OSU-Iowa State: Key Matchups & Prediction

Robert Allen offers his key matchups and prediction for Saturday's game between the 18th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Iowa State Cyclones in Ames, Iowa.

1. OSU front seven vs. Iowa State rushing offense
Iowa State running back Alexander Robinson should be more at full speed than he was last week when he carried 20 times for 76 yards and no touchdowns. On the season, Robinson, who has been battling a groin injury, is averaging 16 carries for 90.1 yards a game.

The Cyclones have run up some big rushing numbers against some average or below non-conference opponents and with the exception of Nebraska have faced some lenient against the run defenses in the Big 12 including Kansas. Another hit for the Cyclones could be starting center Reggie Stephens, who claims he will play, but missed last week with an appendectomy. Playing less than two weeks after an appendectomy, even one that was arthroscopic is pretty incredible.

The Cowboys are now sitting at 13th in the country in run defense and are gobbling up even good running games. The linebackers of Andre Sexton, Patrick Lavine and Donald Booker are really playing at a high level and the defensive line is tight and as healthy as they have been in a long time.

Edge: OSU

2. OSU wide receivers vs. Iowa State secondary
Iowa State will look at the video and think, hey these guys are easy marks. The problem is Iowa State doesn't have any defensive backs good enough to play for Texas. The Cyclones defensive backs are solid, but not Texas good. They really capitalized on Nebraska earlier this season with turnovers, but the Cowboys wide receivers should be a dangerous group this week.

The Cowboy receivers have a lot of pride and the week after being pushed around and stolen from, then a group like this ought to come out on fire and run up big numbers. They will still be missing Josh Cooper but Justin Blackmon is 100 percent again, and he came on strong late against Texas. Look for him to get passes thrown his way early and often.

Edge: OSU

3. OSU's attitude vs. Iowa State's determination
You see below that I ranked this as even, but that is all it has to be. Iowa State reminds me of Oklahoma State in 2006 and 2007. Two teams that came down the stretch improved and hoping to get bowl eligible.

The Cowboys have to know that they are looking at themselves from two years ago when they play against Iowa State. I believe that message got across this week. OSU needs to realize it has a lot to play for, and so does Iowa State.

If you match their intensity and desire, bring your "A" attitude then the advantage in athletic ability and skill will do the rest. Come in and play with a let down and get ready to battle to the wire and even be upset by Iowa State.

Edge: Even

OK, I stunk it up last week, but the prediction came with a warning. I was going to pick Oklahoma State in any game where they had a chance. They did. The stats (stats are for losers) were close. Texas owned one area, the matchup between the receivers and the Texas DBs. That matchup was enough.

As far as facing Iowa State, go back to last season and the 59-17 Oklahoma State win. The Cowboys have more speed and explosive playmakers. That said, Iowa State comes in to Saturday's game playing with more confidence and playing with a cause, to get bowl eligible, which they should do next week against Colorado.

Oklahoma State needs to do the little things you need to as a favorite on the road. They need to strike early, often, and keep the foot on the gas. I like a rebound on my OSU selection this week with the Cowboys winning.


Big 12 Predictions
This Week's Games
@Texas 48, Central Florida 6
@Kansas State 23, Kansas 20
Texas A&M 28, @Colorado 10
@Missouri 31, Baylor 20
Oklahoma 27, @Nebraska 9

Last Week's Games
Nebraska 20, @Baylor 14
Missouri 28, @Colorado 17
@Texas A&M 31, Iowa State 24
@Texas Tech 42, Kansas 36
@Oklahoma 35, Kansas State 14
@Oklahoma State 27, Texas 24

Season Record
Straight: 56-17
ATS: 37-24-1
Note: Games involving FCS teams do not have lines

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