At the midway point of the season, the Texas Longhorns still have their goals in front of them and they can stay on track with a win over the Oklahoma State Cowboys. However, the Cowboys are not the Cowboys of the past, led by one of the top defenses in the conference — en route to a 5-0 record and a top-15 ranking.
Burnt Orange Nation: The Cowboys come to Austin unbeaten with one of the top defenses in the country and a No. 12 ranking ahead of the game. What is the mood in Stillwater and what are expectations for the rest of the season?
Micah Allen, Cowboys Ride for Free: At this point, I think the fan base is in disbelief as to how we got here. Like in no universe looking at the games on paper would you think OSU has come out unscathed. That being said, I think the fanbase is... for lack of better phrasing cautiously optimistic going forward. I don’t think anyone thinks all of the games left are wins. But at this point, a trip to Dallas in early December seems much more likely now than it did earlier in the season. But I think a New Year’s Six bowl is most people’s thought on what their expectations would be.
BON: Speaking of the defense, the Cowboys over the last four years have steadily increased from No. 9 in the conference in scoring defense to currently sitting at No. 3. What has been the difference for Oklahoma State during the rise?
MA: A man named Mr. Jim Knowles. He to me is a HUGE part of the turnaround that the defense has had. He brought a much-needed change I think. On top of that, the guys that he’s brought in are now seniors. So you have that experience that has contributed to the rise I think.
BON: Conversely, Oklahoma State has been dealing with a steady decline in offensive output — dropping at least one spot in scoring offense every year from No. 3 to currently sitting at No. 9. Is this part of the shift to a more defensive philosophy or is something off with the offense?
MA: My honest answer is that I don’t think Kasey Dunn was the right call at offensive coordinator. He has not proven himself to me and I think makes a lot of questionable decisions. Granted, the offensive line has had injury issues since last year which I think has forced Dunn to change his playbook quite a bit. But I think it should still look better than it has. In addition, you’ve got the roller coaster of Spencer Sanders. I have never seen a player that can have such good moments and also be so bad.
BON: Two years ago, Texas beat Oklahoma State at home, but prior to that, there was an 11-year gap between losses for the Cowboys in Austin. What is the secret to Mike Gundy’s teams playing up at DKR?
MA: I honestly think it’s just somewhere he loves to play. The team knows this is a big game as well. So I think it’s a game they always get hyped for.
BON: What is one storyline you’re watching on Saturday?
MA: How the Oklahoma State defense is able to stop Bijan Robinson.
BON: What’s your prediction for the game?
MA: 35-27 Oklahoma State.