1. The Longhorns are downplaying the importance of this game to Joe Wickline. But how important is it to OSU to get this one not just for its bowl hopes but to get the upper hand on Wickline on the football field before they take their battle to court?Tush: “The Cowboys are also downplaying the importance of defeating Joe Wickline's new team. Mike Gundy says he hasn’t talked to his players about getting the team’s sixth win of the season, which would make the Cowboys bowl-eligible for the ninth straight season, a school record. But the OSU head coach admits that his players know what’s at stake Saturday night as the Cowboys two final games are on the road against Baylor and Oklahoma (both in which they will be underdogs). As far as Wickline, a victory over the Longhorns would please Gundy and some of the offensive linemen who he coached the last few years but it would probably mean more to OSU athletic director Mike Holder, who filed the recent lawsuit against the former Cowboys offensive line coach.”
2. The weather looks like it will be a bit nasty on Saturday. How will this impact a Cowboys team that hasn't been able to rush the ball as well as they would probably have liked to this season?Tush: “That's exactly right, the Cowboys haven’t rushed the ball to Gundy’s satisfaction this season. They are averaging only 151.3 rushing yards per game, which ranks 81st nationally and No. 8 in the Big 12. Tyreek Hill became the first Cowboy to crack the 100-yard mark this season with his 102-yard rushing performance against Kansas State two weeks ago. The offensive line has not pushed anyone around this season, including non-conference opponents Missouri State and Texas-San Antonio, so what leads anyone to believe they’ll suddenly be able to do so against Malcolm Brown or Hassan Ridgeway? The good news is leading rusher Desmond Roland (512 rushing yards, 7 TDs) returns after missing the Kansas State game following the death of his mother. He needs to have a big game for the Cowboys to have a chance against the Longhorns.”
3. Texas will likely bring the house in trying to get to OSU QB Daxx Garman. How has he handled being under pressure this season and how has he developed as the season's progressed?Tush: “Garman was pressed into action earlier this season when starting quarterback J.W. Walsh went down with a foot injury. The fourth-year junior saw game action for the first time since his junior year of high school in 2009 when he took over for Walsh against Missouri State in September. Garman has played at times like a quarterback who is seeing his first game action in five years, especially in Big 12 play where he is 103-of192 passing (53.6 percent) for 1,324 yards with seven touchdowns and 11 interceptions. He has struggled when teams are able to get pressure, often making bad decisions by either throwing into coverage or taking a sack instead of throwing the ball away.”
4. Who are two players on OSU's defense that Texas fans must know prior to kickoff?Tush: “Defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah and cornerback Kevin Peterson are the Cowboys top defensive players. Ogbah, a 6-4, 270-pound sophomore from Houston, has been wreaking havoc from his defensive end position this season. His nine sacks leads the Big 12 and ranks fifth nationally among defensive linemen, and his 14.5 tackles for loss is tops in the conference and is No. 4 nationally for defensive linemen. In the Cowboys last four games (against Big 12 teams Kansas State, West Virginia, TCU and Kansas), Ogbah has six sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss. Peterson, a junior cornerback, has done everything the defensive coaching staff has asked and more this season. He may be the best shutdown corner in the Big 12, holding Kevin White to three catches for 27 yards when the West Virginia wide receiver entered the game averaging 9.9 catches for 145.7 yards per game. Ogbah and Peterson must have outstanding games for the Cowboys to win Saturday night.”
5. What kind of impact has speedster Tyreek Hill had on this offense and what kind of impact can he have on the outcome of Saturday's game?Tush: “Tyreek Hill has had a major impact for the Cowboys this season after signing a year ago out of Garden City (Kans.) Community College, choosing OSU over programs like Florida State. The coaching staff has used a variety of methods to get the ball into the hands of college football’s fastest player (he has run a 10.19 time in the 100 meters). He is averaging 154.6 all-purpose yards per game, which leads the Big 12 and ranks 10th nationally. Hill has 81 rushes, 23 receptions, 22 punt returns and 22 kickoff returns (including two for touchdowns). He averages 9.4 yards per touch, and has 22 gains of 20 or more yards. The more times the Cowboys can get the ball into Hill’s hands on Saturday night, the better chance they have of winning.”
*****Longhorns 2015 QB commitment Zach Gentry's junior highlights
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