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Preview: Oklahoma State Travels To Oregon State With “OSU” Bragging Rights On The Line

Two OSUs, both orange and black, things could get weird in this late night Big 12-Pac-12 matchup.

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Head coach Mike Gundy of the Oklahoma State Cowboys reacts during the second half of the AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Getty Images - Jonathan Bachman
Getty Images - Jonathan Bachman

Oklahoma State’s 2019 football season kicks off this Friday night in Corvallis, OR. They face an Oregon State Beavers team that has gone an abysmal 14-46 the previous five seasons. This Oregon State team though, will not let their past record be an indication for how they expect to compete this Friday night. 

Oregon State’s offense saw a boost last season, and that should continue into 2019. They boast the return of last season’s Pac-12 Freshman of the Year in running back Jermar Jefferson. They also return 6th-year quarterback Jake Luton. The battle between an experienced and improving Beaver offense against the Oklahoma State defense in Jim Knowles second year will be something to watch during the course of the game.

Oregon State is also looking for an impressive start for second-year head coach Jonathan Smith who. like Mike Gundy. is coaching at the university he also once quarterbacked.  

Despite having a lot in common, this will be the first ever meeting between the two OSUs. Hopefully things don’t get too weird in Pac-12 after dark.

Game Details

  • When: Fri, Aug 30, 9:30 PM CT
  • Where: Reser Stadium, Corvallis, OR
  • Forecast: Partly cloudy, High of 81
  • TV: FS1
  • STREAM: Fox Sports Go
  • Betting Line: OKST -14.5

Oregon State Beavers

Coming off of a disappointing 2-10 record last season, the Oregon State faithful are not expecting a significant improvement in this season. The offense is improving, but the 2018 Beaver defense was the absolute worst defense in college football history according to S&P+. That’s more than just a concern when you have a Mike Gundy-led team coming to town.

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The offense is clearly where Beaver fans are the most excited. Leading the attack is sophomore running back Jermar Jefferson who rushed for over 1,300 yards last season. Quarterback Jake Luton also returns and has succsuffly defended his starting role against Nebraska transfer Tristan Gabbia. Luton will be passing to a receiving core that is returning everyone except one player. This is a unit that should provide a decent opening test of the Cowboy’s defense.

Some players from this receiving corp to look out for Friday night is Nebraska transfer Tyjon Lindsey and junior Isaiah Hodgins who caught 47 passes for 690 yards and five touchdowns last season. One player Oklahoma State will not have to worry about though is senior receiver Trevon Bradford who is still recovering from foot surgery in April. 

Oklahoma State Cowboys

For the second consecutive season, Oklahoma State will be starting the season with a new quarterback leading the offense. We just aren’t sure who that’s going to be just yet. Gundy has said that the Dru Brown and Spencer Sanders quarterback battle will continue into the season.

The Cowboys won’t just have a new face under center, either. This will be new offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson first game. Coach Gleeson previously led the Princeton offense where they averaged 47 points and 536.8 yards per game. This means that Cowboy fans can expect the same high-octane offense that they have become accustomed to. 

The expectations for the Pokes are slightly tempered after finishing last season 9th in the conference. However, most expect a bounce back of sorts. Oklahoma State was picked to finish in 5th place in the conference’s preseason media poll.

It may be hard to judge the Cowboy offense given that Oregon State isn’t expected to give much resistance. However, we should be able to learn some things about the defense. In Knowles first term, Oklahoma State ranked 112th in total defense and 97th in scoring defense. This Friday night will be an litmus test to see just where the defense is standing coming into this season. 

3 Keys To The Game For The Cowboys

Pressure the QB – The new defensive line needs put pressure on Jake Luton. Oregon State has a few options on offense, so if they can attack the Beaver’s point of attack and keep Luton on his heels, it will go along way to disrupting their offense.

Solid QB Play – This is where we find out if Oklahoma State has two quarterbacks or if they have none. Ideally, one of them would separate themselves, but what they can’t have is silly mistakes. The Pokes don’t want to be in a situation where they keep subbing their QB in and out which keeps them from gaining any rhythm.

Solid O-Line Play – The offensive line under new coach Charlie Dickey needs to control the line of scrimmage. With question marks in the passing game, and this being the first game out, Gundy will likely want to rely on running back Chuba Hubbard. They won’t be able to do that though, if they cannot control the line of scrimmage.

Game Prediction

A Friday night opening night game on the west coast does not bode well for most teams. However, Oklahoma State takes care of business on the road.

Expect the Cowboy offense to start the game on the conservative side with most their yards coming from Chuba Hubbard. Oregon State’s offense will try and keep the Beavers in the game for a while, but the Cowboys are just two much and pull away late.

Mentioned above, both Cowboy quarterbacks will play with Dru Brown being the one who takes the very first snaps on the opening drive, which then leads to an interchanging between drives. Nonetheless, this game may determine who goes into the rest of the season as the starting quarterback with my bet being Dru Brown. 

The Oregon State defense will not be the same unit as last season. However, they will still not be very good, which will be a benefit for Oklahoma State and Sean Gleeson. This game will be a fresh start for Oklahoma State football after last season as they head back to Stillwater with “OSU” bragging rights.

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