PFB - OSU Football: Previewing the Matchups for Weeks 1 and 2

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OP News

Feb 17, 2018
Football season is just around the corner with next week’s Big 12 Media Days signaling the unofficial start to the gridiron cycle.

We’re going to start previewing each week of the Cowboys’ upcoming schedule by looking at one key (or at least one intriguing) matchup between the two teams.

For our first edition, we’ll combine Weeks 1 and 2 because, frankly, there’s not a ton that’s intriguing about either contest other than the question of who will be taking snaps for the home team.

Missouri State

Last meeting: September 6, 2014 — OSU 40, Missouri State – 23

Last season: The Bears finished 3-8 with a 2-6 record (T8) in the Missouri Valley Conference.

The Cowboys are 7-0 all time against the Bears with the teams meeting most recently in Week 2 of the 2014 season. J.W. Walsh went down for the year with injury and the Cowboy defense gave up 23 points to an FCS offense that averaged (you guessed it) 23 points all year and finished 4-8.

Let’s face it. Opening up against an FCS opponent with two winning seasons in the last 13 years (that’s when it changed its name from Southwest Missouri State), is about as intriguing as reading the end credits of a reality show.

South Alabama

Last meeting: September 8, 2017 — OSU – 44, USA – 7

Last season: The Jaguars went 4-8 with a 3-5, 9th-place finish in the Sun Belt Conference last year.

Oklahoma State steps up into the FBS ranks in Week 2 for the second of a home-and-home with the Jags who will be led by first-year head coach Steve Campbell. But this isn’t his first trip to Stillwater. Mike Gundy hosted Campbell’s Central Arkansas team in Week 2 of the 2015 season. Campbell had four winning seasons at Central Arkansas before making the step up to the FBS ranks himself this past December.

The trip to Mobile in 2017 was the first meeting of these two programs. The Pokes came out with the 44-7 win in what played out like a JV-varsity game in what and looked like varsity stadium. Now (South) Bama heads to BPS for just its seventh Power 5 road game in program history.

Most intriguing matchup

If there is one thing to keep an eye on for the first two weeks of 2018, it might be the matchup of South Alabama’s defense against whoever OSU starts at QB.

The Jags return a lot of experience and some talent but were abysmal at creating pressure up front last season, ranking T9 in the Sun Belt in sacks and 104th in adjusted sack rate nationally and 102nd in overall havoc rate. But the new coaching staff has attempted to make some changes on that front like moving sophomore linebacker Riley Cole to the edge to help create pressure.

But on the back end, South Alabama has some talent. The Jags have two legit cover corners in Darian Mills who was second in his conference with 13 pass breakups last year and Jalen Thompson who sat out with an academic redshirt. The year before Thompson recorded 10 passes defended, six breakups and grabbed four interceptions.

If there is any hope for the Jaguars to keep it close (at least for a couple of quarters), it will likely be because they were able to limit the Cowboys’ new QB and his ability to put the ball in the air.

The post OSU Football: Previewing the Matchups for Weeks 1 and 2 appeared first on Pistols Firing.

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