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Opposition Report – #23 Oklahoma State Cowboys

Red Raiders head to Stillwater upset-minded

Photo CC:  Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE(Michael C. Johnson-US PRESSWIRE – US PRESSWIRE)

First of it’s the Friday after Thanksgiving, so I can still say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  

A win in Stillwater would be quite the post-Thanksgiving gift as you meander the last of the turkey leftovers this Saturday. The Cowboys are coming off a 41-13 loss to Oklahoma, putting up only 246 yards of total offense. Going 3 of 14 on third downs, along with 78 yards on 28 carries just wasn’t going to work against an Oklahoma team that continues to improve as the season progresses.

What YOU need to know about the Oklahoma State Cowboys –

When the Cowboys have the ball

Quarterbacking for the Cowboys in 2020 is SO Spencer Sanders. Sanders has battled injuries early, missing most of the first three games with an ankle injury. Last week versus the Sooners, Sanders left after taking a sack in the first quarter. He would return in the fourth quarter, finishing 97 yards on 10-19 with one int. 

Spencer doesn’t have wow stats, passing for 863 yards, with 65.2 CMP%, five TDS, and four ints. He hasn’t been under center consistently and has had to battle being sacked 13 times. Tech’s Patterson knows part of the plan is to expose Oklahoma St’s offensive line breaks to get to Spencer early and often. 

When Sanders has gone down, FR Shane Illingworth, a former California four-star prospect, has taken over. Shane Illingworth completing OSU’s only touchdown pass vs OU – 

Quarterback Comparison Stats –

Illingworth is a freshman who is still learning the position. He only has one touchdown among his 554 yards passing. If called to play, Illingworth knows he’s going to need to find the endzone.

DC Keith Patterson knows that OSU could play both quarterbacks, especially if Sanders is not 100%. Regardless of his injury history, Sanders still is expected to start. But could Illingworth finish? Here is another chance for DC Keith Patterson and his defense to take the advantage.  

Running the ball, OSU had what some believed to be the best in the country. The talent is there with Preseason First-Team All-American JR-RB Chubba Hubbard, who had an explosive 2019 with 2,094 yards, averaging 6.4 per carry, with 21 TDS. 

However, the last three games have been quite lackluster for Hubbard, with only 147 total yards. His 44 yards on 8 attempts vs the Sooners further demonstrates that Hubbard may still be working on a banged-up ankle. The Tech defense knows it needs to prepare for him as if he was in his 2019 campaign, knowing that he could be healthy and possibly breakout.

Hubbard’s last big performance (25-139-1td) came vs ISU  –

Preparing for a possibly hobbled Hubbard means that you see the running back depth at work. SR-RB LD Brown has stepped in well, running for 390 on 70 attempts, including a 110-yard outing vs K-State. The injury bug has also crept up on Brown, which means you will also see SR-RB Dezmon Jackson, who has 135 yards for the season (with 91 of them coming vs Kansas). 

The quarterback and running back could both see some rotation. No matter what, Tech needs to be able to handle a strong rushing attack. Hubbard should still be considered an armed and dangerous back and needs to be kept under control.

When Oklahoma State passes, get ready to see a lot of Tylan Wallace. The SR-WR from Fort Worth, Texas has developed into the preferred target of both Sanders and Illingworth and has been the leading receiver in six of the Cowboys’ seven games. He’s averaging a little under 100 yards a game, with two major receiving spurts of 187 vs Texas and 148 yards vs Kansas. 

Look for Zech McPhearson and Wallace to be a great match up. Zech might have something to say about this post – 

McPhearson won’t be having any of this from Wallace either – 

When Texas Tech has the ball 

On the Cowboys’ defensive line, make sure you watch out for SO-DE Tyler Lacy with his 22 tackles, 4 sacks, and one forced fumble. His fellow DE on the other side is SO Trace Ford with 15 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, one forced fumble, and 4 pass deflections. Both sophomores are quick off the line and very athletic.   

Among the linebackers, keep a close eye on Amen Ogbongbemiga (try saying that name three times fast, or at all). The SR from Calgary, AB leads the defense with 51 tackles, 2.5 sacks. 

Next to Ogbongbemiga is Maclom Rodriquez – 

Rodriquez comes into the season as a preseason Butkus Award candidate. Rodriquez’s 29 tackles and three sacks closely mirror Ogbongbemiga’s numbers. His 2020 tackle total of 49 is just under half of what the senior posted in 2019 (103). 

You’ll definitely be seeing four-year starter CB Rodarius Williams, the leader of the Okie secondary. While the corner hasn’t registered an interception in 2020, he has tallied seven pass deflections, ranking 17th nationally. He is coming off five tackles, one forced fumble vs the Sooners, his best of the season. Match-ups to Watch Alert – Williams vs Ezukanma and/or TJ Vasher. 

The Take

Listen, the Cowboys have NFL talent, but they are not without the bumps and bruises other teams have endured this year. The Cowboys’ strong running game has hit a rough patch, and Wells knows it’s another opportunity for the Patterson defense to take another step forward. 

Wells and crew will have to get prepared for a possible healthy OSU team, while also knowing that many key players may still have lingering issues. The back and forth from Sanders to Illingworth doesn’t scream consistency at the QB position. I’m finding it hard seeing Sanders finishing the game if Tech’s defensive line and linebackers can get to him. DC Keith Patterson knows that his defense will have to once again carry the Tech offense by giving them as many opportunities as possible. 

This can be a staple game for Wells. The Baylor win was great for gaining momentum, but the progress has to continue. If Wells maximized his practices in the last two weeks, it should be a competitive game. Expect Wells and Patterson to pull out all the stops to steal one in Stillwater, sealing OSU’s conference championship hopes. 

Got a comment? Drop it below! And like and follow @GUNSUPNATION for all your Texas Tech Sports news. 

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