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Preview: Oklahoma State Opens Home Slate Against Cowboys of McNeese State

The Cowboys of the Big 12 welcome the Cowboys of the FCS Southland Conference.

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A Oklahoma State Cowboys helmet is pictured during the AutoZone Liberty Bowl - Getty Images - Jonathan Bachman
Getty Images - Jonathan Bachman

After a spectacular offensive outing in Corvallis to open the season, the Oklahoma State Cowboys and quarterback Spencer Sanders will make their Boone Pickens Stadium debut for 2019 this weekend.

While Oregon State’s defense wasn’t much of a test, it was likely better than what Oklahoma State will see this Saturday when they face off against FCS McNeese State in a first-ever meeting.

While FCS upsets seem to happen each year, they’re still fairly rare. So while there doesn’t seem to be a lot of opportunity to learn more about this OSU team in Week 2, there will still be opportunities for fans to tune in.

Side Note: This game is on ESPN+. If you would like to sign up for ESPN+ to catch the game, go here to get a free trial. Full transparency, we’ve partnered with ESPN+. So, when you use our link, not only do you get the game, Big 12 Now content and more, but you also help support the LGG!

Game Details

  • When: SAT, SEP 7 at 6:00 PM CT
  • Where: Boone Pickens Stadium
  • Forecast: Sunny, High of 94 at kick-off
  • Stream: ESPN+
  • Betting Line: OSU -39.5, O/U 120

McNeese State Cowboys (1-0)

While these two teams may both be called the Cowboys, there are a LOT of differences. For one, McNeese uses the hashtag #GeauxPokes which is, in all honestly, pretty cool.

Seriously though, McNeese is in their first season under new head coach Sterlin Gilbert. Many of you might be aware of Gilbert from his time as the offensive coordinator at Tulsa (2015) and Texas (2016).

These Cowboys opened their season with a 34-28 win over fellow FCS team Southern. Don’t let the fact that McNeese led 34-14 in the fourth quarter fool you; Southern out-played them with more first downs, more total yards, and a better yards per play. Where McNeese was better was the turnover department; they forced six fumbles, recovered five, and committed zero. That’s the ballgame folks.

McNeese is led by quarterback Cody Orgeron. Yes, he is the son of the Bayou mumbler himself, LSU head coach Ed Orgeron. Against Southern, Orgeron completed 15 of his 22 passes for 147 yards and two touchdowns, and added 33 yards on the ground.

One note is that McNeese will be without their top cornerback, Cody Burton, who is out for the season. Probably not a good thing for a defense that has to face Tylan Wallace.

Oklahoma State Cowboys (1-0)

After a week-one performance that saw Oklahoma State put up 555 yards and 56 points on Oregon State, the question this week is, how much will they top that by?

Honestly, Spencer Sanders was fantastic in his debut going 19-24 for 203 yards and three touchdowns and adding another 109 yards on the ground. It should be fun for the home crowd to get to see him in person.

But this game should also present an opportunity for the OSU faithful to see the other quarterback who competed for the starting job; Dru Brown. The likelihood of Sanders playing the entire game is pretty slim. As close as the competition reportedly was leading into the season, it will be good to see just what Brown looks like on the field.

The other thing to keep an eye on is Oklahoma State’s defense. Oregon State’s not bad on “O” but giving up 448 yards and 36 points to the Beavers has to leave a bad taste in second year defensive coordinator Jim Knowles mouth. After week one, there are obviously some things to still figure out, like the defensive line and safeties. This will be a good opportunity to not only tinker with line-ups, but to work on building the depth on the D-Line with back-ups and young guys getting playing time.

3 Keys To The Game for Oklahoma State

Avoid Injuries – This goes without saying, but avoiding injuries is vital to a team who’s depth on the defensive line and at linebacker is precarious. But it’s especially important in games like this. While it’s important for Spencer Sanders to get as many reps as he can, it’s best to run with the twos and threes after you’re up five touchdowns.

Shut it down – No. Shutting out an FCS team isn’t going to suddenly make everyone think you’re a defensive juggernaut. But letting them score is only going to further sour fans feelings about the D’s direction. A score or two in the fourth against the back-up’s back-ups is fine. But a first-half shut out wouldn’t hurt.

Unleash Chuba – Wait. Were these things OSU was supposed to do to win the game. Ha. Sure.

But seriously, I get it. There’s no reason for him to play past the first half. Guys like LD Brown, Jahmyl Jeter, and Micah Cooper can handle McNeese. But, you have a unique opportunity for Chuba to set to some records. After running for 221 and three in the opener, let him see what he can do. If he’s close to 200 yards again, let him have the rock. Make McNeese stop him. No reason not to let him go out there and have some fun.

Game Prediction

Let’s be real. Oklahoma State put up 56 points on Oregon State and held them to 36. Oregon State might not be very good, but they’re better than McNeese. The Cowboys will win this one (see what I did there). They should do so handily. Really, just avoid injuries, keep it simple, and let Chuba pound the rock until you’re up five touchdowns, then coast the rest of the way.

Oklahoma State is a 40 point favorite? I’ll take that action.

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