College Football Game of the Week: Oklahoma State vs. Texas
As the 2020 season progresses, one conference in particular is on the outside looking in when it comes to a potential playoff bid. That conference is the Big 12.
No. 6 Oklahoma State (4-0) is going to likely be the Big 12’s last chance to get a team into the playoff, and Cowboys will be put to the test on Oct. 31 at 4 p.m. against Texas (3-2).
The Cowboys have been winning games through the power of their defense. However, there are also two of the best offensive threats in the nation on this roster in running back Chuba Hubbard and wide receiver Tylan Wallace.
Hubbard has rushed for 478 yards on 94 carries with five touchdowns while also averaging just over 5 yards per carry. Aside from Hubbard, LD Brown also contributes to the ground game with 229 yards on 37 carries and one score.
Tylan Wallace is a serious candidate for the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s top wide receiver and has surely looked the part through four games. He is by far the best vertical threat on this Oklahoma State team, and the 401 yards receiving to complement 24 receptions tells the story as to how prolific he is.
Wallace also has two touchdowns to go alongside Braydon Johnson and tight end Jelani Woods, who each have one touchdown apiece.
The quarterback situation hasn’t been steady through four games, as Spencer Sanders missed time with an injury, and Shane Illingworth took a majority of the first-team snaps.
Sanders returned for last week’s game against Iowa State and was serviceable, producing a stat line of 20 completions on 29 attempts for 235 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.
OSU’s defense has bent on a number of occasions but has not broken, giving up point totals of 7, 13, 7 and 21 in its four games. They have been able to hold their own due to strong play from the linebackers.
Malcolm Rodriguez and Amen Ogobongbemiga lead the linebacking corps with 26 and 25 tackles respectively. Tre Sterling, a safety, plays like a linebacker and has racked up 28 tackles, which is the most on the team.
Kolby Harvell-Peel has two interceptions through four games, and linebacker Devin Harper has the team’s other pick.
As for the opposition, Texas had high hopes of returning back to its former glory, but it still could not turn the corner by Oklahoma or finding a way to avoid a loss to TCU.
Sam Ehlinger has been the do-it-all player for this Longhorns team for the past four years, and the hometown hero has put up some solid numbers through five games.
He has completed 114 passes on 185 attempts for 1,481 yards and thrown 17 touchdowns, but he’s also thrown five interceptions. Ehlinger also leads the Longhorns in rushing yards and touchdowns with 293 and seven, respectively.
Wide receivers Joshua Moore and Brennan Eagles have been the two steadiest downfield weapons for Ehlinger, as Moore has 388 yards receiving and six touchdowns, while Eagles adds 188 yards and three touchdowns to that duo. Eagles in particular is a big-bodied matchup disaster for defensive backs.
On defense, this Texas team isn’t anything particularly special, but there are a number of playmakers to look out for.
Joseph Ossai is the backbone of the defense. The hard-hitting linebacker has 33 tackles through five games along with two forced fumbles and a sack.
Defensive back B.J. Foster is the other player on this Texas team with 30-plus tackles.
Four defensive backs have recorded interceptions, and those players of Caden Sterns, Chris Brown, Chris Adimora and Josh Thompson will have to be stellar in order to defeat the Cowboys on the road.
The Cowboys have won four out of the last five against the Longhorns, and head coach Tom Herman’s seat in Austin seems to be getting warm given the expectations he has failed to meet.
Mike Gundy’s team has the second-best total defense in the Big 12 and the No. 1 scoring defense in the Big 12. Texas’s offense can score, but this is easily the best defensive unit that it will face up to this point.
Ehlinger will put up yards, but it won’t be enough. The Cowboys will do just enough to hold off a stingy Texas team at home and potentially climb in the rankings.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 27, Texas 24
Christopher Hess is a senior majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Contributors
Fifth Year / Broadcast Journalism
Hailing from Long Island, Christopher is a fifth-year with experience broadcasting football, volleyball, hockey, baseball, softball and public address announcing. Chris has been featured on State College Saturdays, CommRadio’s Saturday college football pregame show, Daylate Tailgate, CommRadio’s Sunday college football recap show, and on a number of podcasts. Chris also writes a number of articles during football and hockey season and is an insider for the men’s hockey team. Chris is also a co-host on Hockey Night in State College and 1st & 10. Chris is interested in either play-by-play or working in the sports media department for a college or professional sports team alongside being a sports radio personality. To contact Chris, email @email@example.com.