First X’s and O’s since Texas, and one that should not disappoint. It’s Bedlam. A game that brings out all the wackiness and weirdness that can happen in a football game. In most years, Bedlam is more important for one team than the other, but this year, a Big 12 Title is on the line.
- How can I start talking about Oklahoma State without mentioning Mason Rudolph? A quarterback that is excellent in his system. The Cowboys predicate their offense on matchups, and Rudolph is on more times than not. One thing I did notice, is that he struggles finding options two, three, and four when he is under pressure. A lot like J.T. Barrett, Rudolph is excellent when he is in his zone. The moment he feels uncomfortable, is the moment he becomes more erratic with his decisions and throws. Oklahoma State does a good job of countering that uneasiness with quick throws to his talented receiving corp. Rudolph is not the player I would look for to have a bad game.
- It is crazy that Oklahoma missed out on the two best running back prospects from the 2016 class. Alabama running back, Joshua Jacobs, and Oklahoma State running back, Justice Hill, both saw late interest if any at all from the Sooners. Hill is having a breakout year behind a suspect offensive line. The freshman has incredible vision and is smooth in-and-out of his cuts.
- James Washington is not just Oklahoma State’s best receiver, but is one of the Top Five receivers in the entire country. Washington has the physicality to beat his man off the line-of-scrimmage, and also has the athleticism to gain separation on long routes. This is something that may cause Oklahoma some trouble as they do not have an incredibly physical corner. Oklahoma State does a good job mixing in inside release routes and outside release routes for Washington.
- In regards to their overall scheme, Oklahoma State is very diverse. They will run all sorts of different personnel onto the field that are only used to get a personnel change from their opponent. When they do this, the Pokes will just run their basic offense. It truly becomes a chess match between the two coaching staffs, and one that Oklahoma State has recently won against Oklahoma.
- Just like most Big 12 teams, Oklahoma State likes to use their version of Run-Pass options. A concern for any defense due to the one-on-one matchups it puts on members in the secondary.
- For Oklahoma State, they must establish a running game. This will be the best defensive front the Pokes have faced all year. Can they establish dominance in the trenches?
Personnel You Need To Know
QB: Mason Rudolph
RB: Justice Hill
WR: Jalen McCleskey and James Washington
OL: An experienced group that has not been as improved as expected
- An experienced Oklahoma State defense that has seen its fair share of ebbs and flows. The Cowboys run an even front that begins with defensive tackle, Vincent Taylor. Glenn Spencer mixes in quite a bit of twists, slants, and stunts that allow their linebackers to not get washed up in the play. Add that to his ability of utilizing timely blitzes, and the Poke defense becomes “chaotic” so to say.
- The glaring issue to Oklahoma State’s defense is their inability to stop the run. Spencer uses a lot of nickel packages, and suffer when they only keep six in the box. Even with Oklahoma State’s strength being in the front six or seven, they continue to struggle. Vincent Taylor is a potential NFL player, but can the rest of the big uglies in the trenches help?
- When you talk about Oklahoma State’s secondary, you can not go without mentioning hard hitting safety, Jordan Sterns. Sterns leads their defense in tackles and is tied for interception. A safety that is not afraid to come be a factor in the run game, but shows the ability to be a sideline-to-sideline kind of player.
- The rest of the Cowboys’ secondary has tons of experience, but do not just blow me away. An above average zone coverage group that struggles whenever teams run underneath routes. Something to watch on Saturday.
Personnel You Need To Know
DL: Vincent Taylor and Cole Walterscheid
LB: Jordan Burton and Chad Whitener
DB: Ashton Lampkin, Tre Flowers, and Jordan Sterns
Zach Sinor: A punter, yes, a punter who can make a major impact on this game. Sinor has arguably been the Cowboys’ best player this year. With the potential inclement weather, Sinor will be a huge factor for Oklahoma State.