OSU football: 3-2-1 kickoff for No. 17 Cowboys at Kansas
Here’s a look at some keys to keep an eye on when No. 17 Oklahoma State faces Kansas in its first road game of the season.
3 players to watch
Chuba Hubbard: OSU’s All-American and Heisman Trophy contender hasn’t quite looked himself through two games. But this is the kind of game that could open things up for Hubbard. Opponents are averaging 4.6 yards per carry against Kansas, which is 0.6 yards more than Hubbard’s average.
Cameron Murray: The Cowboys’ defense has been superb through two games, but it will face a tough challenge in slowing down Kansas star running back Pooka Williams. The Jayhawks will look to put the ball in Williams’ hands more, especially with their unsettled quarterback situation. Murray received hefty praise from West Virginia coach Neal Brown last week for his play up front. He'll need another big week.
Spencer Sanders: Will the Cowboys’ quarterback play? Coach Mike Gundy hinted on Monday that he expected Sanders — who missed last week with an ankle injury — to take more first-team snaps than backup Shane Illingworth this week. But that could also be gamesmanship by Gundy. The Cowboys have a bye week after Saturday, which could allow Sanders more time to heal.
2 big questions
Will the offense get going? Through two games, OSU has scored just four touchdowns and is averaging 313 yards per game. Last season, the Cowboys scored 52 TDs and averaged 453.9 yards per game. Hubbard hasn’t gotten loose. Sanders has been banged up. As a result, OSU has been playing it safe, relying on the defense. This is the type of game to open things up and let loose.
Can the special teams remain on a roll? OSU’s special teams play has been impressive. Kicker Alex Hale has made all five field goals. Punter Tom Hutton is averaging 43.5 yards per punt, including a career-best 62-yarder. Even Dillon Stoner got aggressive in punt returns, recently taking one 34 yards for a career high. Gundy almost hesitated to talk much about the unit this week, fearing a jinx. But it’s been a big factor in OSU’s strong start and will need to continue.
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1 wild prediction
The Cowboys will have a pick-6. Kansas played three quarterbacks a week ago and Les Miles said there would be a re-evaluation this week on that situation. With so many questions, that opens up a talented Cowboys defense to force turnovers. One will come through the air and be returned to the end zone.
Jacob Unruh, Staff writer