The scores of the first two Oklahoma State games this season have caused many to scratch their heads. Those that have, are not wrong to do so. Mike Gundy went on record this week saying that the UTSA Roadrunners will bring the toughest defense of the entire non-conference season. While Gundy may also not be wrong, the history between the two teams suggest that the Roadrunner defense may not be as strong as the head Cowboy is selling them to be.
Let's head to the Boone Pickens Time Machine and go to yesteryear. The year is 2013. The Cowboys have just beaten Mississippi State in Houston and the Cowboys have to play the first leg of their three game agreement with UTSA in the Alamodome. J.W. Walsh is the quarterback, and boy did he have himself a day. Completing 24 passes over 27 attempts and accumulating 326 yards and four touchdowns. Yes. Those were J.W. Walsh passing numbers. The guy was efficient and took the Roadrunners defense to task. While Walsh may not be the starting quarterback in 2015, Walsh's role in his designed package could evolve in this game. Walsh finally threw the ball against Central Arkansas and against the Roadrunners, there's no telling what the Poke offensive think tank could come up with.
Remember Daxx Garman? Yeah, he was that guy that was held together by tooth picks and paper clips midway through the season last year. There was a time though, that the transfer quarterback looked promising. Who did he look promising against you might ask. Well no other than Larry Coker's Roadrunners. The final score last season was 49-13 and Garman lead a Cowboy air assault that made fans look forward, at least at the time, to his upcoming Cowboy career. Garman's number that day would be 16 of 30 passing with 242 yards and two touchdowns. Imagine what Mason Rudolph coming off a 400-yard performance could do?
Last week, the Roadrunners lost big to a familiar Cowboy foe, the Kansas State Wildcats. The Wildcats lost their starting quarterback Jesse Ertz in week one and have had to rely on backup Joe Hubener. Hubener has the ability to run the ball efficiently and affirmed it with his performance against UTSA. Hubener carried the ball 17 times for 70 yards and a touchdown. Hubener's performance also opened up the run game for the rest of the Wildcat offense. Take this as another sign that J.W. Walsh's role in this game could be much larger than any of the previous two games.
What About Them:
The Cowboy offense does have a weak link though. The offensive line. That group has been shaky at best in the first two contests and will be tested by quality Texas talent. The strength of the UTSA defense is up the middle. The two defensive tackles, Jonathan Tuiolosega and Brian Price, and the middle linebacker Drew Douglas. The Texan, Douglas was preseason All-Conference USA first team, while both tackles came from California junior colleges. While Price and Tuiolosega are typical defensive tackle size, they are both solid pass rushers which could spell trouble for Cowboy interior offensive linemen Michael Wilson, Brad Lundblade and Paul Lewis.