Oklahoma State Football: 5 Keys to the Game vs. Oklahoma
The Oklahoma State Cowboys meet the Oklahoma Sooners this Saturday for the 2012 version of the Bedlam series.
This rivalry has historically been very one-sided, but recently the Cowboys have become a much better program as of late.
Saturday's contest should be no different and could mean a lot to both teams as they set themselves up for the bowl season.
An Oklahoma State win certainly won't be easy, but there are a few things that can help them pull out a "W" in Norman.
As reported by the ESPN blog Soonernation, the Oklahoma Sooners boast one of the best secondaries in the nation.
Across the board, this unit looks to be the strong point of the defense after being somewhat a question mark entering the season.
Now, they don't get a ton of interceptions, but they do have some real skill. That means that Oklahoma State quarterback Clint Chelf needs to make smart plays all game long.
After all, if there's one thing the Cowboys can't do, it's beat themselves.
Fluster Landry Jones
In my opinion, Landry Jones has all the physical talent in the world; it's the mental game that he seems to lack.
Throughout his career, he's played poorly when defenses are able to get to him early and often.
Just look to the Kansas State game as evidence for this.
Oklahoma State proved last week against Texas Tech that they can get after the quarterback; we'll just have to see if they can do so on the road.
Find the Safety Blanket
As I said earlier, the Cowboys must limit turnovers to have a shot in this game, and the best way to do that is by finding your safety blanket; the guy a quarterback can go to in a time of the greatest need.
Enter Josh Stewart.
Stewart wasn't his effective self against Texas Tech, but, throughout the season, he has shown the skills necessary to dominate opponents with his yards-after-the-catch ability.
Look for Stewart to get involved early and often, as he should be a big part of coach Mike Gundy's game plan.
Force Some Turnovers
Oklahoma State hasn't been the turnover-forcing machine on defense that they were in 2011, and that's part of the reason they have three losses.
Now, Landry Jones is going to get his yards, but if the Cowboys can somehow force him into making a bad throw or three, they'll find themselves in a very favorable position.
It's simple football, both of these teams have good offenses and are going to score.
That means that whichever team wins the turnover battle will get more chances to put points on the board.
More chances to score equals more points, which leads to a win.
It's basic math.
Dominate Special Teams
Anyone who reads my articles regularly knows that I have a humongous man-crush on Oklahoma State kicker/punter extraordinaire Quinn Sharp and think that he deserves to win every special teams accolade.
That said, he hasn't been the only bright spot for the Pokes' special teams recently.
Last week, Zack Craig blocked two punts, scoring a touchdown on one. The week before that, Justin Gilbert took a West Virginia kickoff back 91-yards to the house. The week before that, Desmond Roland did the same against Kansas State.
As you can see, the Cowboys have been enjoying very good special teams play lately.
If they can continue to generate big plays in the kicking and return game, they could take the wind out of OU's sails and quickly turn this game into a blowout.