OSU-UTSA: Match-ups & Prediction

The drama at the quarterback position is the biggest story with Daxx Garman expected to make his first start in just the second game of his college career and just the second game he's played in during this decade. That may be an especially dramatic statement made possible because Garman last played before the Missouri State game in Jones, Oklahoma during his junior season in high school.

Garman played well is shaking off the rust and becoming more polished as the game went on. Getting the majority of reps in practice will make any player at any position better, but it has an exaggerated impact on a quarterback.

The other big question at quarterback will be whether head coach Mike Gundy will choose to play true freshman and now back-up quarterback Mason Rudolph if the opportunity arises. The question Gundy must answer is to play him when you can or wait to see if you have to play him.

There is more at stake than quarterback evaluations. Oklahoma State had a strong effort in the opener against defending national champion and top-ranked Florida State and then followed up with a less than stellar showing while playing a lot of young players on defense and settling in on offense with a different quarterback. It should be easy to forgive. It also should be important to reset that momentum that resulted from the opening game.

After Saturday, the next time the Cowboys play it will be before another national audience on Thursday night football on ESPN against Texas Tech. Non-conference is just about over and Gundy has pushed this game as the "unofficial" conference opener because the way the Roadrunners have played in their first two games.

Top Three Match-Ups
3: Oklahoma State Running Back Tyreek Hill
vs. UTSA Free Safety Tristan Wade
Watching tape on UTSA and their first two wins, the advantage that becomes apparent for Oklahoma State is speed. The Cowboys are one of the fastest college football teams in the nation with the fastest college football player in the country in Tyreek Hill.

It is time to unleash Hill and his speed. The Cowboys have toyed with Hill on offense and special teams in letting him run loose some. It is time to let him explode. Last week, an obviously slower Missouri State team used its defense to bracket the field and try to keep Hill hemmed inside and not on the loose. It worked somewhat successfully.

If UTSA is going to employ a similar strategy then free safety Tristan Wade will have to be involved. Hill is a very dependable player who has 11 tackles in the first two games. The senior from John Tyler High School is good but I'm not sure he can keep up with Hill. Hill could easily become even more versatile as well with roles likely to change with quarterbacks changing.
Winner: Oklahoma State running back Tyreek Hill

2: Oklahoma State Offensive Tackle Zach Crabtree
vs. UTSA Defensive Ends Robert Singletary and Jason Neill
and Hawk Linebacker Jens Jeters
This is the third week in a row for the redshirt freshman offensive tackle to be named in one of the match-ups. You would think that would go to Tyreek Hill or Ryan Simmons or defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. The truth is Crabtree came out of the first game with flying colors.

The concern now is, and you can include center Paul Lewis and right guard Zac Veatch in this as well, is last week Missouri State used a delayed blitz where linebacker Dylan Cole waited for the defensive end in the 3-4 front to engage with Crabtree and then he flew off the edge all the way to six tackles for loss.

Crabtree has to learn to identify stunts and blitzes, and all of the offensive linemen have to do a better job of communicating solutions quickly and efficiently. UTSA watched the tape and even though they are not a 3-4 defense they will test the Cowboys to make sure they shored up that situation.
Winner: Oklahoma State offensive tackle Zach Crabtree

1: Oklahoma State Cornerback Kevin Peterson
vs. UTSA Wide Receiver Kam Jones
Jones is a thorn in any defense's side. He can really play and he is involved heavily in the offense. He can run jet sweeps, throw reverse passes, and yes, he can catch a pass as well.

Peterson likely won't get to cover Jones all the time and UTSA may be smart and opt to line Jones up opposite Ashton Lampkin or any other corner in the game. Peterson needs to shut down his side of the field, which is is quite capable of doing. He is the best cover corner in the Big 12 and maybe one of the top five in the country. It would be nice to squelch Jones because he is such a demonstrative player in the Roadrunners offense.
Winner: Oklahoma State Cornerback Kevin Peterson

Oklahoma State-UTSA Prediction
Speed is still the answer to me in this game. Yes, UTSA is more experienced and has a number of three-year starters on both sides of the ball, but at the end of the day the Cowboys are faster, much faster, and that will be the deciding factor in how the game plays out. I do think it will be closer than last season, but after last year's fourth quarter against this team and last week's game, Mike Gundy won't be subbing just to sub. He won't put this verdict in any kind of jeopardy. I think the Cowboys lead 35-10 at the half.
Oklahoma State 45, Texas-San Antonio 20

Big 12 Predictions
This Week

Friday, Sept. 12
#7 Baylor 62, @Buffalo 21
Last season the Bears blasted Buffalo by 57 points, so this should almost seem competitive to the home team.

Saturday, Sept. 13
West Virginia 31, @Maryland 28
Close game with the underdog Mountaineers winning after losing 37-0 last season.

@Iowa 20, Iowa State 17
Hard game to pick because neither will be a factor in their conference race. Iowa State, off to an 0-2 start, could win this.

@Duke 38, Kansas 20
This game would be nationally televised and a highlight of the weekend if it was on the hardwood.

Arkansas 30, @Texas Tech 28
In August I would have picked Texas Tech to win this but the Red Raiders may be worse than they were a year ago, and Arkansas has improved.

@TCU 44, Minnesota 9
The Horned Frogs are starting to click with the Meacham/Cumbie offense.

@ #3 Oklahoma 35, Tennessee 21
Volunteers show up and play better than anticipated. Oklahoma still waiting to pick on someone their own size.

#12 UCLA 27, Texas 12
Longhorns are almost dead in the water when it comes to generating offense, and the defense is already getting tired.

Last Week: 8-1 (straight up) / 4-2 (against the spread)
Season Total: 15-2 (straight up) / 7-3 (against the spread)
The only score I missed straight up was Texas Tech squeaking by UTEP. I had picked UTEP to upset the Red Raiders straight up. I missed the spread on Kansas State as they just got by Iowa State.
(Note: Not all games have point spreads as FBS vs. FCS games often don't.)

@Oklahoma State 54, Missouri State 13
Actual: 40-23 Oklahoma State

#20 Kansas State 38, @Iowa State 10
Actual: 32-28 Kansas State

#3 Oklahoma 35, @Tulsa 6
Actual: 52-7 Oklahoma

@Kansas 23, Southeast Missouri State 12
Actual: 34-28 Kansas

@#9 Baylor 34, Northwestern State (La.) 14
Actual: 70-6 Baylor

BYU 27 @#25 Texas 24
Actual: 41-7 BYU

@West Virginia 42, Towson 14
Actual: 54-0 West Virginia

@UTEP 37, Texas Tech 35
Actual: 30-26 Texas Tech

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