OSU-Texas: Key Matchups

Robert Allen's key matchups as the seventh-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-0) play one of the biggest games in the football program's history Saturday when they travel to Austin, Texas to face the No. 1-ranked Texas Longhorns (7-0). Kickoff for the nationally televised game (ABC-TV) is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (Central time).

Oklahoma State offensive tackle Russell Okung
vs. Texas defensive end Brian Orakpo
The videotape of this matchup will be worth lots of money as it will get worn out by the visiting pro scouts that will use it to evaluate the draft status of these two future NFL players.

Orakpo has the speed and strength to be a premier pass rusher and already has 27 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, eight sacks, 19 pressures, and three fumbles caused. He is a very productive player.

Okung is a stud for the Cowboys at left offensive tackle and has been able to control just about every opponent he has faced this season. He has grown up into a really strong anchor to the offensive line. Okung is athletic and moves so well to go along with his big frame. This one should feature highlights for both and the overall winner could go a long way to determining the winner.

Advantage: Even - I can't pick a winner. I think Orakpo is the best defensive end in the league, but I also think that Okung is the best left tackle on offense in the Big 12. This is the best of the best going head to head. Expect a few plays made by Orakpo, and expect Orakpo to be on his butt a few times.

OSU wide receivers Dez Bryant, Damian Davis and Company
vs. Texas cornerbacks Ryan Palmer, Deon Beasley and Chykie Brown
The matchup between Okung and Orakpo will have a say in how this one turns out. If Okung keeps Orakpo away from Robinson and gives him plenty of time to go do his thing, which is find Dez and company then that will help Bryant, Davis, and the rest of the Cowboy receiver to have a really good contest.

The Texas cornerbacks are not the same as previous years as those guys are playing on Sundays and this trio may not land in the same situation. Other teams have had some success throwing on the Longhorns, who are 11th in the league in pass defense.

Bryant can catch the ball on anybody, Davis is working his way to that level and don't dismiss the other Cowboy receivers as they can catch too.

Advantage: OSU - The Cowboys have more speed and are better athletes at the ball.

OSU star linebacker Andre Sexton
vs. Texas quarterback Colt McCoy
Sexton has come a long way and is proving to be one of the best thinking man defenders in the Big 12. This will be his biggest challenge as McCoy is flat-out crazy right now with his stats and his overall feel for the game on the field.

Can Sexton get a good read on on what McCoy is thinking and can he communicate it to his defensive teammates? Here is something to watch for, what does McCoy do in his first 10 plays and his first eight passes?

Texas needs to have punted once in the first 10 plays. McCoy needs to be either picking himself up off the ground, have three incompletions in his first eight throws, or, the best of all options, have turned the ball over in his first 10 plays or first eight passes.

Allow Texas and McCoy to front run at home and you are asking for major trouble, the kind neither the Cowboys defense or any defense can handle.

Advantage: Texas - You have to pick Colt McCoy until somebody proves they can out think him and cool him off.

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