Texas is close to returning to the top of the college football world. However, it will first have to pass a big test against Oklahoma State.
Each of these teams spent the non-conference schedule beating up on inferior opponents, with the exception of the Cowboys' loss to Arizona in Week 2. The schools now begin the Big 12 schedule against each other in what is sure to be an outstanding matchup.
Here is all of the last-minute information you need to make sure you watch this contest between two of the best offenses in the country.
Where: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, OK
When: September 29, 7:50 p.m. ET
Spread: Texas (-2), according to Vegas Insider
While it would seem that a lot of this game depends on the health of starting quarterback Wes Lunt, Oklahoma State has shown it can score points with anyone under center.
Lunt performed well as a replacement for the departed Brandon Weeden, and J.W. Walsh threw four touchdown passes when Lunt was injured.
The team also did a lot of growing up in the loss to Arizona, while Texas has not truly been tested yet this season. Strange things happen in night games, and signs point to the Cowboys pulling the upset over one of the top teams in the country.
Over/Under: 67, according to Vegas Insider
While this line is not as high as the 81.5 of this weekend' matchup between Baylor and West Virginia, 67 is still a lot of points. The good news is that these teams are capable of reaching this mark.
Texas has used a deep rushing attack this season to average 49.3 points per game, the seventh-highest average in the country. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State has gotten contributions from everyone on offense to lead the nation with 62.3 points per game.
However, the Cowboys proved they can also have problems on defense when they allowed 59 points to Rich Rodriguez and Arizona.
Regardless of which team wins, it is obvious that a lot of points will be scored. It is not a guarantee, but the over is a pretty safe bet in this game.
Texas Injuries (via The Daily O'Collegian)
LB Jordan Hicks (Hip) Questionable
K Anthony Fera (Hamstring) Questionable
RB Joe Bergeron (Shoulder) Questionable
Oklahoma State Injuries (via USA Today)
QB Wes Lunt (Knee) Questionable
C Evan Epstein (Leg) Questionable
LB Alex Elkins (Undisclosed) Questionable
WR Torrance Carr (Foot) Questionable
CB Andrae May (Knee) Questionable
Top 25 Implications
Winning its first three games has helped Texas rise to No. 10 in the coaches' poll. Until the Longhorns lose a game, they will likely continue to move up the rankings until they are in the national title picture.
On the other side, Oklahoma State is trying to return to the rankings after reaching as high as No. 18 earlier in the year. An upset win over a Top-10 team is a great way to get noticed and earn votes.
Keys to Texas Win
The reason Texas has been so successful this season has been the efficiency of quarterback David Ash. The sophomore has completed an amazing 76.4 percent of his passes and has thrown no interceptions to go with seven touchdowns.
Ash must continue this type of effort to be successful in the upcoming game. The opposing defense will allow plenty of open space for his targets. There is no reason for him to force anything that could end up being a turnover and put more pressure on the defense.
Conversely, the Longhorns' defense needs to force as many turnovers as possible. Oklahoma State had four turnovers in its only loss of the season. Texas needs to follow this blueprint to success against this tough team.
Keys to Oklahoma State Win
Oklahoma State must rely on junior running back Joseph Randle to carry the team to victory. On a very young team, he is the closest thing to a veteran that the team can count on if things go poorly.
Randle has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the three games this season, including the opening blowout against Savannah State when he only received six carries.
Two different freshmen quarterbacks have the opportunity to start, depending on the health of Wes Lunt. This means head coach Mike Gundy needs to utilize the run game to keep the pressure off the inexperienced passers. Randle must be up to the task and have one of the best games in his short career.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 38, Texas 35
This will be one of the most entertaining games of the day as the lead changes hands too many times to count. In the end, the home team should be able to come out on top.
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