OSU-Texas A&M: Key Matchups & Prediction

Robert Allen offers his key matchups and prediction for Saturday's nationally televised game (FSN) between the 13th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Texas A&M Aggies at Kyle Field in College Station, Texas. Kickoff is set for 11:40 a.m. (Central time).

Okay, the shock should be wearing off a little by now. All-American Dez Bryant won't be playing, and may not play for the Cowboys again.

The immediate emotional impact is that Oklahoma State needs to work past it and Texas A&M likely felt a surge in that it doesn't have to figure out how to defend Bryant on defense and in the special teams. Both teams need to be careful and not let the Dez news impact their day on Saturday.

Remember, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy knew where this was going and planned accordingly. Bryant has not been in the game plan for days for Gundy and the offensive staff. The offense is also fresh off playing a game without Bryant so that should nullify some of the shock.

1. OSU receivers vs. A&M secondary
The Arkansas wide receivers were seemingly running free last Saturday at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Realizing that Dez Bryant isn't there, I expect some pups, namely Isaiah Anderson, Justin Blackmon and Tracy Moore, to make major step ups.

Zac Robinson knows how to find them now and while I didn't mention them I also see good things for Dameron Fooks, Josh Cooper, and a healthy DeMarcus Conner. A&M's secondary would much rather come up and stop the run. I believe the Cowboys will keep it balanced meaning the A&M secondary could be caught off guard.

Edge: Slim to OSU receivers

2. OSU defensive line vs. A&M offensive line
Two true freshmen starting on the offensive line is all that you need to know. The Aggies really struggled protecting quarterback Jerrod Johnson last week against Arkansas, and the Razorbacks hardly came into that game as a stout defense. Oklahoma State has in its goals getting more sacks. Saturday could be a real good time to step it up.

Edge: Slim to OSU defensive line

3. OSU offensive tackle Russell Okung
vs. A&M jack defensive end Von Miller
Maybe, the premier individual matchup in the game. Okung is outstanding and Miller has nine sacks individually. I believe both players are looking forward to this game. A shutout of Miller could really give Okung some status and bucks in the NFL draft. The same for Miller, who if he keeps this season up, may want to go to the NFL early.

Edge: Too close to call

PREDICTIONS
This Week's Games
Thursday
@Missouri 23, Nebraska 20

Saturday
OKLAHOMA STATE 31, @TEXAS A&M 20
@Kansas 34, Iowa State 13
@Oklahoma 27, Baylor 20
@Texas Tech 41, Kansas State 21
@Texas 52, Colorado 14


Last Week's Predictions
Thursday
@West Virginia 31, Colorado 14

Saturday Iowa State 21, Kansas State 13 (at Kansas City)
@Baylor 38, Kent State 10
@Texas Tech 55, New Mexico 24
Texas A&M 34, Arkansas 31 (at Arlington)
@Miami 28, Oklahoma 26


Season Record
Straight: 39-10
ATS: 25-13
Note: Games involving FCS teams do not have lines

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