Oklahoma State Offensive Weapons
Well, my Internet problems didn't get straightened out here in New Orleans like they said they would. What a pain..... I'll have to find another place tomorrow. 'Til then, maybe it's boiled shrimp and a few beers.
We're going into Stillwater, Oklahoma to play one of the nation's best offenses. The Cowboys are averaging just over 420 yards a game, second best in the Big 12, 12th in the nation in total offense. Forget for a moment that they're the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and that they can't finish a game because those things can change. Oklahoma State will score some points - they have a much better offense than either Kansas State or Iowa State, Nebraska's two Big 12 road wins.
Last week, starting quarterback Bobby Reid left the game with a concussion. Every indication is that he wll be the starter against Nebraska. Reid is comparable to Bret Meyer of Iowa State - a mobile quarterback who also possesses good skills in throwing the football. He is experienced - a second year starter - and he leads the Big 12 in passing efficiency. Unlike Meyer, he will be running the option, so the Blackshirts will need to contain Reid, not letting him get going with the option, not allowing him to scramble or make big plays.
In rushing, Oklahoma State plays a committee-type system comparable to Nebraska's. Mike Hamilton, is a Sophomore starter, follwed by Freshma Keith Toston, and Junior Dantrell Savage. The three have a combined average of 6.3 yards per carry. They gained 6.1 yards per carry against Texas A&M last week - a defense that had previously held opponents to a 3.8 ypc average.
Adarius Bowman, a junior receiver transfer from North Carolina, leads the Big 12 and is number two in the nation with a 113 yard per game receiving average. Like Nebraska's receivers, Bowman lit up Kansas's secondary like a light bulb. He had 13 receptions for 300 yards and four touchdowns, setting a Big 12 single game yardage record.
D'Juan Woods, a senior receiver for the Cowboys has gone relatively unnoticed this season because of the success of Bowman. Woods was a second-team all Big 12 selection in 2004, and 2005, and has cuaght a pass in 28 consecutive games. He is second on team in receptions. Given his age and experience, if Reid is given enough time, Woods is capable of easily beating our defensive backfield.
The Cowboys have one of the best return guys in the country in Perrish Cox. He leads the Big 12 in kickoff returns, is sixth nationally at over 31 yards per attempt. If that isn't enough, Cox is second in the Big 12 in punt returns and 11th nationally with nearly 14 yards per attempt.
Remember that opening play against Texas - the big kick return that ultimately won the game for the Longhorns? That kick return was the biggest play against the Huskers this year. Will we have our kick coverage problem corrected by the time we show up in Stillwater?
Clearly the Cowboys have enough offense to win the game, again it is not the "gimme" that Husker fans are hoping for. The Blackshirts will need to shut down the big plays, and keep pressure up the field and to the outside. They will see a lot of different formations, and they'll see some option - so maybe that Nicholls State game wasn't such a waste of time afterall.
The key to this game will be Nebraska's offense gainst the Oklahoma State defense. More on that in a bit....