OSU-Texas: Key Matchups & Predictions

Okay, here we go with another round of the November Big 12 playoffs as Oklahoma State heads to Texas. Here's what is at stake, if the Cowboys win they almost assuredly guarantee a premium bowl game of at least the Cotton Bowl. More important, it makes next week's OSU game against Baylor, no matter what the Bears do on Saturday night, the biggest game nationally on Nov. 23.

This is a huge game and the Cowboys are favored to win their third in a row over Texas in Austin. That alone is pretty impressive.

Key Matchups: Oklahoma State vs. Texas
1. OSU tackles Daniel Koenig and Brandon Garrett
vs. Texas defensive ends Jackson Jeffcoat and Cedric Reed
There's a chance that Jeffcoat and Reed will both be voted to the All-Big 12 team, with at least one, more likely Jeffcoat, being named to the first team.

That is a huge chore for the Cowboys offensive tackles. Koenig has to come with his meanest of mean streaks for this one and channel that energy into a positive way in dealing with the Texas defensive ends. Garrett is best liked in his role at right tackle for his pass set and that technique will be challenged. But both will also need to get push and block up the run against the Longhorn defensive ends.

A stalemate all day in these matchups would amount to a victory for the Cowboys. The most important aspect of this is not to allow Reed and Jeffcoat to orchestrate a number of big negative plays against the Oklahoma State offense.
Advantage: Texas defensive ends Jeffcoat and Reed

2. OSU middle linebacker Caleb Lavey
vs. Texas running back Malcolm Brown
Lavey has been a Longhorn killer as he seems to always put up strong stats against Texas, and facing a power running attack is his preference. A week ago, before the injury to Johnathan Gray, this might have been an even more stout test for Lavey, but Brown and backup Joe Bergeron are plenty good.

Lavey kind of leads an "L" brigade when it comes to stopping the Longhorns as fellow linebacker Shaun Lewis and safety Daytawion Lowe are all stout when it comes to playing defense against the Longhorns. Coming from a Texas high school powerhouse like Celina High School, playing Texas is not lost on Lavey. In fact, I think he cherishes the opportunity.
Advantage: OSU middle linebacker Caleb Lavey

3. OSU cornerbacks Justin Gilbert and Kevin Peterson
vs. Texas wide receiver Jaxon Shipley
Shipley is simply the "go to" guy for Texas quarterback Case McCoy. If you take Shipley away and really curtail his catches and how open he is it would be very interesting to see how McCoy and the Texas offense reacts. So far, nobody has done that. When McCoy has needed his security blanket, Shipley has been there either open or, if covered, still able to make a tough catch.

The Cowboys corner play just gets better and better, and Peterson looked really good coming off the one week injury. The depth with Tyler Patmon and Ashton Lampkin is good as well. Last year Shipley made Boone Pickens Stadium his playground, but he may find the competition more stiff this time around.
Advantage: OSU cornerbacks Gilbert and Peterson

OSU-Texas Prediction
I like the Cowboys and I have liked this matchup leading up to the game for the past several weeks. I owe you an answer why and it might surprise you. I like the matchup because of the Oklahoma State defense.

The challenge in this game for both defenses will be to stop the run. Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer from Oklahoma State and Greg Robinson from Texas will want to stop the run and force the quarterbacks to have to win the game. Now, both quarterbacks can do that as Clint Chelf and Case McCoy have proven to be winners. They seem to be able to step up and make plays that are needed to get their team a win.

However, if the run game is shut down, it will make it much harder on those two quarterbacks. Provided turnovers don't get out of whack, and they could as the Cowboys and Texas have both been opportunistic in that area, I really think the team with the least amount of rushing yards loses the game. I think that team will also have the poorest third-down conversion percentage as you will have to run some to keep the chains moving.

Could it be that simple? I think so, and I also think the Oklahoma State defense will do the best job of stopping the run on Saturday.

Oklahoma State 34, Texas 27

Big 12 Predictions
This Week
(rankings are from USA Today Coaches Poll)
West Virginia 35, Kansas 16
Mountaineers need to win out to become bowl eligible and they get the first leg on Saturday.

No. 17 Oklahoma 42, Iowa State 21
Sooners looking for a soft spot to get better and this is the only soft spot left on their schedule.

Kansas State 28, TCU 20
The battle of purple and Kansas State better not rest on their laurels of recent weeks because alumnus Gary Patterson will bring a team ready to play.

No. 4 Baylor 56, Texas Tech 21 (at Arlington)
Baylor knows so well how to defend the spread and that is not good news for Texas Tech in their free fall, neither is Baylor's ability to run the ball with even their third-team back.

Last Week - Straight Up: 5-0; Against the Spread: 4-1
For the Season - Straight Up 49-11; Against the Spread: 27-24

Last Week
No. 5 Baylor 52, No. 8 Oklahoma 24
Actual Score: Baylor 41, Oklahoma 12

No. 11 Oklahoma State 38, Kansas 10
Actual Score: Oklahoma State 42, Kansas 6

Kansas State 34, No. 23 Texas Tech 31
Actual Score: Kansas State 49, Texas Tech 26

TCU 26 @Iowa State 24 Actual Score: TCU 21 @Iowa State 17

Texas 27, West Virginia 21
Actual Score: Texas 47, West Virginia 40 (OT)

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