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Oklahoma State football: Tougher tests are ahead for Cowboys, like Saturday at Arizona

OSU had little resistance from Savannah State, but it still had a chance to work on some things.
by John Helsley Published: September 2, 2012

Offensive Line

Learned: Even with three new starters and mass substitutions, the OSU front played crisp and clean, paving the way for the running game to romp and keeping the quarterbacks comfortable throughout. Evan Epstein, in his debut as a starter at center, never showed up — which is a good thing.

TBD: Well, it was supposed to be easy, with the Tigers' defensive front four averaging 6-foot-2, 250 pounds. “The competition is not what we're accustomed to,” Mike Gundy said. “And we should have run the ball well.”

Pace Of Play

Learned: Offensive tempo had been a hot August topic, with Lunt and the new receivers pressing to replicate the pace established by Brandon Weeden and Co. Looked pretty adjusted in the early going, with the offense zipping through plays and touchdown drives that lasted 1:30,: 15, 1:06,: 55 and 1:15 to start the game. Defensively, the Cowboys swarmed to the ball and closed quickly on open space. “I hope that holds true throughout the season,” Gundy said.

TBD: The Tigers' defensive approach — little resistance — made it easy for Lunt to get the ball out quickly. How quick will the reads and adjustments come when the defensive looks become more complex?

Improved Defense

Learned: A shutout and a virtual stonewalling, even with a “bunch of Rudys” on the field much of the fourth quarter, well, that's impressive. No major busts. No receivers running free. It's what you'd have wanted to see in an opener against anyone.

TBD: Spencer said it: off the dirt and onto the highway. Arizona sped to 624 total yards, running and passing (although not scoring) at will, in its 24-17 overtime win over Toledo. So a truer test is coming Saturday.