OSU-Missouri State Matchups

Let's be honest, Division I-A Oklahoma State against I-AA Missouri State means the Cowboys hold the cards in every matchup. It is coach speak that Mike Gundy has been using since the start of camp, but if OSU goes out and doesn't turn the ball over, executes well, and tackles well on defense tackles, and comes up with a few turnovers then Oklahoma State wins this opener big.

However, if the Cowboys sputter, have ridiculous penalties, turn the ball over, and allow Missouri State some confidence building chunk plays then hold onto your hat like Montana State or Arkansas State from last season.

That said there are still some interesting matchups that could really impact the outcome, and guess what, none of them involve Bobby Reid.

KEY MATCHUPS

1. OSU defensive line vs. Missouri State offensive line

This is the deepest and most experienced area of the team for the Cowboys. Five of the eight top tackles and ends on the depth chart are seniors. Three of the four second teamers on the depth chart are former starters, with Jeray Chatham at tackle being the lone exception and he has played quite a bit. The linebackers and secondary are young, so as defensive coordinator Vance Bedford told us it is important for the defensive front, including tackles Ryan McBean and Larry Brown, to not only tie up blockers, but make plays. Sacks, deflections, tackles for losses, forced fumbles, even an interception are the order of the day going against two Missouri State quarterbacks that have never played a major college game.

Out to stop the OSU front is a senior dominated offensive line for the Bears with all five being returning starters. Right guard Steve Kohenskey is the ring leader at 6-2, 301 pounds. Kohenskey is the only 300-pounder with left tackle Jacob Elliot a very light 271 pounds and right tackle Justin Williamson at 280 pounds. This line is good, very good by Division I-AA standards, but the expectation is for the Cowboys defensive line to riddle it with holes.

Edge to the OSU defensive line

2. OSU wide receivers vs. Missouri State secondary
Adarius Bowman joins D'Juan Woods making the Cowboys no longer lopsided in the passing game. Bowman proved at North Carolina he is a big play waiting to happen and Cowboy fans are eager to see the 6-4, 230-pounder do his thing. Add to the mix a more mature Ricky Price, the one-kidney wonder in Anthony Parks, and a potential big play freshman in Artrell Woods, who runs the 100 meters in a blink of the eye. For the offense to work these guys need to live up to their offseason billing.

The Missouri State secondary returns four starters with three of those being seniors, and a third corner in Broken Arrow, Okla., product Marcus Colbert that started most of last season. Mike Rabon is a very intelligent free safety and corner Greg Lovely is a big hitter that transfered from BYU. Lovely is 6-0 and the rest of the secondary is 5-11 or smaller. Can you say post up? Bowman posts up all night and Woods runs by the Bears with more contributions from the role players.

Edge to OSU wide receivers

3. OSU specialists vs. Missouri State specialists
It's very simple, this game should it come down to a kick, which it shouldn't, OSU is in better shape. The Cowboys return their kicker in Jason Ricks from the 2004 season, punter Matt Fodge, and deep snapper Zach Allen from last season. Missouri State has both a new kicker (Nathan Stokes) and a new punter (Tulsa Union grad Jake Spavital). Their deep snapper is a three-year vet in senior Adam Howey. Both teams feature new returners with the Cowboys freshman Perrish Cox having been a high school All-American. Rather than a late kick the more likely advantage here is field position and it should favor the Cowboys.

Big edge to OSU specialists

PREDICTION
The first quarter will be huge. Young teams are impressionable and can ride the roller coaster. The Cowboys need to climb high early. We believe they will and with that Gundy and Co. open season number two with a 41-6 win at the Boone.

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