Oklahoma State returns to Ames for the first time since a double-overtime loss to Iowa State knocked the Cowboys out of the national championship game.
Berry Tramel writes that Mike Yurcich is feeling the pressure to right the Cowboys’ offense in his first season as offensive coordinator.
OSU players talk about their memories from the 2011 game, and how that is serving as motivation this season.
More quotes from players and coaches on the Cowboys’ return to Ames.
Our staff picks and predictions for the game.
1. How to the Cowboys handle the quarterbacks?
ESPN reported Friday night that Clint Chelf will start for the Cowboys against the Cyclones after taking over for J.W. Walsh early in the second quarter against TCU last week. Obviously, that’s not surprising. With that said, does OSU go back to using Walsh in a specialty package in short-yardage and goal-line situations? That worked quite well down the stretch last season, with Walsh producing six total touchdowns (four rushing, two passing) over the Cowboys’ final four games.
2. Who plays running back?
True freshman Rennie Childs’ second-half performance against TCU (45 yards and the game-clinching touchdown on just nine carries, along with a 34-yard catch) may have earned him more playing time. But don’t be surprised if Jeremy Smith is still given the chance to start and get the running game going. If Smith is again unproductive, though, the Cowboys could quickly go to Childs or Desmond Roland. Also worth watching the offensive line combo after last week’s shuffle. In case you missed it, here’s this week’s film study blog breaking down all the running back carries in the TCU game.
3. Who punts and kicks off?
These questions are pretty straightforward this week, huh? Kip Smith left the TCU game with an apparent injury, and Mike Gundy has been mum about his status this week. If Smith is unable to go, Michael Reichenstein will punt and Ben Grogan will kick off.
Matchup to watch: Iowa State punter Kirby Van Der Kamp vs. OSU punt returner Josh Stewart
A special teams matchup could again be key in a game featuring two sub-par offenses. Iowa State’s Kirby Van Der Kamp ranks 15th in the nation in punting at 44.3 yards per game, with 10 boots beyond 50 yards and 14 downed inside the 20. OSU’s Josh Stewart, meanwhile, is second in the nation with an average of 23.8 yards per punt return.
Uniform prediction: White helmet (OSU logo), white jersey, orange pants
Amazingly enough, OSU’s former traditional road look has not been worn since going to the multitude of combinations.
Final score prediction: OSU 37, Iowa State 13
Chelf may start, but Walsh accounts for two touchdowns inside the 10.