OSU-Louisiana: Key Match-ups & Prediction

I have to admit that I was not expecting to write about an effort to shake off a loss. But you don't always get what you want. Most of the time you get what you can handle, or in this case, you get what you need. That means the 2-0 Louisiana Ragin Cajuns come to town. The Cajuns are a good team, but not a great one. They are upper level Sun Belt, which equates to just below midpack in the Big 12.

These two team know each other well, and the motivation has to be on the side of the Cajuns following a pair of losses the last two seasons, including last season's 61-34 win by the Cowboys to open the Big 12 Championship and Fiesta Bowl season.

If the Cowboys gum this up and mess around and make mistakes -- like they did at Arizona -- then it becomes very interesting. But if OSU plays clean and close to potential then it should be a "get well" game before Texas comes in on Sept. 29 to open up Big 12 play,

OSU wide receivers Tracy Moore and Isaiah Anderson
vs. ULL corners Melvin White and Jemar Moten
The return of Moore was huge last week, and here is hoping this is the start of a dominating season, and that his prolific play will be contagious to a receiver corps that badly regressed at Arizona.

You also may be on the verge of seeing previously injured receivers Torrance Carr and David Glidden back in the mix. That would certainly help as some of the young freshmen are not quite as ready for prime time as previously thought.

Neither White nor Moten are Dwight Bently, who is now starting at corner for the NFL's Detroit Lions. Moten did have a pick six last season against the Cowboys. The match-ups should be fun as White is a 6-3, 191-pound physical corner who will be a test for Moore, and Moten is a smaller speedster that will line up more on Anderson.

OSU's Moore and Anderson with a solid edge

OSU back-up center Jake Jenkins
vs. ULL back-up nose tackle Brandon McCray
All of a sudden this becomes fair because it is likely that Jenkins gets the start for Evan Epstein, who was injured (not serious) late in the loss at Arizona.

McCray will be starting for 330-pound explosion-waiting-to-happen in Justin Hamilton. Hamilton was ejected in last week's win over Troy and Sun Belt rules, upheld despite a protest this week, call for players ejected to be suspended for the following contest. Both players missing might make coaches nervous but all in all it becomes fair and a good match-up to watch.

OSU's Jenkins with a slight edge

OSU middle linebacker Caleb Lavey
vs. ULL quarterbacks Blaine Gautier or Terrance Broadway
How often are two of your best players on one side of the ball at the same position? Well pretty often based on this game because Joseph Randle and Jeremy Smith are two of the Cowboys better players and they both play running back. The thing is both Randle and Smith could play at the same time.

Quarterbacks Gautier and Broadway really can't. Either quarterback is going to look to confuse the Cowboys with a bunch of formations. But at the end of the day they will be running three or four run plays, divide zone, zone read, counter, and jet mixed with a few passes.

The disguises, fakes, and ball skills are there to fool the Cowboys. Caleb Lavey, onfield director of the OSU defense, is there not to be fooled.

Too Close to Call

This Week's Prediction
There are two scenarios at play here and this is the one we think will play out. If the Cowboys get the ball to start the game they will drive it down the field in efficient fashion for a score. They will then get a stop and put another drive together mixing Randle and Smith runs with Lunt passes and take control of the game.

Does that storyline sound familiar? it should as that was the way the OSU-Arizona game started last week, only to go south in a hurry after the 14-0 start. This one won't go south as the prediction is the Cowboys roll to a 45-21 victory, or perhaps even better.

Now the other possibility is the Cowboys suffer a desert hangover, the early breaks go in favor of Louisiana and the Cajuns out-execute the Cowboys early. I still think Oklahoma State will scramble for a win, but if that happens the Cowboys and their fans will spend the next two weeks seriously wondering whether they can beat Texas and be a serious factor in the Big 12.

If the storyline plays out for a big win then the Cowboys use the momentum to aim toward an important Big 12 opener against the Longhorns.

Oklahoma State 45, Louisiana-Lafayette 21

Big 12 Predictions
No. 15 TCU 59, Kansas 24

No. 8 West Virginia 54, James Madison 21

No. 14 Kansas State 38, North Texas 10

Texas Tech 34, New Mexico 7

Baylor 27, Sam Houston St. 7

Iowa State 38, Western Illinois 12

No. 12 Texas 28, Mississippi 20

Last Week's Predictions
No. 16 Oklahoma State 49, Arizona 21
Actual Score: Arizona 59-38

Kansas State 31, Miami, Fla. 20
Actual Score: Kansas State 52-13

Iowa State 23, Iowa 21
Actual Score: Iowa State 9-6

Rice 28, Kansas 21
Actual Score: Rice 25-24

No. 6 Oklahoma 70, Florida A&M 7
Actual Score: Oklahoma 69-13

No. 21 TCU 56, Grambling State 14
Actual Score: TCU 56-0

Texas Tech 27, Texas State 20
Actual Score: 58-10

No. 15 Texas 48, New Mexico 17
Actual Score: Texas 45-0

Record: SU 15-1/ATS 9-2 (Games involving FCS teams don't have point spreads.)

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