OSU Punt Team vs. SMU Punt Return Team
This is one area where SMU could gain an advantage, even a scoring opportunity in the game. Speedy Blake Warren has returned three punts for 69 yards and a lofty average of 23 yards per return. He also had another long return against TCU called back on an inadvertant whistle. SMU has invested a lot of time and effort into its special teams, but so does OSU with special teams coordinator Joe DeForest. The Cowboys punt average is near where DeForest would like it at 43.5 yards per punt for Cole Farden. However, the Cowboys have allowed an average of 10.0 yards a return for a net punt average of 33.5 yards. DeForest would like for it to be 38 yards or more. The Cowboys have a good coverage unit, and this will represent a nice nonconference challenge on Saturday.
Edge: Slight to SMU
OSU Offensive Line vs. SMU Defensive Front
So far, so good for the group of Corey Hilliard, David Koenig, Chris Akin, Sam Mayes and Kellen Davis. They have powered through the UCLA Bruins and Tulsa Golden Hurricane in leading the way for the Cowboys 351 yards per game rushing attack. Mustangs Head Coach Phil Bennett is determined not to let teams run on his defense. The Ponies are giving up an average of 116 yards on the ground. Allan Adami is the anchor of the defensive line with solid help from defensive ends Melvin Williams and Justin Rogers. Former OSU commitment Cory Muse out of Millwood is a backup at defensive end. The problem for the Mustangs is at linebacker where middle backer D.D. Lee is out for the season and weakside backer Rico Harris is out for this game. Both players will be replaced by true freshmen. It would appear the Cowboys will be able to run. This game is also going to be the first where the Cowboys will throw double digit passes in the ballgame. The Mustangs have sacked opposing quarterbacks three times in their first two games. The Cowboys have allowed just one sack for a five-yard loss.
Edge: Big to OSU
OSU Wide Receivers vs. SMU Secondary
Rashaun Woods is gone, so SMU defensive backs won't have to deal with nightmares this week. There is still a Woods catching passes in D'Juan Woods, and he is chomping at the bit to catch his first, second, third passes and so on for this season. New quarterback Donovan Woods has only throw 16 passes in the first two games and completed just five – paltry numbers that have the Cowboys fans slightly alarmed. Well, Les Miles and Mike Gundy look to have picked a gem of an opponent for Woods to get target practice against. The Mustangs are giving up an average of 433.5 yards per game through the air. Remember SMU opened with Texas Tech. Free safety Alvin Nnbuife will miss the game with a hamstring injury. The corners are small, but athletic. Cornerback Rolando Humphrey leads the Mustangs in tackles with 19. Now the OSU wide receivers are not dynamos, but this could be a major confidence builder for the passing game.
Edge: Solid to OSU
OSU vs. SMU: Key Matchups
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