Coming off a bye week, Oklahoma State opens Big 12 play at the conference’s outpost, West Virginia. The Mountaineers have stumbled out to a 2-2 start, including a 37-0 loss to Maryland last week.
What does the Cowboy offense look like?
The Cowboys have been balanced overall this season, with 110 rushing attempts and 112 passing attempts. But the Cowboys went run-heavy against Mississippi State, pass-heavy against Texas-San Antonio and then a good blend of the two against Lamar. Which approach do we see against the Mountaineers? Coordinator Mike Yurcich so far has shown he will find the weakness of the defense and keep attacking that. But as we get into the meat of the conference schedule, in-game adjustments will become more important.
Does WVU’s change at quarterback matter?
Dana Holgorsen made a surprise announcement Thursday that Clint Trickett will start in place of an injured Ford Childress. Trickett, a Florida State transfer, played in the Mountaineers’ opener against William & Mary, going 0-of-2 passing in two series. Though Trickett hasn’t seen the field much this season, he does have experience in big-time games. He passed for 336 yards and three touchdowns for Florida State against Clemson in 2011 when he started in place of an injured E.J. Manuel. That same season, he replaced Manuel against Oklahoma, going 7-of-15 for 135 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Does that all change anything in OSU’s defensive approach? Likely not, given the timing of the announcement. And Trickett once was the third-stringer for a squad that has had a multitude of quarterback problems this season.
What does Holgoren pull out of the hat?
Glenn Spencer gave the money quote of OSU’s weekly press conference, noting that West Virgina’s “wounded right now, and that’s what’s scary.” It’s difficult to classify this as a must-win for the Mountaineers this early in the season, but it’s sure close. What will Holgorsen, still known as an offensive mastermind, pull out? Maybe some trickeration? That doesn’t just apply to the offensive side of the ball. We could see some interesting things on defense and special teams, too. WVU has nothing to lose.
WVU running backs vs. OSU front seven
Odd to see an Air Raid spread offense relying so much on the running game, but that’s where WVU is at right now. Charles Sims and Dreamius Smith both average 5.5 yards per carry and have combined for 579 yards and four touchdowns through four games. Sims is also a receiving threat, tallying 12 catches for 81 yards. Those Cowboy linebackers need to ready to assist against the run, and to cover Sims should he motion out as a receiver.
Uniform prediction: Gray helmet, white jersey, gray pants
This sharp look has become a staple on the raod. Might as well pull it out for the conference opener.
Final score prediction: OSU 38, WVU 16
My bold prediction in the newspaper: The Cowboys will score a touchdown on offense, defense and special teams today.