Oklahoma State's defense will be keying on Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard on Saturday

Oklahoma State's defense will be keying on Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard on Saturday

Welcome to the world of Oklahoma State versus Texas where the visiting team rules and the nation will get two questions answered on Saturday.

Is the Oklahoma State team and the Cowboys defense as good as it has looked in the soft nonconference portion of the schedule? By the way, just an endorsement of the nonconference schedule, don’t you remember that UTSA nearly knocked off No. 22 Arizona in the opener in Tucson? Also, did you see that Central Michigan went to overtime before losing 30-27 to Syracuse in the Carrier Dome last Saturday? Not trying to tell you the Chippewas and Roadrunners belong in the Big 12 as new members, but they are better than chopped liver.

The other question to be answered is, can Texas possibly be as bad as they looked in their first two games and are the Horns back on track with Jerrod Heard in the saddle at quarterback?

My answer to question 1 is yes. The answer to question 2 is no and yes, they are working their way back but it will take some time.
Key Matchups
Oklahoma State Star LB #20 Jordan Burton and FS #13 Jordan Sterns
vs. Texas QB #13 Jerrod Heard
Heard is really talented but he is also still in his infancy as a major college starting quarterback and that leads a player to being a one read and run type of quarterback. Mistakes are possible, even probable with young starting quarterbacks especially against defenses that encourage mistakes and the Cowboys do. The weapon for Heard and Texas is space and the more Heard gets then the bigger plays he can plot. Speed and tackling ability is the weapon for Oklahoma State to minimize what Heard can do. Star linebacker Jordan Burton and free safety Jordan Sterns are both quick and both can tackle, especially Sterns with 28 tackles so far this season. You must minimize space and Burton and Sterns will be at the head of the group responsible to taking care of that.
Oklahoma State CB #1 Kevin Peterson
vs. Texas WR #4 Daje Johnson                           
Johnson has developed into the big-play receiver for Texas in a season where the Horns were looking for someone, a veteran or a freshman, to step up. Head coach Charlie Strong says football is now more important to Johnson. It has always been pretty important to Peterson, who is one of the best cover corners in college football. New quarterback Heard will be looking for Johnson and I’m looking forward to seeing Peterson glued to him.
Oklahoma State Cowboy Backs #44 Jeremy Seaton, #47 Blake Jarwin, and #86 Zac Veatch
vs. Texas LBers #19 Peter Jinkens, #46 Malik Jefferson, and #45 Anthony Wheeler 
We saw the Cowboy backs get used in some new and successful ways in the blocking schemes in the offense last week and now they will be matched up in some of those situations with a young corps of Texas linebackers. True freshman Malik Jefferson is at middle linebacker and has been successful with 27 total tackles this season, high for the Horns defense and third in the Big 12. Peter Jinkens is a senior and now with the injury to Edward Freeman it would appear another true freshman in Anthony Wheeler will start. That is a lot of youth against an experienced trio of Cowboys backs in Seaton, Jarwin and Veatch. A secret weapon or unsung weapon for the Cowboys? The Cowboy backs could be just that on Saturday in Austin.
Oklahoma State vs. Texas Prediction
I said back in late July and early August that I thought Texas would be ugly this season. In all my years of covering the Big Eight and later the Big 12 and preseason football media events ranging from the old Skywriters tour where we hit the campuses to the Media Days events that have been held throughout the Big 12 years I have never seen a less inspired or seemingly dreading the season group of players and a head coach than Charlie Strong and the Texas contingent in Dallas this year.

That and what I thought Texas had coming back convinced me the Longhorns would be awful and in the opener against Notre Dame they were. Now with the advent of Jerrod Heard at quarterback they are showing signs of life. Oklahoma State fans have suddenly become a little apprehensive. I’m backing off too. I said OSU, make that guaranteed OSU would win by four touchdowns. I’m down to 18 points now.
#22 Oklahoma State 35, @Texas 17

Big 12 Predictions
Last Week: (Straight Up) 6-1 (Against the Spread-Not all games have point spreads) 3-3
Season:  (Straight Up) 23-4 (Against the Spread-Not all games have point spreads) 12-10-1

Kansas 25, @Rutgers 28
Rice 20, @#4 Baylor 48
Maryland 6, @West Virginia 34
#2 TCU 44, @Texas Tech 42

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