Robert Allen's key matchups as the 11th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-2) take on the Colorado Buffloes (5-5) Saturday night in Boulder, Colo. Kickoff for the nationally televised game (ABC-TV) is scheduled for 7 p.m. (Central time).
OSU wide receiver Dez Bryant
vs. Colorado cornerback Cha'pelle Brown
and free safety Ryan Walters
Expect Colorado to follow Texas Tech from last week and run man-zone coverage at the Cowboys with free safety Ryan Walters playing over the top of one of the corners in covering Bryant. The Cowboys need to work Bryant on the side of the left corner Brown, who has had a strong season but is physically mismatched with Bryant at 5-7, 180 pounds.
Walters will make up for that as he is reports at 6-0, 205, but doesn't have the speed to match Bryant. Bryant is catching flack from the media about not having as strong of games on the road. But the road games have been Missouri, Texas and Texas Tech. Stupid media! This time the Cowboys are on the road at Colorado.
Advantage: OSU - Bryant should win that type of matchup, but Colorado has a lot of pride on defense. Walters is a senior that will fight to go out of Folsom Field on a high note.
OSU special teams vs. Colorado special teams
Name an aspect of special teams - kickoff returns, punt returns, field goals, punting - and the Cowboys come in with an advantage on paper across the board. Paper is paper and the Cowboys need to make it happen. A complete domination on special teams, especially in the return game, can go a long way toward the ninth win of the season.
Also, last week's effort against Texas Tech was less than stellar on special teams, except for Matt Fodge's punting. This is a good situation to turn it back around.
Advantage: OSU because of consistency. It is an across the board advantage on paper and the Cowboys' kickoff return unit it really ticked they couldn't break anything in Lubbock last week. The altitude should only help Fodge and Dan Bailey with their kicks.
OSU quarterback Zac Robinson vs. Colorado Defense
We list this matchup only because it is homecoming for Robinson and he is charged up to play in front of friends and family in Colorado. Now, OSU fans could be nervous remembering Bobby Reid's excitement about playing at Texas in 2006 and how poorly that worked out. Reid washed out. Robinson, as has been proven many times over, is not Reid. He won't wash out and in fact, is likely to give his best performance of the season.
Advantage: OSU and Robinson, because with his speed and ability to run the ball, will really put stress on the CU defense. It becomes a pick your poison proposition for the Buffs and to top it off you can expect Robinson to have a big enough cheering section that it will be noticeable.