Texas opens up Big 12 play with Oklahoma State, a team that has been a thorn in the Longhorns side for the past decade. Oklahoma State is 8-2 against Texas since 2010, including 5 straight wins in Austin. Mike Gundy will present many of the same challenges that have given the Longhorns trouble in the past. Let’s take a look at what to expect from the Cowboys:
Oklahoma State lost offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich in the offseason to Ohio State, but it would be hard to tell from afar. The Cowboys put up big yards and a lot of points through the first 3 weeks of the season. The offense is led by RB Chuba Hubbard, who already has over 500 rushing yards on the year, and WR Tylan Wallace, who torched Texas for 222 yards and 2 touchdowns in 2018. Oklahoma State is breaking in a new QB in redshirt freshman Spencer Sanders, but the Texas native has been solid in his first 3 career starts and could have as much upside as any quarterback to come through Oklahoma State in recent memory.
Despite a change at offensive coordinator, the style of play remains the same for the Cowboys. They will spread out the field to open up lanes for Hubbard inside, and if teams crowd the box they will gladly throw up balls to Wallace one-on-one. Gundy and the offensive staff won’t be asking Sanders to do anything fancy Saturday evening. Don’t expect any long developing plays where they risk a Texas blitz getting home. Saturday’s matchup will be a big test to see if the Texas secondary is able to learn from many of the issues that plagued the unit against LSU.
The Oklahoma State defense will likely finish the season in the bottom half of the Big 12 in most categories. The unit struggled in the first half this past Saturday against Tulsa and has shown a tendency to give up big chunks of yards in the running and passing game. The Cowboys do have experience at both corner positions, but the secondary as a whole may be in for a struggle going up against Sam Ehlinger and the Texas receivers.
Texas shouldn’t need to do anything special to move the ball against the Oklahoma State defense. Assuming the offensive line plays to the level they have through 3 games, the holes will be there in the running game and Ehlinger will be able to take shots over the top. During the 2018 matchup in Stillwater, Texas started slow offensively and found itself behind the chains too often, allowing Oklahoma State to bring pressure and leave their experienced corners on an island. This is likely the same recipe the Cowboys will try to repeat on Saturday night, so getting off to a quick start would go a long way in a game that will likely be a shootout.
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