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Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Oklahoma State Preview

Enrollment: 20,834
Conference: Big 12
Stadium: Boone Pickens Stadium (Capacity: 44,700)
First Year of Football: 1901
All Time Record: 472-492-48 (.490)

Head Coach: Mike Gundy
2nd year as head coach at Oklahoma State: Career record

Team Overview

Last Season: In Mike Gundy’s first year leading the Cowboys, the team sputtered offensively on their way to a 4-7 record.

This Season: OSU opened the season with blowout wins over powerhouses Missouri State, Arkansas State, and Florida Atlantic. The Cowboys have since dropped 3 of 4 and are 1-2 in the Big 12, with their lone win coming on the road against Kansas. Last week the OSU fell to Texas A&M 34-33 on a blocked extra point in OT.

On Offense: After struggling through most of 2005, the Cowboy’s spread offense may be finding its way. Oklahoma State currently ranks 12th in the nation while averaging 421 yards/game and 7th nationally in scoring offense (34.7 ppg). The key to the Cowboy offense is former hotshot quarterback recruit Bobby Reid. Reid struggled with his accuracy a year ago, but seems to have found his touch this season and is completing just under 60% of his passes for 1387 yards and 17 TDs. Reid also leads the Big 12 in yards per completion. Reid left the Texas A&M game a week ago with a after suffering a concussion on an option keeper, but is expected to start against Nebraska.

The Pokes’ running attack is led by sophomore Mike Hamilton. Hamilton, a second team All Big 12 pick a year ago, has great speed and agility, as well as surprising power. Hamilton currently has 498 yards and 4 rushing TDs.

OSU’s most dominating offensive performer is WR Adarious Bowman, who is a Limas Sweed clone at 6-4, 220-pounds. Bowman is putting up extremely impressive numbers in 2006, including 791 yards receiving and 9 touchdowns. The Cowboys also have receiving weapons in D’Juan Woods and TE Brandon Pettigrew. Woods has seen his numbers drop in the wake of Bowman’s emergence, but he is still more than capable of hurting defenses. Pettigrew is still young, but averages 13 yards/reception and has 2 TDs in 2006.

OSU’s offensive line is headed by RT Corey Hilliard. Hilliard, a 6-5, 310-pound senior should be an early round NFL selection after improving his pass blocking technique. The only other senior starter on the O-line is RG Kurt Seifried. Joining the two seniors on the line are sophomore center David Washington, junior LG David Koenig and LT Brady Bond who is a redshirt freshman.

On Defense: OSU’s defense has had a tough time stopping teams this year. The Cowboys currently rank 68th nationally in total defense (341.5 yards/game) and 62nd in scoring defense (22.3 ppg.). The majority of OSU’s struggles can be attributed to growing pains as they are still a very young defense. The front four of the defense is led by DE Victor DeGrate. DeGrate is a former linebacker who has added weight, but kept his quickness. He currently leads the team with 7.5 sacks and 9.5 TFL. On the inside the Pokes rely on Ryan McBean and Larry Brown. The two have combined for 7 TFL and 2 sacks.

The OSU linebacking corps has the potential to be great in a year or two. For now they are athletic, but inexperienced. 255-pound MLB Roderick Johnson is the most experienced of the three. Johnson has the size and speed to be a destructive force in the middle. He is currently 3rd on the team in tackles and also has 2 sacks. The outside LB spots are manned by Chris Collins and Alex Odiari. Collins is a true freshman and might be both the quickest and strongest of the three LB. Odiari was a big-time recruit two years ago. He has 2.5 TFL and has also recovered a fumble in 2006.

OSU’s leading tackler is speedy FS Andre Sexton. At SS, former QB Donovan Woods looks more comfortable after switching to the safety spot halfway through the 2005 season. Woods is starting to get himself in the correct position and has an interception and 2 forced fumbles in 2006. The OSU cornerbacks are Jacob Lacey and Martel Van Zant. Lacey is the speedier of the two, while Van Zant is more physical at 6-2, 205-pounds.

Special Teams: The pressure will again be on Nebraska’s kickoff unit, as Oklahoma State has two dangerous return men. Parrish Cox averages 31.4 yards/return and has taken one back 96 yards for a TD, while Grant Jones averages 39.0 yards/return. OSU’s kicker is Jason Ricks. Ricks is 6/8 on FGs on the year with a long of 53 yards. His only miss on extra point attempts was the block versus A&M. Matt Hodge is the Cowboy punter. He averages 49.2 yards/punt and has placed 6 punts inside the 20.

Random Notes

Series History: This marks the 41st meeting between the two teams. Nebraska leads the all-time series 36-3-1. Interestingly the Huskers dropped the first two games in 1960 and 1961, but did not lose another one to the Cowboys until 2002.

I Can’t Believe I Looked It Up Either: Since 1990, Nebraska is 7-2 following a home loss. During that same time period they are 5-0 following a loss to Texas.

These Are Their Stories…"dun DUN": After the heartbreaking defeat to Texas A&M OT Corey Hilliard had this to say:

“I didn't go out or nothing. I just sat in my room. I didn't watch ESPN or nothin'. Actually I watched Law and Order and then I went to sleep.”
Well, He Was Supafly on That Day: The all-time Oklahoma State record for receiving yards in a game is held by one Curtis Mayfield (no, not that one). Mayfield torched Nebraska for 209 yards receiving in 1989. OSU’s QB in that game was Mike Gundy.

Six Degrees of Beano Cook: In 2005 Oklahoma State beat
Texas Tech. Texas Tech beat…Nebraska