OSU-Iowa State: Key Matchups

Robert Allen's key matchups as the ninth-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys (7-1) take on the Iowa State Cyclones (2-6) Saturday afternoon at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m.

Oklahoma State middle linebacker Orie Lemon
vs. Iowa State running back Alexander Robinson
Robinson has been stout as of late with 402 yards rushing on the season and he had 85 yards on 19 carries last week in the 49-35 shootout loss to Texas A&M.

The Cyclones really need for Robinson to have a good game to be competitive and take some of the pressure off of new quarterback Austen Arnaud. Robinson will have to operate without two starters on the offensive line, center Mike Knapp and tackle Ben Lamaak, who were injured. Knapp is out for the season.

Lemon has been playing well and getting better, and more physical every week. He will take stopping the run personally especially at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Advantage: OSU and Lemon. Lemon is now averaging 6.6 tackles per game and he has become a load for opposing offensive linemen to deal with. The defensive front seven is working well as a unit and the losses to injury to the Cyclones offensive line will not help at all.

OSU wide receivers Dez Bryant, Damian Davis, and company
vs. Iowa State cornerbacks Leonard Johnson and Ter'ran Benton
This is really not good as Iowa State has gone to two true freshmen at the corner positions. While Benton has size at 6-1, 185 pounds, Johnson is 5-10 and that makes covering the Cowboys' twin tower receivers in Bryant and Davis a real difficult situation.

The Cyclones have returning starters in Chris Singleton, a senior, and Allen Bell, a junior. Tight end Brandon Pettigrew became the focal point of the passing game at Texas. Bryant had six receptions but he will be hungry for plenty of action against Iowa State.

Advantage: OSU - The Cowboys wide receivers should have a landslide advantage against the Cyclones young corners. The safeties in junior James Smith and senior Brandon Hunley will need to help , but if they are overconscious in helping with pass then congratulations to Kendall Hunter and Keith Toston as it will be a big afternoon for that duo.

OSU nose tackle Tonga Tea Jr.
vs. Iowa State center Alex Alvarez
Alvarez steps in for injured center Mike Knapp. Alvarez is a sophomore and a transfer from Kilgore Junior College in Texas. He got his first start earlier this season at UNLV when Knapp was hurt. Tea is also a junior college product but one with more experience and an All-American pedigree.

Advantage: Oklahoma State and Tea. Just on experience Tea gets this one. He also should have a strength advantage. Check out strength and conditioning coordinator Rob Glass on the sidelines as he might spend a lot of time on Saturday afternoon eyeballing this matchup.

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