Welcome to a Friday edition of the CRFF roundtable discussion! We might make Skyler Howard’s bulletin board with some of these responses. As always, leave us your response in the comments section below.
1) What were your thoughts on the KU game, in general?
Gallagher Martin: I mean I wasn't surprised. After the last two trips to Lawrence, I'm just happy we got out of there with a comfortable win.
Phillip Slavin: I did say I didn't expect a blowout. I was more annoyed than surprised to be honest.
Joel Penfield: We won, and that's all that matters currently. They showed some signs of rust coming off of the bye week, but that was to be expected. I was glad the team stepped up in the second half and got a solid victory.
Tyler Wiederhoeft: It didn’t really surprise me. I figured we would start slow, then come alive. It’s very frustrating to watch as a fan. If we start slow against WVU, we are doomed.
Christopher Snodgress: I expected the Cowboys to start slow and look rusty coming off the bye week and playing in Lawrence. So, no surprise there. I also wasn't surprised OSU didn't throw for a ton of yards since the KU pass defense isn't as bad as you'd assume anything having to do with KU football would be. The Jayhawks are near the top of the conference in pass defense. What was surprising, and disheartening, was how well KU ran the ball. They came in averaging 95 rushing yards per game and rattled off 204. Up to this point, I feel like the defense has only given up big rushing yardage to legitimately good running teams. Not the case anymore. Which worries me greatly.
Austin Higgs: I think it was college football Reddit who said, "that was the closest blowout I've ever watched." So true. Kansas fans have to be excited about their current trajectory
2) West Virginia goes as Skyler Howard goes. Can Oklahoma State contain Howard or does he prove to be a nightmare for the Pokes defense?
Gallagher: HAHAHAHAHA. Oh, that was a serious question. Yeah we can contain Skyler Howard, we did a pretty good job of that last season. But he's actually having a stellar senior year, and he isn't turning the ball over. Yes it can be done, but I don't think he will play as poor as he did last season.
Phillip: I don't think he's going to do any better than any other QB we've faced in the Big 12 so far. Which means he'll have a career game.
Joel: Yes, it can be done. He'll make his plays, but I hope the defense can be opportunistic enough to force him into a couple mistakes that lead to turnovers. He has been good about not turning it over this year. But I hope that that will change this week.
Tyler: Depends on which defense shows up. If it’s the D that showed up against Texas, I think we will be alright. If it’s the defense that showed up against Kansas, we are doomed.
Christopher: I feel extremely confident in Oklahoma State's ability to contain Skyler Howard within the walls of Boone Pickens Stadium for the entirety of the game on Saturday. Within those walls, I expect Howard to pretty much do whatever he wants.
Austin: If we let him sit in the pocket all day, like we did Cozart last week, he will eat our secondary alive.
3) Do you have faith in the defense to be able to hang with a solid West Virginia offense?
Gallagher: “I'm worried about our secondary, they have not been very impressive this season. They allowed Montell Cozart to put up bigger numbers than Rudolph did, so that's kinda sad. Our defense will go as far as our secondary will allow us to.”
Phillip: OSU's defense the past few years always has that one home game where they just blow a good team away (TCU 2015, Baylor 2013). I'm hoping (fingers crossed) this is the game. Otherwise, they do what they've been doing; give up lots of yards and big plays, but make some necessary stops late.
Joel: I have enough faith in the defense. It'll be a bend-but-don't-break style of game, and will find a way to get key stops/turnovers.
Tyler: See my answer for #2.
Christopher: I fear the defensive effort may end up being the scariest thing I see this Halloween weekend. Let's be honest, we all know it's either going to be OSU forcing turnovers or WVU scoring a lot.
Austin: Uhh, They'll give up some points. As long as they get a few takeaways, I'll be happy with them.
4) In that same regard, do you think the offense can put up points on what is regarded as the best defense in the Big 12? What do you see the offense being able to do, and what do you see them struggling with?
Gallagher: “I do think our offense can. I'm really starting to get excited about our rushing attack, although our offensive line still has a lot to improve on regarding pass protection. But in the end it's up to Rudolph. He's got to find his confidence and Saturday would be the ideal time.”
Phillip: I think we have a better quarterback than TCU. I also believe our offense is less predictable than TTU. So I expect us to put up points on WVU.
Joel: WVU has a solid defense, but yes it is possible. I think the run game will be more effective than the pass (hot take alert), I think Justice Hill will have another great game and keep making his case for Big 12 Freshman of the Year. If WVU doubles Washington all game, it will be a take a guy like McCleskey to step up once again and gain just as much production, which will be tough. Washington must find a way to get open even in tight coverage.
Tyler: We have shown that we can score points, no matter what defense we play against. Fun fact: OSU has never scored under 20 points with Rudolph at the helm. (Don’t believe me? Look it up. Last time OSU scored under 20 points was 11/15/14 with a loss at home to Texas 28-7.) As far as success and struggles, it depends what O-line shows up. I think we will be able to run the ball, and if the o-line is able to give Rudolph time, he can find his receivers like we all know he can do.
Christopher: West Virginia's defense is solid, but I think the Cowboys have enough weapons to move the ball. What I think they will struggle with is scoring in the red zone. West Virginia's opponents have only scored nine touchdowns on 21 red zone attempts, and the Pokes have looked shaky in the red zone at times this season. We could see a lot of Ben Grogan.
Austin: I think our offensive scheme will look a lot like it did last week against Kansas. Run first. TCU's Kyle Hicks had some success on the ground against WVU, whereas Kenny 'Trill' struggled. I think Mason is going to have his work cut out for him this week. Hopefully the running game can help relieve that pressure.
5) Prediction time ... Score?
Gallagher: Oklahoma State wins 34-30.
Phillip: West Virginia wins 37-31.
Joel: 37-34 Oklahoma State, and after the game I'll be able to find a couple more gray hairs.
Tyler: I believe this will be a very fun game to watch. I think Gundy and staff will be able to do something they haven’t been able to do yet this year – get the ‘Boys firing right out of the gate (literally) and make West Virginia earn it. It’s been a while since the last one, so aren’t we about due for a Ben Grogan game winner?? I’ll ride with the Pokes, 34-31 on a Ben Grogan 43 yard FG from the right hash as time expires to give Coach Gundy his 100th win.
Christopher: West Virginia wins 41-26.