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Gameday Preview: Oklahoma State (1-0) @ South Alabama (0-1)

The Cowboys look forward to a tricky road matchup against an inferior team tonight in Mobile.

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

The Cowboys travel to Mobile, Al. to take on the South Alabama Jaguars in the Pokes’ first road game of the season. Tonight’s matchup will be the first between the two schools. The Cowboys come in after walloping Tulsa, and the Jags are coming off a loss on the road to Ole Miss. An odd matchup and venue indeed, but the Cowboys will be the better team on the field tonight. They can’t afford to overlook South Alabama if they want to keep their dream season hopes alive.

Game Info:

When: Friday, September 8 7 P.M. CST

Where: Ladd-Pebbles Stadium, Mobile, Alabama

Watch: ESPN2

Listen: Cowboy Radio Network

Line: Oklahoma State (-28)

NCAA Football: South Alabama at Mississippi Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

Get to Know the South Alabama Jaguars:

The Jaguars will welcome the Cowboys after playing Ole Miss last weekend. The game ended up a 20-point win for the Rebels, but the Jags were within three points at the half. Ole Miss ended up pulling away, but the scoreboard didn’t reflect how close the game was.

Quarterback Cole Garvin went 19-31, had 204 yards and touchdown, but the offense runs best on the ground. Tailback Tra Minter had 12 carries for 83 yards, while Xavier Johnson, another big playmaker for the Jaguars, racked up 37 yards on 11 carries.

The USA defense struggled to cover Shea Patterson, letting him toss four over 400 yards four touchdowns. Jeremy Reaves led the Jaguars defensively with eight tackles.

What to Watch For: Oklahoma State

Last week, we got a great look at this Oklahoma State offense. And man, oh man, are we in for a treat this season.

The backfield as a whole racked up over 300 yards against a veteran defensive line in Tulsa last week. At times, they ran the ball at will. It could be a different test tonight.

South Alabama’s defensive line isn’t great, but they only gave up 102 yards to Ole Miss last week. I expect the Cowboys to try and establish a ground game early and often in order to open up some deep passing opportunities. If they can play like they did last week, I expect a lot of yards, and a lot of plays like this.

After James Washington’s 145 yard, two touchdown performance last week, I expect the Cowboys look his way early and often down the field. Last weekend, South Alabama gave up over 200 yards to Ole Miss receiver A.J. Brown. Washington is better than him. This could be a game that he potentially goes over the 200-yard mark.

Tyron Johnson caught a 44 yard touchdown pass in his first game in an Oklahoma State uniform. I expect him to make some plays tonight as well, and I hope that we’ll see the coaches try to get the ball in his hands more this evening. Maybe even a couple like this one:

A look at Dustin after that play:

Last week, Rudolph threw for over 300 yards and had four touchdowns. He looked like a Heisman hopeful, and against a vastly inferior opponent tonight, he should be able to rack up even more yards.

South Alabama wins if...

Oklahoma State doesn’t put the pedal to the metal. South Alabama is overmatched in this game, but make no mistake, they will be fired up at an opportunity to knock off a top-15 team in front of their fans.

If Oklahoma State can’t establish a run game, and they turn the ball over a few times, they could find themselves in trouble. Think back to the Central Michigan game in 2015 when they played the Chips on the road ... They couldn’t run the ball, the deep ball wasn’t there, and they turned the ball over. Talent won them that game, but they’ll need to impose their will early and often to put South Alabama away early.

Oklahoma State will win if...

They pick up where they left off last week. The offense should be firing on all cylinders against an overmatched secondary. I expect the Cowboys to run the ball well tonight, and if they can do that, they’ll force South Alabama to play catch-up. With the way the Jags offense operates, I’m not sure they’ll be able to withstand a shootout.

If the Cowboys take care of the ball, and are sharp mentally, they shouldn’t have much of a problem in this game. Get it rolling early and don’t look back.

Score Prediction:

Oklahoma State 59, South Alabama 20