OSU-UTSA: Key Matchups/Predictions

This situation reminds us of the 2009 season with Oklahoma State opening the season with a big win over an SEC opponent (24-10 over Georgia) and then losing the next week to a Conference USA opponent from Texas (Houston 45-35). The difference between 2009 and 2013 is the players. Head coach Mike Gundy will tell you this group, even though it includes some really young players, is without drama.

The Cowboys come to work each day. Even though fans and others have tried to stir up a quarterback controversy on the heels of J.W. Walsh coming through against Mississippi State and being named the starter, the team has handled it well. The players have prepared for a business trip to San Antonio.

Key Match-Ups for OSU at UTSA
1. OSU defensive ends Tyler Johnson and Jimmy Bean
vs. UTSA offensive tackles Cody Harris and Jordan Gray
The Cowboys defensive ends performed even better than anticipated last week against Mississippi State. Much like he did in the bowl game against Purdue, Tyler Johnson came up with both a big tackle and a sack to ignite the cause. Jimmy Bean was the other starter but go ahead and include the names of Sam Wren, Trace Clark and Emmanuel Ogbah.

Cody Harris, the left tackle for UTSA, is a robust 6-5, 300 pounds but right tackle Jordan Gray is the runt of the offensive line. While UTSA head coach Larry Coker was proud of his play at New Mexico, the Cowboys are much better and will test the 6-2, 260-pound right tackle.

The Roadrunners often employ a tight end, and he can be kept in to help. Big back Evans Okotcha and fullback Nate Shaw can help as well. The word is quarterback Eric Soza is a little gimpy after last week and that will be observed and sensed by Johnson and Co.
Advantage: OSU defensive ends Tyler Johnson and Jimmy Bean

2. OSU middle linebacker Caleb Lavey and free safety Daytawion Lowe
vs. UTSA quarterback Eric Soza
Soza is a very good decision maker, but so are Lavey and Lowe. The interesting aspect of this match-up from the mental side is UTSA runs a few run plays and a few pass plays and they do it from all of the formations they use, at least it seems that way.

They will also mix in all kinds of motions to get the defenders' minds messed up. The Cowboys must cut through the clutter and deception to read the play quickly after the snap. Speed and discipline will be critical, and the Cowboys are very good in those areas.
Advantage: OSU and Caleb Lavey and Daytawion Lowe

3. OSU wide receivers Tracy Moore, Charlie Moore and JhaJuan Seales
vs. UTSA cornerback Darrien Starling
I wanted to feature this match-up because Starling may just be 5-9 (or less) and 195 pounds but he reminds me of former Cowboy cornerback Brodrick "Bulldog" Brown. Starling is just a tad bit cocky and likes to use hand signals to show his pleasure or displeasure with the result of the play.

Tracy Moore may be the most fun match-up here. Moore is physical, so these two could really end up going at it. I'm just not sure how fast Sparling is, and he will need some wheels and a good turn of hip to get out of his back pedal and into full run as all three, especially Seales, have very good straight-on speed in their routes. A good vertical will be fun to test out this match-up.
Advantage: OSU and Tracy Moore, Charlie Moore and JhaJuan Seales

Game Prediction
No. 13 Oklahoma State 48, UTSA 10
I know you won't believe me but I will predict something like 21-7 at the half. Not a nail biter but certainly a competitive game. These guys have earned their shot at OSU and a BCS program. Last season they only lost to Division I bowl teams, or in La. Tech, a bowl eligible Division I team, in going 8-4.

They won last week at New Mexico after falling behind 13-0. Larry Coker is an excellent head coach and guys like Neal Neatherly, Kevin Brown and Eric Roark are very good coaches. It is a good staff that has recruited mostly Texas high school football players. Let's see where does Gundy and his staff like to go? Oh yeah, Texas. They may not be the same players, but they are pretty darn good and they are proud.

The biggest difference is in the depth and that should show up more in the second half. Yes, the Cowboys are better, but UTSA will show up and play similarly to a Tulsa, Louisiana or Rice. Let's hope they don't play like Troy because they will certainly come into it emotionally a lot like that Trojans team did back in 2007.

The good thing is these Cowboys are a lot better than in 2007, and this OSU team has shown a lot of maturity, something that really helps win games on the road.

Big 12 Predictions
No. 24 TCU 58, SE Louisiana 6
Horned Frogs eager to even their record with gusto.

Baylor 48, Buffalo 14
Buffalo played Ohio State tough, but the nation is about to be able to compare and contrast Bears and Buckeyes.

Kansas State 34, Louisiana-Lafayette 21
Wildcats plays Sams more at QB, and score more, but ULL is not as bad as they looked last week at Arkansas.

Kansas 24, South Dakota 14
Jayhawks and Jake Heaps are too much for Jack Rabbits.

No. 15 Oklahoma 35, West Virginia 7
This will still feel like revenge for Stoops as last season's score-athon drew OU fan criticism.

No. 16 Texas 20, BYU 16
Longhorns on "Upset Alert."

Texas Tech 63, Stephen F. Austin 24
This one will be goofy wacky in Lubbock.

Last Week - Straight Up: 6-3; Against the Spread: 2-3
@SMU 35, Texas Tech 31. Actual Score: 41-23 Tech
@Kansas State 38, North Dakota State 24. Actual Score: 24-21 NDSU
@West Virginia 42, William & Mary 19. Actual Score: 24-17 WVU
#14-Oklahoma State 38, Mississippi State 20 in Houston. Actual Score: 21-3 OSU
@#16-Oklahoma 45, Louisiana-Monroe 31. Actual Score: 34-0 OU
@Baylor 54, Wofford 10. Actual Score: 69-3 Baylor
@Iowa State 26, Northern Iowa 14. Actual Score: 28-20 UNI @#15-Texas 59, New Mexico State 0. Actual Score: 56-7 Texas
#13-LSU 28, #20-TCU 20 in Dallas. Actual Score: 37-27 LSU

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