After Oklahoma State's near victory over the defending national championships in Florida State, the Cowboys will now go to the opposite end of the college football spectrum and play FCS team Missouri State. The Bears have been a successful program, but not enough to be known even in the same breath as some of the FCS powers. Unfortunately for the Bears, alumni like Jacksonville Jaguar Clay Harbor, or even John Goodman, yes that John Goodman will not be suiting up on Saturday in Stillwater.
The Bears will be a run-first team, with mobile quarterback and Kierra Harris and running backs Phoenix Johnson and Calan Crowder. In their first game last week, a win over Northwestern State; Harris, Johnson and Crowder carried the ball 40 times and gained a total of 199 yards between them. That is an average of 4.98 yards per carry.
The Bears offensive line played well in game one, but that will likely not happen again, against a defensive line that shocked a national audience last Saturday. The line returns four starters, and averages at a height of 6'3'' and a weight of 306lbs. which is a solid size to have. If the Bears want to have any success in the game, it will need to have an outstanding game out of their lineman, to make way for their running game to take advantage. The Cowboys though, will be a totally different animal than the likes of Northwestern State.
Oklahoma State would be wise to force passing situations on this offense. Harris is mobile so the defensive line will need to play smart with containment, but forcing bad throws will be a handy tool for the athletic Cowboy defensive line. Harris is able to complete passes, but he was only able to complete 50 percent in the Bears first game and threw an interception as well. Harris also has one main target that he throws to as well in receiver Julian Burton. Burton accounted for 140 of the 195 total passing yards last Saturday for the Bears. If Kevin Peterson can shut down some of the best in the Big 12 then he shouldn't have much trouble against the 5'10'', 182lbs. Burton.
Burton is also on the kickoff return team for the Bears and is a big play threat, so the special teams unit will need to become a more sound unit this Saturday, so that the Bears don't come away with a cheap big play opportunity.
At around 5:30 p.m. Saturday though, it will be pretty obvious that the Oklahoma State defense was an overwhelming force for the Missouri State offense. The Bears may put up a decent fight early, but that will wear off after the first few series. Missouri State should only be able to score about 14 points in a rout win for the Cowboys.
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