STILLWATER — The two trends that have defined Dez Bryant’s season collide at Boone Pickens Stadium tonight.
Bryant, No. 11 Oklahoma State’s star sophomore receiver, has been unstoppable at home: 40 receptions for 843 yards and 15 touchdowns.
But against ranked opponents, Bryant has been average, with 17 catches for 207 yards and no touchdowns in three games, all on the road.
The Cowboys will need to score a lot of points to beat the Sooners tonight. And scoring becomes much easier when Bryant is heavily involved in the offense.
It won’t be easy. Bryant rarely sees single coverage these days. And No. 3 Oklahoma’s physical secondary likes to keep its safeties deep in zone coverage, which is the perfect set-up for double-teaming him.
Bryant’s big-game struggles have been more a product of talented opponents than his own underachievement. OSU’s toughest opponents — tonight will be the Cowboys’ fourth game against a top-three team — have enough talent in the secondary to take Bryant away.
Over the last few years, the Sooner secondary has been susceptible to the deep ball. And Oklahoma State contributed to that reputation.
The Cowboys had success going deep for big plays in wins in 2001 and 2002. And in 2004, a deep ball just out of the reach of Prentiss Elliott nearly turned that one into a victory as well.