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Preview: No. 11 Oklahoma State vs. Tulsa

The Cowboys kick off their 2020 season.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 14 Oklahoma State at Tulsa Photo by David Stacy/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

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Opposing Preview

When we last left off

Oklahoma State ended its roller coaster of a season last year with a Texas Bowl loss to Texas A&M to finish the season with back-to-back losses and an 8-5 record. The Cowboys were without Tre Sterling in the first half, Tylan Wallace was still recovering from ACL surgery, Spencer Sanders was hurt and Dru Brown was playing quarterback. With Sanders and Wallace healthy and Chuba Hubbard back for another season, the pressure is on this team to compete for a Big 12 title. Kasey Dunn has taken over for offensive coordinator which is sure to bring some exciting changes.

About the bad guys:

2020 Record: 0-0

Series History: 42-28 in favor of Oklahoma State.

Head Coach: Philip Montgomery. This will be Montgomery’s sixth year at Tulsa, where he’s 25-37 since taking over the program.

Defensive Coordinator: Joseph Gillespie, who is in his second season after he was promoted from linebackers coach.

When OSU has the ball

Key Players: LB Zaven Collins, CB Allie Green IV

The Hurricane defense returns four starters from last years squad. Collins is said to be the leader for the linebacker position and it will be interesting to see if he’s able to get in Sanders face a little bit.

As for how the Hurricane plan to go about defending Wallace. The matchup will most likely go to Green IV, who had seven tackles and broke up quite a few passes against OSU last year.

Tulsa’s defense didn’t play well last year against OSU, and the Cowboys might have to shake off the rust a little bit because it looks like they have some experience.

When Tulsa has the ball

Key Players: QB Zach Smith, RBs Shamari Brooks and Corey Taylor II

Baylor transfer Zach Smith threw for a career-high 3,279 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2019. Smith was recently named to Earl Campbell Tyler Rose watch list and Cleburne head coach Casey Walraven had very good things to say.

“It’s really exciting for me and everybody around here to be able to see he’s getting recognized,” Walraven said. “I think it’s long overdue. He’s definitely a draftable quarterback and I think his stock’s continuing to rise. He is, without a doubt in my mind, one of the toughest players in college football. He took some shots and he has over his career, and I think he’s going to be prepared for the NFL more than any other player just because of what he’s had to go through mentally and physically. {Cleburne Times Review}

Tulsa has a group of veteran running backs in Brooks and Taylor II. The duo have racked up 4,190 yards and 45 TDs in their careers, while last year Brooks totaled 1,046 yards and Taylor had 461 and both scored six TDs.

Montgomery runs high-tempo offense, which is something OSU and defensive coordinator Jim Knowles weren’t totally prepared for in the first half of last season’s game. Steve Helwick of SB Nation’s Underdog Dynasty noted earlier this week if Smith gets hot the game could get annoying quickly for OSU fans. Smith has the arm strength to be able to take chances down the field with deep balls.

Prediction

I echo what Joel Penfield and Phillip Slavin said on this week’s CRFF The Podcast preview about the Cowboys taking care of business and starting the season 1-0. Let’s go with 49-30 OSU.