OSU-OU Matchups & Prediction

The best news is that Oklahoma State's home-field advantage, which is always strong, should be greater than ever for Saturday's Bedlam showdown with Oklahoma. It would appear that there will be fewer OU fans in Boone Pickens Stadium than in many years. The home field advantage will be a major factor in the game as the Cowboys have been much better in home games, and really respond to the fans.

Home field can't do it alone especially against the challenge of a formidable opponent like Oklahoma. Overall, the matchup of the Oklahoma State offense versus the Oklahoma defense will be quite possibly a battle between the best offense in the Big 12 and the best defense in the conference. Going in you would expect both to have their share of success.

On the other side of the ball for each team you would have to give an advantage to the Oklahoma offense over the Cowboy defenders. However, there are few offenses in the Big 12 like Oklahoma. The Sooners are a balanced group that looks to run on early downs and set up positive situations on second and third down. In that regard they are similar -- but arguably more talented -- than the approach of the Nebraska offense. Do a good job defending the run and you have a chance. Texas Tech, Baylor and Missouri are recent OU opponents that rarely run, and, as a result, have defenses that can struggle with the running game. The Cowboy defenders need to do a similar job in stoppping Nebraska's run game in the second half of that contest.

Special teams will be huge. You really don't have to do anything special, just perform up to standard and don't create bad situations for your offense or defense to have to deal with. I would expect that to be the goal of both coaching staffs when it comes to the kicking and return game on Saturday.

Here are the matchups:
OSU Offensive Line vs. Oklahoma Defensive Front
This is another crucial matchup in the game, The Cowboys lead the Big 12 in rushing offense and the combination of Dantrell Savage, Keith Toston, Mike Hamilton, and running quarterbacks that now can appear in the game simultaneously will have the Sooners attention. Oklahoma leads the Big 12 in rushing defense. The first key is blocking the front line. The OSU offensive line has become better with every game, and now must face its greatest challenge. I believe they are up to it. Two key players that must be kept busy are linebackers Rufus Alexander and Zach Latimer. They not only lead Oklahoma in tackles but also tackles for losses. Savage will be an interesting back for Oklahoma to deal with in that they haven't seen anybody quite like him. The quarterbacks must also be unafraid to tuck and go.
Edge: Slight to Oklahoma

OSU QB Bobby Reid vs. Oklahoma Back Seven
We kid around about the Cowboy new two quarterback offense where both Reid and Zac Robinson are in the formation but it will be Reid that will be the mainstay on Saturday at the position. Oklahoma has an aggressive, gambling-style on defense that includes a myriad of blitzes including combo blitzes and zone blitzes. They have even fired both corners in situations. Reid must be excellent on his reads. Let's hope his video study habits are at a season best. Detecting something early could lead to those chunk plays that the Cowboy offense craves and thrives on.
Edge: Even

OSU Defensive Front vs. Oklahoma Running Game
Stopping the run is the most vital ingredient to an Oklahoma State win. Oklahoma doesn't do much cute. They will "G" a lot and load up blockers at the point of attack. All that means is defensive linemen have to hold tough and do a good job of fighting off blockers and holding their ground. Linebackers must do a good job on reads and be quick and aggressive to the football. Tackling must be secure. Turnovers are a possibility, but tackles must be made first. Allen Patrick (if healthy) and Chris Brown are good runners and Brody Eldridge is a solid lead blocker and OU runs lots of leads. This is just a who-wants-to-outfight-who scenario.
Edge: Even

OSU Secondary vs. Oklahoma Wide Receivers
When in trouble the wide receivers have done a good job of bailing Oklahoma out. Malcolm Kelly and Juaquin Iglesias are big play receivers. Paul Thompson is an adequate passer and has learned he just needs to throw it up and those two, along with tight end Joe Jon Finley, will go get it. Again, this becomes a battle of a physical nature. Kelly and Iglesias have speed, but they often physically beat the competition for the ball at the point of the play.
Edge: Even

If the Cowboys are successful and win this game a great assist must be given to strength and conditioning coach Rob Glass and his staff. OSU is bigger, stronger, faster and better conditioned than they have ever been. That is a must in order to have the chance to win in a late season game against a very good foe. Back to the home crowd, they will get an assist as well. Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium must be a team effort.
Oklahoma State 34, Oklahoma 28

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