STILLWATER — Oklahoma State could name its score against Savannah State.
That's not hyperbole. That's not exaggeration.
Savannah State won only one game a year ago. Opponents outscored the Tigers 442-138. That means these guys lost by wide margins. And remember, there wasn't one major-college opponent on their schedule.
So, can OSU gain anything from this opener?
The Cowboys can gauge how mature they are.
“I don't want to sound corny, but you would hope they would go out and play the same way we play against OU,” Cowboy co-defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said.
“Find that edge.”
That won't be an easy thing to do, and the Cowboys know it. They've watched the tape. They've scouted the Tigers. They know the team that they'll be facing Saturday night would struggle against Central Oklahoma, much less Oklahoma.
But here's a sign of a mature team — find a way to focus on yourself when the opponent is weak. You play up to your level, not down to their level. You find that edge.
How will we know if the Cowboys did that?
It comes down to how clean a game they play. Did they commit penalties? Did they miss tackles? Did they turn the ball over?
I'm not crazy enough to think a team could have a game where it didn't do any of those things. Then again, this is Savannah State. Why couldn't OSU have a game without a penalty, a missed tackle or a turnover?
Considering how out of hand this game has a chance to become, the Cowboys are bound to have some lapses and likely to play lots of backups.
So, what's would be some fair numbers to gauge this game?
Look at last season and a team that by all accounts was a seasoned and mature squad, and you'll see lots of clean games. In eight games, those Cowboys committed five or less penalties. When it came to turnovers, there were eight games where they had zero or one turnover.
Committing fewer than five penalties and having one turnover or less would be good benchmarks against Savannah State.
Whether OSU plays that way Saturday will tell us something about this bunch.
“That kind of shows the maturity of the team you have,” Spencer said.
The opponents are only going to get more difficult from here. But if the Cowboys are able to play with an edge against the worst team in OSU history, it could be a sign of good things to come.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at (405) 475-4125 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.