September 13, 2013

OSI breaks down what we're watching for on Saturday

It's finally game day in Stillwater after two weeks away from home.

The Cowboys (2-0) will take the field against the Lamar Cardinals at 6:30, and they're hoping it's over by halftime.

OSI will be on-site covering the game, and here's exactly what we'll be watching for when the game is finally underway this evening.

No. 1: Can J.W. Walsh keep it rolling?
Walsh lit UTSA up last week for 326 yards and 4 touchdowns, and had more scores through the air than incompletions (three). That brings his season yardage to 461, and the emergence of his arm last week shows that maybe he's better at running the explosive Oklahoma State offense than we originally thought. In Week 1, the Cowboys planned a rushing attack to go against the Mississippi State defense, but went in the complete opposite direction in San Antonio. What does offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich do with Walsh this week? We'll find out soon enough, but we're willing to bet he stays with his arm quite a bit.

No. 2: Suffocating defense
Oklahoma State's starting unit has given up just 10 points on the season (3 to Mississippi State, 7 to UTSA) and has looked like one of the best defenses Stillwater has seen in a long time. They're combining pass rush with linebacker stunts and excellent secondary coverage to make the game hectic for opponents. Cornerbacks Justin Gilbert and Kevin Peterson have played exceptionally well in DC Glenn Spencer's new system, while defensive end Jimmy Bean has been the most improved up front. Lamar runs a similar offense to Oklahoma State, so it'll be interesting to see if the Pokes can keep the pressure dialed up against the Cardinals.

No. 3: Go-to guy?
Last season, Josh Stewart was the go-to receiver for OSU quarterback after Tracy Moore went down with a season-ending injury. This year there hasn't been much of a steady target for Walsh, as there hasn't been a receiver to even clear 100 yards yet. Jajhuan Seales is a guy that started to look the part last week against UTSA, but the position is as crowded as can be already. Will Yurcich continue to employ production by committee, or will he try to establish a go-to receiver against Lamar?

No 4: Gundy's postgame
It's been a long, long week for Oklahoma State in the media. Sports Illustrated has gone after them with a five-part expose, and backlash both inside and outside of Stillwater has been massive. It's unlikely that coach Mike Gundy will even address the story in his postgame press conference, but his demeanor and body language when the question will undoubtedly be asked will be interesting to see.

Oklahoma State and Lamar will kick off in Boone Pickens Stadium at 6:30 pm. The game will be televised on FOX Sports. As always, join us at The Corral forum on the game chat thread, as well as on Brendon's Twitter account at @brendon_wm.

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