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Oklahoma State vs. Central Michigan: Preview

The 1-0 Cowboys face off against a familiar non-conference opponent

NCAA Football: Southeastern Louisiana at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

When: Saturday, September 10th, 11:00am CST.

Where: Boone Pickens Stadium (Stillwater, OK)

Watch: FS1

Listen: Cowboy Radio Network

#22 Oklahoma State University vs. Central Michigan University

Wait, so we get to a play a D1 FBS football team this week? Yay! The Sooner fans have been very grumpy (for some reason,) and have been berating the Cowboy fans with “well, you guys didn’t even schedule a real football team last week.” Blah, blah, blah. That should end this week, as we have CMU coming to town. No, CMU is not Alabama, Florida State or Oregon, but they have a good program up there, and they gave us some trouble last season. CMU is out of the Mid-American Conference, and we will get their very best shot, as they only scheduled two major programs this season; Oklahoma State and Virginia in week 4.

Coach Gundy will be looking to see what his team can do against some D1 talent this week. CMU’s head coach, John Bonamego, is bringing a solid QB and a tough defense to Stillwater, as he looks to thrust his team into national attention with a win over a major program like Oklahoma State.

Three Things to Watch for — OSU

Southeast Louisiana v Oklahoma State Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images
  • Running game. This has not changed from last week. Against SE Louisiana, we rushed for 144 total yards, with a 3.8 YPC average. Not great, especially considering the opponent. In defense of that, our running back substitutions were very frequent. This didn’t exactly allow for a running back to get in a groove. However, we may not have the luxury of waiting around for a running back to get into a good rhythm with Pitt and Baylor coming up in the next two weeks. This rushing attack needs to improve.
  • Keep Cooper Rush in check. Rush kept the Cowboys defense on their heels last season, and he looks to do the same thing tomorrow. Rush isn’t considered a true dual threat QB, but he is more than capable of tucking the ball and moving the chains in any way possible. Our defense needs to keep the pressure up on the pocket, and fly to the ball to have success against this offense. Mike Gundy on Cooper Rush,

“When you have a quarterback of that caliber, you certainly have the opportunity to score some points. I’ve always been a big fan of (Rush). He’s a potential NFL player.”

  • Don’t play down to your competition. This happens to many teams, every week. A strong program plays a weaker program, and the better players think that they can take it easy against their opponent. Little do they know, the weaker team has had this game circled on their calendars for months, and they show up and give the big boys a run for their money. It happens all the time. The Cowboys need to focus on the field tomorrow, because they are playing a D1 team now.

Three Things to Watch for — CMU

NCAA Football: Quick Lane Bowl-Central Michigan vs Minnesota Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
  • Continue the run game from last week. If CMU had a key for the offense this upcoming season, it would be to improve their rushing attack. The Seattle Seahawk’s starting RB, Thomas Rawls, graduated from CMU in 2014, and he left a big hole in his position last season. It was a rough go on the ground last year, but CMU has started off this season hot, rushing for 255 yards against Presbyterian College last week. Devon Spalding had a outstanding game, as he rushed for 135 yards and a touchdown. Their rushing attack was the only thing keeping the Chippewas from firing on all cylinders last season, so I expect an improved team showing up at BPS tomorrow.
  • Get Cooper Rush rolling. Like I mentioned above, the Cowboys have a great respect for the Chippewas senior quarterback. Last season against the Cowboys, Rush threw for 225 yards and ran for 51 yards and a touchdown. If Rush can replicate his success from last season, he should keep his team in this game.
  • Stout Defense. CMU is bringing in eight starters from last season’s 16th ranked (NCAA) defense. They lost a key safety to graduation, but their next seven top tacklers from last season will be on the field tomorrow. Mason and Co. have their work cut out for them.

Key to the game

Create a balanced offensive attack. No matter how much I’d love to see the Cowboys run 100 times for 1,000 yards tomorrow, it’s time to get Mason and the receivers dialed in. It’s about time to get serious this season, and we need to get the strength of this team up to speed. Especially James Washington. He had a few drops last week, but I expect Rudolph to go to his favorite target early and often.

Final Notes & Prediction

  • Very cool note: Both the Cowboys and Chippewas have head coaches coaching for their alma maters.
  • I’m predicting Mason will throw for 260+ with 3 TD’s. Washington will have 2 TD’s.

Final Score — OSU 38 CMU 21