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Pokes Preview: Oklahoma State hosts TCU for Homecoming

Gina Mizell Modified: October 19, 2013 at 10:40 am •  Published: October 19, 2013

Following a bye, the Oklahoma State regular season hits its midway point Saturday, when the No. 21 Cowboys host TCU for Homecoming.

Three questions

How does the OSU offense attack the TCU defense?

The offense will remain the No. 1 question until it starts to be more productive. I asked Fort Worth Star-Telegram beat writer Stefan Stevenson where the Horned Frogs’ vaunted defense is most susceptible, and he said big plays in the passing game. Unfortunately for OSU, that is not J.W. Walsh’s strength. But columnist Berry Tramel has a great piece in today’s paper about the ways the Cowboys can help Walsh have more success. The one that sticks out to me is playing uptempo more consistently, which will be helped if receivers Blake Jackson, Austin Hays and/or Blake Webb return from injury. Another thing coaches keep stressing is the need for balance. Jeremy Smith looked much better running the football against Kansas State. Yet the Cowboys still need more out of him.

Can the Cowboy defense keep the turnovers coming?

The Cowboys say their goal is to create five turnovers a game, which happened against Kansas State. That’s a bit unrealistic to expect every week. But the defense can really help this OSU offense out by setting it up in good field position — or by scoring off a turnover. TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin is mobile but hasn’t proven to be a pristine passer, which could give those OSU linebackers and secondary players a chance to get their hands on the football.

What does the offensive line look like?

Travis Cross or Chris Grisbhy at right guard?

Key matchup: OSU’s kick coverage unit vs. TCU’s kick return game

Really. OSU ranks fifth in the nation by allowing just 16.31 yards per kick return, while TCU ranks fourth in the nation with 30.29 yards per return with two touchdowns. In a game that could be tough offensively for both teams, a big special teams play could decide the outcome.

Uniform prediction: Orange helmets (OSU logo), orange jersey, orange pants

Would not be surprised if this becomes a Homecoming tradition. But ditch the Pistol Pete orange helmet for the OSU one.

Final score prediction: OSU 23, TCU 16

With a raucous Homecoming crowd backing the Cowboys, look for OSU to come out with a close victory. The game-winning score? A defensive touchdown.