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2020 Season

Preview: The Pokes Try To Keep Rolling Against The ‘Horns In Stillwater

The Longhorns and Cowboys face off in a Halloween showdown with title race implications.

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Getty Images - Tim Warner

Games between Oklahoma State and Texas always have their fair share of excitement and drama, and this 35th meeting of the two promises to deliver nothing less.

The Texas Longhorns come into this game eyeing the possibility of being eliminated from the Big 12 title game. Texas sits at 2-2 in conference play, and a loss here would likely put them on the outside light looking in regarding the Big 12 championship game. That wouldn’t sound like a terrible position for most head coaches to be in, but Tom Herman’s fourth year at Texas has been subpart thus far, and rumors are circulating that this could be his last season in Austin. A win over the sixth-ranked Pokes would shift that narrative significantly.

Meanwhile, the other guy on the headset has to head into this one with a lot of confidence. Mike Gundy’s team is the lead horse in the Big 12 race right now, and this squad looks like it has both the talent and the leadership to claim a trophy. There are plenty of games left for the Pokes, however, and they’ve got some tough competition ahead in the coming weeks. Beating Texas gets Oklahoma State one step closer to Arlington.

Game Details

  • When: Sat, Oct 31, 3:00 PM CT
  • Where: Boone Pickens Stadium Stillwater, OK
  • Forecast: High 60s, Sunny
  • TV:  FOX
  • Betting Line: OSU -3.5 O/U 58.5

Texas Longhorns (3-2)

Statistically, the Texas offense has been the best scoring unit in the league, averaging 45 points per game. That number might be slightly misleading. The Longhorns have athleticism in their skill positions, but absent a bell cow running back or a headline wide receiver, however, they’ve struggled to move the ball consistently. Senior quarterback Sam Ehlinger, a true dual threat, has been the key factor to the success Texas has had and he leads the Big 12 in total offense, averaging 354.8 yards per game rushing and passing. Ehlinger’s been at his best whenever Texas has been able to move the chains and stay balanced.

Halfway through the 2020 season, the Texas defense has put on a subpar defensive performance. The four-man defensive line has been the strength for the Longhorns, who’ve held opposing rushing attacks to 152.2 yards per game. Despite bringing back significant experience, the back seven has been much more suspect in defensive coordinator Chris Ash’s first season, especially in giving up passes on intermediate routes.

Texas Keys To The Game

Move The Chains  – The Longhorns will really need to avoid unfavorable third down situations if they want to have offensive success on third down. To do that, they need to be able to get yards consistently.

Limit Big Plays – Texas is likely going to give up yards to this offense full of firepower, but if they can keep the Pokes from breaking big runs or big pass plays, they can make Oklahoma State really earn their points.


No. 6 Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-0)

Offensively, Oklahoma State has been powered this year by running back Chuba Hubbard, who could be the best ball carrier in the country. The Pokes have the best rushing offense in the Big 12, averaging 241.3 yards per game on the ground in league play. Partly because of injuries, their passing attack has yet to really ramp up, but with quarterback Spencer Sanders healthy, that could certainly change. Sanders is dual threat signal caller who’s struggled with turnovers, but is nonetheless one of the more dangerous quarterbacks in the nation. Add in All-Big 12 wide receiver Tylan Wallace, and the Cowboys present a truly potent offense.

In an atypical year for Oklahoma State, the defense has really carried this team in 2020. The Cowboys are holding teams to a mere 13.7 points in Big 12 play, which leads the conference, and they might have the best defense in the conference. They have playmakers like defensive end Trace Ford, and linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez, but they are overall a very sound, polished defense.

Oklahoma State Keys To The Game

Take Some Shots– Oklahoma State has been relatively risk averse through their first several games, but with Texas likely to focus on stopping the run game, their could some opportunities through the air downfield.

Stop The Run – If the Pokes can keep Texas from getting yards on the ground, that will make this Longhorns offense one dimensional, and make the job of the Oklahoma State pass rush all the easier.

Prediction

The eye test – and the records – really seem to say that Oklahoma State is the better team here. Texas has played well as an underdog with Tom Herman at the helm, but they’re probably going to need Ehlinger to have one of the best games of his career to win this game. The Oklahoma State defense, which has been solid all season, is going to make that a tough proposition. These two squads are both fairly experienced, but only the team from Stillwater has played like it in 2020. Pokes by a field goal.

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