Well here it is, again.
The place where Oklahoma State undefeated season(s?) go to die.
Isn't it eerie how similar this weekend is to the 2011 season? The Oklahoma State Cowboys are heading to Ames following a huge victory the week before. Big time games in the upcoming weeks. It's wild.
Here's something that might make you cringe: I see this Oklahoma State team looking wildly similar to the 2000 national champion Oklahoma Sooner squad (I know, please forgive me for comparing us to them.) OU was hardly ranked at the beginning of the season. OSU wasn't ranked at all. OU flew somewhat under the radar all year. They even had a stretch of big time, season defining matches that ultimately swayed the voters' perception of the team. THAT is this OSU team. Now of course, there's a lot different between the two squads, but this is a thing:
Oklahoma close games in 2000 (5)
- KSU 41-31
- TAMU 35-31
- TT 27-13
- Oklahoma State 12-7
- KSU 27-24Oklahoma State close games in 2015 (4)
- CMU 24-13
- Texas 30-27
- KSU 36-34
- WVU 33-26
- More to come?
Following a 49-29 (and it never seemed that close) beat down of the TCU Horned Frogs, it would be easy to write off the Iowa State game and chalk it up as an easy win. But if anyone knows how difficult it can be to win in Ames, it's the Cowboys. However, I don't see this group of Pokes as the team that will take its opponents for granted. Mike Gundy won't let that happen. Mike Yurcich won't let that happen. Glenn Spencer definitely won't let that happen.
That being said, I truly don't see this being much of a game. Don't get me wrong, there is always the potential for a letdown following the big victory over TCU last saturday. But like I said, I don't see the coaching staff letting that happen. Not to mention, there's something about this group of Cowboys that makes me feel like they never take anything for granted. Maybe it's because of all of the close calls they've had this season. Maybe it's because they know they are playing not just for themselves, but for the entire community after the homecoming tragedy. Whatever the case may be, I think they have a great shot at moving to 10-0 for the second time in five years.
The defense should be just fine, this weekend. I'm basically beating a dead horse in talking about how good this year's defense is but there's no two ways about it: they are just that good. Multiple takeaways a game from the secondary combined with one of the most dominant defensive lines in the country is always a good bet. Throw in the fact that this unit isn't only talented, but experienced and deep at every position as well. Injuries have sidelined several Cowboy defenders, this season, and they still continue to impose their will and disrupt opposing offenses. Just ask Trevone Boykin. I bet he can tell you the difference between Emmanuel Ogbah and that walking meme, Baylor lineman.
The Iowa State offense has been successful at times this season. Especially when they switched out quarterbacks and brought in Joel Lanning. For those of you that don't recognize the name, Lanning is the kid that took the reins of the ISU offense and led them to a 24-0 win over the Texas Longhorns. Yeah, I know, it's just Texas. But still, it's Texas. The Horns haven't been shut out since 2006. So that win is really a statement of what the ISU offense and defense has the capability of doing.
However, There's a great difference between the Texas defense and the group that OSU has. If the Cowboys can continue their habit of forcing turnovers and disrupting plays in the backfield, I think they have a great shot to win. There are no true stand out stars on the ISU offense. Although their leading rusher, Mike Warren, does have 997 rushing yards on the season. They have over 1,600 rushing yards as a team. Gee, I wonder what that's like?
For the first time, this season, it's the OSU offense that has the chance to be the deciding factor in a game. After rolling over the TCU defense last week - a defense riddled with injuries mind you - I see Oklahoma State living up to the challenge of avoiding a letdown.
The best defense the Cowboys have faced all season is Central Michigan(!!) which is No. 24 (!) in the nation in total defense. OSU, although not completely dominant in the game, handled their business in that game with 419 yards of offense, no turnovers and 24 points. Iowa State's defense, on the other hand, ranks 113th in total defense. Good news for the Cowboys? The ISU defense is further from Central Michigan and closer to Texas Tech (126th) and the Pokes put up 70 points and over 650 yards of offense on the Red Raiders.
Point being: if OSU goes out and plays smart, I don't see this game being too tight in the end.
Then again, the last time a confident undefeated Cowboy team went into Ames, it didn't end so well.
Hopefully this group keeps that in mind. Here's to hoping for some orange fireworks come Saturday.
- Expose Iowa State's Defense
- Force turnovers by forcing Lanning to leave the pocket
- Don't forget 2011.