Iowa State (1-3) at Oklahoma State (3-1) Oct. 4, 12:00, FOX Sports 1
Here’s The Deal: In 2011, Oklahoma State had the offense and the team in the mix for the national championship discussion except for one problem – it gacked away a Thursday night game for its only loss of the season and the only loss in the series in the last five tries. The Cowboys aren’t in the College Football Playoff picture quite yet, but considering the only loss is to Florida State, they’re almost certainly in if they win out and with the Big 12 title. That’s way down the line, but for now, the young, fast, talented team is starting to hit its stride a little bit with the offense scoring 40 points or more in each of the last three games.
Iowa State wasn’t miserable against Baylor, but it got blown out at home to make it an 0-2 Big 12 start and with hopes for a nice season quickly fading. The Cyclones haven’t won in Stillwater since 2000, but to pull off the upset they’ll have to get the offense moving, especially on the ground. It’s going to take a special, shocking effort, but they proved they could do that with a win over Iowa.
Why Iowa State Might Win: The Cowboy secondary was supposed to be in a rebuilding mode, but it held up reasonably well against Texas Tech’s air show last week giving up 394 yards and picking off three passes. However, SW Missouri State was also able to move the ball with a good passing attack – it wasn’t just Jameis Winston who put up big numbers on this group. The OSU pass rush is okay, not special, and the Iowa State backfield should have time to operate.
Why Oklahoma State Might Win: The Cyclones are struggling to find a consistent offense. It takes at least 35 points to get into the discussion with Oklahoma State, and ISU has yet to score more than 28. The line isn’t generating a push, the running game isn’t there, and the passing game isn’t efficient and effective enough to start bombing away like it needs to. The defense might give up yards, and it might be struggling against decent quarterbacks, but it’s solid at getting off the field on third downs. Iowa State is only hitting on 40% of its third down chances.
Who To Watch Out For: Iowa State’s defense might be struggling, but big Jevohn Miller is putting up a whale of a season. The 241-pound senior came up with 17 stops against Baylor, doing a little of everything to get around the ball and try to make things happen against the high-octane passing game. He won’t get into the backfield, and he won’t make too many plays at the line, but he’ll come up with stops. Expect another double-digit tackling day.
What’s Going To Happen: Oklahoma State won’t have any problems. It’ll take a 14-0 first quarter lead and Iowa State won’t be able to recover.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 41 … Iowa State 23
Line: Oklahoma State -17 o/u: 65
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