12 Predictions
Kansas State 31, Miami, Fla. 20
Iowa State 23, Iowa 21
Rice 28, Kansas 21
No. 6 Oklahoma 70, Florida A&M 7
No. 21 TCU 56, Grambling State 14
Texas Tech 27, Texas State 20
No. 15 Texas 48, New Mexico 17

Last Week's Predictions
Savannah State 0, Oklahoma State 73
Actual Score: Oklahoma State, 84-0

Marshall 13, West Virginia 42
Actual Score: West Virginia, 69-34

Tulsa 24, Iowa State 28
Actual Score: Iowa State, 38-23

Missouri State 6, Kansas State 34
Actual Score: Kansas State, 51-9

South Dakota State 17, Kansas 21
Actual Score: Kansas, 31-17

Wyoming 10, Texas 35
Actual Score: Texas, 37-17

Northwestern State 10, Texas Tech 24
Actual Score: Texas Tech, 44-8

Oklahoma 49, UTEP 20
Actual Score: Oklahoma, 24-7

SMU 28, Baylor 37
Actual Score: Baylor, 59-24

Record: SU 9-0/ATS 5-0 (games involving FCS teams don't have point spreads)

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