OSU-Grambling: Key Matchups & Prediction

Robert Allen offers his key matchups and prediction for Saturday's game between the 16th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Grambling State Tigers at Boone Pickens Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. (Central time).

Okay, I know you and every other Oklahoma State Cowboy fan are not going to be pleased unless Grambling goes home with the butts thoroughly kicked. You might want to hold off on that train of thought because I would hate for so many of you to be disappointed unless, of course, a roughly four touchdown margin is enough of a butt kicking.

I do believe the Cowboys can control the contest but when you head into Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday you need to keep two things in mind. The Tigers, along with that great band, have won 14 Black College National Football Championships and they have some players, and I'm not talking trombone players.

The second thing to keep in mind is that the Cowboys are beat up. You may not see wide receiver Dez Bryant and cornerback Perrish Cox. I know you won't see running back Kendall Hunter on the field and it may be another game before defensive end Jeremiah Price is back. There are still other Cowboys that will play and fight through injuries. The open week is a great entry to come up next on the schedule.

The key matchups are pretty simple and primarily individual. Even with a depleted lineup, if the Cowboys follow those matchups and win them they will control the game and everybody can enjoy the greatest show on turf at halftime, that would be the Grambling State Marching Band.

1. OSU offensive tackle Russell Okung
vs. Grambling defensive end Christian Anthony
Russell Okung is a standup guy and that is one of the reasons that he is as good as he is. Okung makes no excuses and he has been preaching hard work and improvement even after the Georgia win.

Okung had one of his worst games in recent memory against Houston, giving up a sack and struggling some with Arkansas transfer Tyrell Graham. Against Grambling Okung gets a future NFL defensive end in Christian Anthony.

The 6-4, 275-pound Anthony is very athletic and this season has returned two interceptions for touchdowns and stole the football from South Carolina State running back Will Ford. Ford had the ball wrapped up and Anthony just took it out of his hands and returned it to the 4-yard line. More concerning was a WWE-type of tackle in the Northwestern State game as Anthony flipped the back over his head.

Okung needs to make sure this guy does not even get close enough to breath on Zac Robinson. Seriously, Anthony is a wrecking machine and Okung's job is to keep him away from Robinson and any other back in orange.

Advantage: It should be to Okung, but Anthony is the real deal.

2. OSU star linebacker Andre Sexton
vs. Grambling quarterback Greg Dillon
Dillon led Grambling to the Black College National Championship last season. This year he has completed 58.4 percent of his throws for 472 yards. His touchdown to interception ratio is four picks to two touchdowns. He has rushed for a net of 28 yards, but he had 132 yards before sacks are figured in.

Andre Sexton does so much in his role at the star such as taking up calls and being ready for a clean up anywhere. Sexton is comfortable in his position and knows his primary key is the quarterback. Now he needs to stop him. Don't let Dillon get comfortable.

Edge: Sexton has the edge here.

3. OSU defensive end Richetti Jones
vs. Grambling offensive tackle Victor Phillips
This actually could be any OSU defensive lineman but we will keep it Jones, who had a potential breakthrough last Saturday. Jones had a sack, forced a four-yard loss, and deflected a pass, even though he didn't get credit for that one. Jones is sitting on ready but so is most of the rest of the defensive line including fellow defensive end Jamie Blatnick.

We could have picked any of Grambling's offensive line starters as head coach Rod Broadway has said for a few days that his offensive line was whupped in the 27-17 win at Jackson State. That may have been true but they have a running back, Frank Warren, averaging more than 100 yards a game. That line is no slouch and they have size. The Cowboys need to blow through it.

Advantage: OSU defensive line and Richetti Jones

OSU-Grambling State Prediction
For those that don't think a 31-point win is enough, too bad. If the Cowboys get that kind of result, don't get anybody else injured, and get to the open week at 3-1 then it is a good night. The Cowboys are depleted enough, especially with some of the more explosive players, and Grambling is just talented enough to keep it from becoming a real blow out.

OSU 38, Grambling 7

This Week's Predictions
Big 12 Games

Missouri 31, @Nevada 20

@OSU 38, Grambling 7
Southern Miss 33, @Kansas 31
@Kansas State 28, Tennessee Tech 17
@Texas 52, UTEP 6
@Baylor 49, Northwestern (La.) State 14
@Texas A&M 27, UAB 13
@Iowa State 24, Army 20
@Nebraska 52, ULL 20
@Houston 42, Texas Tech 35

Last Week's Predictions
@OSU 45, Rice 17

Other Big 12 Games
@Kansas 56, Duke 6
@Missouri 47, Furman 9
@Oklahoma 31, Tulsa 24
@Virginia Tech 34, Nebraska 20
@Colorado 21, Wyoming 20
@Baylor 28, UConn 24
Iowa State 35, Kent State 10
@Texas A&M 49, Utah State 7
@Texas 38, Texas Tech 20
@UCLA 41, Kansas State 15

Season Record
Straight: 26-7
ATS: 15-10
Note: Games involving FCS teams do not have lines

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