Oklahoma State will finish the 2012 season against Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.
Are the Cowboys motivated?
OSU players and coaches are saying all the right things — that they are happy to play in a bowl game and have been given the royal treatment during their time in Dallas. We’ll see once the game kicks off. Bowl games, especially these lower-tier games, are so much about motivation and which team wants to be there more. Probably the most recent — and most glaring — example of that is heavy favorite USC getting throttled by a 6-7 Georgia Tech team in Monday’s Sun Bowl.
Do all three quarterbacks play?
Clint Chelf will start. J.W. Walsh has his package. But could we see Wes Lunt back on the field for the first time since sustaining a concussion against Kansas State on Nov. 3? Coach Mike Gundy said that’s possible, depending on how the game transpires. If this game, as expected, gets out of hand, I think we’ll see Lunt get some snaps in the fourth quarter.
Does the cornerback play improve?
Brodrick Brown and Justin Gilbert have taken a large bulk of the blame for OSU’s struggles on defense down the stretch. Purdue doesn’t feature a downfield passing attack, but Brown and Gilbert weren’t beat over the top against Baylor and Oklahoma. They gave receivers too much cushion on those short and intermediate routes, usually right at the sticks and near the sideline. Purdue does feature a short passing game, so how the Cowboys defend will be something interesting to watch.
Keep a balanced attack
Purdue’s best player is defensive tackle Kawann Short, who will try to plug the middle against Joseph Randle and this rushing attack. The Boliermakers’ only hope against OSU is to make it one-dimensional. If the offensive line can consistently open holes for Randle — who perhaps could be playing in his last college game — the Cowboys should put up plenty of points.
Win special teams
It’s crazy that a team with one of the nation’s best special teams weapons in Quinn Sharp has probably been hurt more than helped in that phase of the game because of its poor coverage on returns. Watch out for Purdue’s Akeem Hunt. He’s taken a kickoff 100 yards to the house this season.
It’s cliche, but one of the perks of bowl games is the chance to send the seniors out with a win. I’ll be curious to see if guys like Brown, Nigel Nicholas, Cooper Bassett, Alex Elkins or Isaiah Anderson make a big play in their last hoorah
Uniform Prediction (revelation): Black helmet (orange OSU logo), black jersey, black pants
The Cowboys have broken out the same all-black look that they wore in last year’s dramatic Fiesta Bowl victory. Maybe OSU is starting an all-black bowl tradition? The color scheme is a repeat from this season, though against TCU, OSU wore the new Phantom Pistol Pete helmet.
Final score prediction: OSU 48, Purdue 23
This Cowboy offense is just too explosive. Chelf throws for 400 yards and four touchdowns, propelling OSU into a very interesting quarterback offseason.