Hey, there’s a football game tonight!
After a week of digesting the bulk of Sports Illustrated’s five-part investigative series inside the Oklahoma State program, the current Cowboys finally get to get back on the field. And the opponent, Lamar, is not a good one. Plain and simple.
For Saturday’s Oklahoman, I provided some storylines that we would have written about this week under normal circumstances. So these “three questions” are largely repeats for that reason. Roll with me.
1. Is this Savannah State, part deux?
Lamar, a Football Championship Subdivision school in Beaumont, Texas, revived its football program in 2010 and yet to face a team the caliber of OSU.
Is another 84-0 blowout — where starters were pulled midway through the first quarter — on the way?
Maybe not. But we could see a whole lot of Clint Chelf and Rennie Childs and Seth Jacobs and Jordan Sterns in this one. Third-team quarterback Daxx Garman may even get some snaps.
2. Which way does the offensive pendulum swing?
We’ve seen two different versions of the OSU offense in the Cowboys’ first two games.
Against Mississippi State, the Cowboys ran for 286 yards, including 125 from quarterback J.W. Walsh. Against Texas-San Antonio, Walsh completed 24-of-27 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns.
Which way will OSU lean against Lamar? Or will we see a healthy blend of the two attacks?
3. How does the defense continue to develop?
OSU put together a dominant performance on defense against Mississippi State and played well against UTSA through three quarters.
But it was clear the Roadrunners had a few athletes on the perimeter that sometimes gave OSU trouble. Lamar will play a spread style on Saturday, as will the majority of the teams OSU will face in the Big 12. It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys adjust and continue to develop that aggressive style in game situations.
Key matchup: OSU coverage unit versus Kevin Johnson
Yes, that Kevin Johnson, as in the former OSU receiver who transferred to Lamar after spring practice in 2012.
Johnson has become an all-purpose threat for Lamar, particularly in the return game. And OSU has recently struggled covering kickoffs and punts, including giving up a 66-yarder against Mississippi State two weeks ago.
Lamar shouldn’t test OSU much in any area. Johnson’s return ability could be it.
Uniform prediction: Orange helmet (OSU logo), orange jersey, orange pants
I highly doubt this was the pick for this game when a small group of Cowboys selected all the uniform combinations for the season. But if there was ever a week to go all orange, this is it.
Final score prediction: OSU 56, Lamar 13
I fully admit this was a pick I made in haste earlier in the week in the middle of all the SI stuff. I actually would not be surprised if the Cowboys dropped 70-plus in this game.