OSU-Texas A&M: Key Matchups

Robert Allen's key matchups for the 21st-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys' Big 12 Conference opener against Texas A&M Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

OSU offensive tackles Russell Okung and Brady Bond
vs. Texas A&M defensive ends Cyril Obiozor and Michael Bennett
This is a huge matchup because inside the Aggies have a freshman and a sophomore starting at defensive tackle. If the front line is going to have a chance of standing up to the Oklahoma State offense it has to happen in this matchup.

This is strength on strength and while the Aggies likely win a few battles here they probably can't win enough to win the war. The tackles are likely to get some help if they need it or there will be some offensive line help getting to the second level in a hurry.

Advantage: OSU - Even if it is even the Cowboys win because they will win on the inside. If Okung, Bond, and Andrew Mitchell dominate like they could then it could get ugly.

OSU quarterback Zac Robinson vs.
A&M middle linebacker Matt Featherston and safety Jordan Peterson
A huge key in going against A&M'sprimarily three-man front and the ultra aggressive style of defensive coordinator Joe Kines is handling the video work and being good on picking up pre-snap looks on keying blitzes. New Mexico and Miami each did a great job in that area and as a result hit on some big plays in the game.

Featherston and Peterson are good players and they too will do their homework watching video for a read on the Cowboys. Call this a mental battle as these three guys could be playing ESPN College Football 2008. Keep your eye on the Cowboy sidelines and when the last signals come in.

Advantage: Even - Both sides are good in this area. If either side guesses right 60 percent of the time then there is your winning margin.

OSU nose tackle Tonga Tea
vs. A&M center Kevin Matthews
Matthews has good bloodlines being the son of NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews. Matthews walked on and earned his scholarship and starting position the hard way.

The hard way is the way Tonga Tea has approached his trek to college. His first season was a real learning experience and, remember, this is only his fifth season of playing football. The good news is Tonga lost about 25 to 30 pounds and is a much better player in the Cowboy defense this season.

Advantage: Tonga Tea - Tonga was at College Station last season and had a good game, meaning he wanted to chew through the Aggies after the gut wrenching loss on the road by a point.

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