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Texas vs. OSU: Cowboys concerned about stopping the Smash Brothers and the 18 Wheeler

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Cade Webb of SB Nation’s Oklahoma State site, Cowboys Ride For Free, provides some expert insight on Saturday’s game.

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Oklahoma State v Texas Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images
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Burnt Orange Nation: What's up with the beef between Mike Gundy and T Boone Pickens? Where did that come from and why does it continue to persist?

Cowboys Ride For Free: This whole situation between the two is the equivalent of high school lunch room gossip, and it is a one way street. Mike Gundy has always been professional in the way he discusses these issues, but for Boone on the other hand, he has been outspoken and crass from the get go. Pickens wants a national championship, pretty plain and simple. I'm not sure if he understands what goes into winning a national championship for a school like Oklahoma State, but the consensus around Stillwater and in the fanbase is that Boone just needs to let it go.

Any time Oklahoma State begins to wobble a little bit on the field, Pickens starts to rally the troops. The issue is, his opinion matters. A lot.

After donating over half a billion dollars to the school, he expects a return on investment in the form of beating OU consistently, winning Big 12 championships, and competing for national championships. I'm not sure what he's all worked up about right now because, in my opinion, Oklahoma State football is on the best upward trajectory they've ever been. He just needs to let the powers that be in the football program do their job.

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BON: Oklahoma State lost the Central Michigan game on the heartbreaking Hail Mary that never should have happened. With the win against Pitt an the close lose to Baylor on the road, is it safe to say that the team bounced back from that disappointment or are there still some lingering effects?

CRFF: If there are any lingering effects, they aren't immediately obvious. I think the fanbase has felt more of a lingering effect than the team, which is a really good thing. The fanbase was ready to drive off a cliff after that CMU loss, but I was impressed with the way they bounced back against a very physical Pitt team.

They also had every opportunity win on the road last week against Baylor. I think OSU's issues are very fixable, and I don't think any of them have to do with the way the season started. They've turned the ball over quite a bit and that's lost them two games.

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BON: In that game against Pitt, wide receiver James Washington had a huge day, but was mostly held in check by Baylor. What was it that the Bears did to slow him down?

CRFF: Baylor double-teamed Washington on every snap. Literally, every snap. If you look at other wide receiver's stats in that game, they are all pretty comparable. Washington was able to haul in seven passes, but wasn't able to hit on any deep balls, and that is OSU's mantra. Baylor shadowed Washington everywhere he went, and the fact that he still had seven catches was pretty impressive, given the way Baylor was covering him.

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BON: The Cowboys running game has been missing in action the last several seasons. Justice Hill gave it a boost last weekend with 20 carries for 122 yards. Was that enough for you declare that he's the missing piece?

CRFF: I'm not sure, to be honest with you. I think Hill is by far the most talented back for Oklahoma State, and he brings something to the table that nobody else does for the team. The running game looked the best it has looked in the last three seasons.

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BON: Even with the success of Hill, what was up with calling for a run on 4th and 2 in the red zone?

CRFF: You know as well as I do. I was disappointed with the way this scenario unfolded. OSU is stopped on 3rd down, and they run up quickly to the line on 4th down, and they had the numbers to run the ball, and I would've been fine with that. Baylor realized it, and called a timeout.

What does OSU do? They run the ball the same way they were going to. That was a pretty unimaginative play call from Mike Yurcich, and while I like the idea to go for it, I think the obvious play call is a play-action roll out. The running game was working well between the 10's, but it's harder to run the ball close to the goal line for any offense. I thought it was a lack-luster play call at best.

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BON: The defensive line for Oklahoma State may be the strength of the defense. How do you see the match up playing out between that talented group and an improved Texas offensive line?

CRFF: This is a very important matchup for Oklahoma State on Saturday. Texas is going to want to run the football and if it works, they're going to want to run it some more. OSU's defensive line is one of the best, if not the best, in the conference though. They are legitimately three deep at the tackle position, and can rotate everyone around.

I said on our weekly podcast that the number to hold Texas to on the ground was 200. They ran for over 300 against Cal, and if that happens this week, Oklahoma State will lose this football game.

If Texas is held to below 200, I don't see how they win the game, considering the experience in the OSU secondary. The DB's should have a chip on their shoulder from the way they played against Baylor, so I expect a much better performance from them.

OSU's defensive line was able to get penetration with just four on Baylor, and if they are able to do that against Texas, I like OSU's chances.

I think the Kent Perkins suspension will play a bigger role in this game than most think. He would've been lining up across from Vincent Taylor, who is a monster for OSU at DT. I expect Texas to be able to have success running the football, but I don't see them being able to just run it at will.

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BON: Are there any players on the Texas offense that really scare you?

CRFF: The running backs. No question. D'onta Foreman and Chris Warren are NFL-caliber running backs and they weigh more than a few of our linebackers. They aren't the fastest, but goodness, they run hard. I

f they are able to get to the second level of the defense, guys have to be ready to come up and help because one guy isn't bringing them down. Those guys scare me, but Tyrone Swoopes also seems to play well against Oklahoma State, and the 18-Wheeler package has been pretty successful so far.

Breaking T

Get your own 18 Wheeler t-shirt here.

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BON: Give us your prediction on how you see this game playing out.

CRFF: You probably won't like this, and hopefully your readers don't show up outside my house with pitchforks (kidding, obviously). Texas showed a massive weakness in the secondary against Cal, and that was against inferior competition.

Davis Webb is a solid QB, but I don't think he brings what Mason Rudolph does to the table. James Washington will likely see a lot of double coverage, but Jhajuan Seales and Jalen McCleskey are both deep play threats as well. I think OSU exposes that weakness in the secondary and throws for over 400 yards.

If OSU can contain the Texas running game and force Buechele into obvious throwing situations in tight coverage, it plays into OSU's favor. OSU won't shut the Texas running game down completely, but I expect the defensive line to play well at home. Because of these two match ups, I'll take Oklahoma State to beat Texas 42-31.