I had the opportunity to ask Gerald Tracy III from the Oklahoma State SB Nation site, Cowboys Ride For Free, a few questions about today's game. He gives some insight as to what makes this OSU squad different from the 2011 team, as well as who to watch on both sides of the ball for the Cowboys.
Let's get to it!
WRNL: Oklahoma State just got done dismantling TCU 49-29. For Iowa State fans who might not have watched that game, what did the Cowboys do so well that led to the large victory over a good TCU team?
Gerald: Oh man. I don't even want to list everything because then none of that will happen tomorrow. But I will say it was amazing. First off, the rush the defensive line provided caused Trevone Boykin to look like he did in 2012. Then, OSU took advantage of No. 18 Nick Orr for TCU. That guy got blown up multiple times for long touchdowns. OSU knows the run game isn't its strong suit, so it allowed defense and a strong passing attack to take apart the Horned Frogs.
WRNL: How does this year's undefeated OSU team compare to the one that ISU upset in 2011?
Gerald: It's good, but not that good. 2011 team was an all-timer. Heck, there are multiple sites that put it up there as a top five team that never won a title. This team doesn't have the star talent, but it does have the ability to do something 2011 didn't, finish undefeated. The fight in this young Cowboy team definitely provides many fans to keep optimism, even if they aren't to win the Big 12 this year.
WRNL: If you're Paul Rhoads and you're game planning for this matchup, what are you going to do to attack the Cowboys?
Gerald: On offense you want to force the Cowboys to run it. They can't do it, it's that simple. It'll force OSU to put in J.W. Walsh more and that is probably the best chance because if you're forcing in Walsh, that means Mason Rudolph isn't working. On defense, well, I have no clue. Warren might be able to break a run or two, but the rush defense is as good as ever and with only one truly good receiver (from what I've been told), the secondary should be able to shut it down. Trick plays have certainly caught OSU off guard a few times, so I'd expect a few of those.
WRNL: Who are the impact players on both sides of the ball for Oklahoma State?
Mason Rudolph - When this guy is on, he's nearly unstoppable. On third down and long, don't get comfortable. He's completed nearly 60 percent of those passes and has more than five touchdowns in those situations as well.
James Washington - Sort of disappeared for a while there, but last few weeks has done enough to be put into the Biletnikoff award watch list. When he gets the ball, he's liable for at least five yards. Past three weeks he has 15 catches, 487 yards and six touchdowns. However, we've seen teams focus on him and forget about the other great receivers on this team.
Raymond Taylor - He started the year as the fourth string, if that tells you anything. The other backs can be good, but he's shown the promise to actually do something with nothing, which happens all too often with this offensive line.
J.W. Walsh - You know him, you hate him. He hasn't been sacked or intercepted at all this year when he's in, so that'll probably change now that I just typed it.
Emmanuel Ogbah - You know who he is, probably. Nine sacks, 13.5 TFL. The guy's a menace.
Chad Whitener - Took over MLB when Ryan Simmons went out with injury and has played perfectly. Two of the four Boykin interceptions were from this guy.
Kevin Peterson - He can hold down just about any receiver in the Big 12 when he's healthy.
WRNL: Let's hear your prediction. Is there any chance the Cyclones can pull off another huge upset in Jack Trice Stadium, or is Oklahoma State simply too good this year?
Gerald: I don't think so. 2011 was such a weird game. Friday night, plane crash, bus troubles partnered with the team itself having plane troubles, no one really was focused on the game. ISU had a good team, but I don't think they were that good to where they should've won the game. I have OSU winning it 45-10 and dropping in the polls three spots because that's what Big 12 teams do when they beat ISU.
WRNL: BONUS QUESTION - On a scale of 1 to 10, how much do you hate the Iowa Hawkeyes right now? (Disclaimer: Answer will heavily influence our decision to keep supporting the #DrinkAlliance...)
Gerald: I have a friend who goes here. He's from Iowa. Huge Hawkeye fan but obviously gives most of his allegiance toward OSU. I won't talk to him. He's blinded by this Big 10 love, acting like Iowa is the best team in the world. The Hawkeyes have a weak schedule and their best win is Northwestern. Northwestern has a bottom 100 offense and is one of like three (might want to fact check) teams with a winning record and an offense that is so poor. The Big Ten bias is real folks and I can't wait till Iowa plays someone with an ounce of talent so they can come back down to earth.
OSU wrestling will also be in Iowa City wrestling on Saturday, so if they can win too, that'd be nice.
Big thanks to Gerald for answering our questions. Be sure to check out the Q&A ClonesJer did with CRFF over on their site. Good luck to the Cowboys today!