The end of the football season is upon us. The Kansas Jayhawks travel to Stillwater, OK to face the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the last game for KU. To help prepare us for this match up, I reached out to our friends over at Cowboys Ride For Free, the SB Nation site devoted to the Cowboys. Colin Price was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.
RCT: Oklahoma State still technically had a shot at the Big 12 championship before their shocking upset at the hands of the Kansas State Wildcats last week. What happened in that game, and is there any chance there is a post-loss hangover this week?
CRFF: Last week, the Cowboys came out flat on both sides of the ball and didn't regain a sense of urgency and poise until they were down 42-13 in the 3rd and at that point it was too little, too late. Flash forward to this week and I'm very worried they could fall flat now that they've been completely eliminated from the Big 12 title game. The flip side to my concerns is that it is senior days for a very important class in OSU Football's history and they'll be very invested for each other. We'll have to get a feel for the mood of the team on the first couple drives.
RCT: Other than QB Mason Rudolph, who are the biggest contributors on this offense?
CRFF: Outside of Rudolph, the big two names to watch out for are Biletnikoff Finalist James Washington and Doak Walker Semifinalist Justice Hill. Washington is a stone's throw from breaking most of OSU's receiving records while Hill is cracking the top ten in rushing records as a true sophomore. Throw in 6'4" grown a** man Marcell Ateman, slot receivers Jalen McCleskey and Dillon Stoner, and CRFF man-crush Tyron Johnson, and the Cowboys' prove to be a very balanced attack.
RCT: The Kansas offense can't seem to get anything going against even the worst Big 12 defenses. Who are the main defensive guys for Oklahoma State that are going to shut down KU?
CRFF: The guys to watch on the Cowboy defense are DE Jordan Brailford, Star LB Calvin Bundage, and S Tre Flowers. Brailford has been a driving force on the D-Line, playing huge roles in both the containing the run and pressuring the QB. Bundage has been having a breakout season and is an absolute missile into the back field. Lastly, Flowers has been a huge part of this defense for 3 years and has become the last line of defense in the run support as well as a long, tall, and hard-hitting in coverage.
RCT: If Kansas were to somehow pull off the upset (or even keep this competitive), what would the game look like?
CRFF: If this game's going to be close, its going to come through another slow start on both sides from OSU. That'll give the Jayhawks some momentum that turns into a shootout until a defense makes a back-breaking stop that swings the momentum. In this scenario, I'd like to think the Cowboys' experience in these types of games would give them the edge but their last two home losses came when they couldn't convert on 4th down with the ball in their hands.
RCT: Prediction Time! Since I don't think anyone is expecting a Kansas win, how long does it take before OSU has this one sealed up? And what is the longest scoring play?
CRFF: I think OSU won't be able to pull away until the middle of the 2nd but won't keep their foot on the throttle and the score is closer than the game felt. Give me the Pokes to the tune of 48-23. Longest scoring play will be (as is tradition) a 60ish yard bomb to Washington.
RCT: BONUS - Megaman or Pac-Man?
CRFF: I'm running with Pac-Man. All day, er'y day.
Again, a big thanks to Colin for helping us out today.