Oklahoma State Football: 5 Cowboys Who Must Step Up Against Purdue

Ricky FrechCorrespondent IDecember 24, 2012

Oklahoma State Football: 5 Cowboys Who Must Step Up Against Purdue

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    The Oklahoma State Cowboys probably had higher expectations for their bowl season than the Heart of Dallas game against the Purdue Boilermakers.

    Unfortunately, Oklahoma State lost a few big games late in the season and fell down the bowl rankings.

    That said, the team still has to play its best game to try to show fans and the media that it will be a force to be reckoned with in 2013.

    Quite a few guys need to step up under the bright lights and make big plays.

    Read on to find out which players will leave a lasting impact on this game.

Mike Gundy

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    Gundy makes this list largely due to the departure of offensive coordinator Todd Monken.

    True, Gundy's called plays in the past, and he's done an admirable job at it.

    However, it could be difficult for him to call plays and make sure his entire team is up for a lesser bowl game.

    The challenge of getting his team excited to play is probably his biggest, and it could lead to a few lapses in play-calling throughout the game if he isn't completely focused.

Justin Gilbert

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    Justin Gilbert had a solid 2011 performance and began 2012 in style against Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl.

    Gilbert picked off Stanford's Andrew Luck and returned four kickoffs for an average of 34 yards per carry.

    However, the remainder of his 2012 hasn't been nearly as electrifying.

    Gilbert has yet to record an interception and has given up far too many big plays on defense.

    To be fair, he has averaged 26.4 yards per kick return, but his defensive play has been severely lacking.

    Look for Gilbert to make an impact on this game, especially in special teams.

    It seems like he saves his best for the biggest moments. While the Heart of Dallas bowl isn't that prestigious, I think Gilbert starts out 2013 with a bang.

Josh Stewart

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    There aren't many better slot receivers in the nation better than Josh Stewart. All the man does is catch the football.

    Stewart's provided every quarterback who's lined up under center with the ultimate safety blanket, because he always gets open and he always makes the play.

    He'll look to be on his "A" game again on New Year's Day, helping quarterback Clint Chelf to orchestrate an offense missing its offensive coordinator. 

Shaun Lewis

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    Shaun Lewis is the heart, soul and mind of the Cowboys' defensive unit.

    His stellar play can be seen all across the field as he makes plays from sideline to sideline.

    Not only does he always make the smart play, but more often than not, he makes the big play as well.

    Lewis has 7.5 tackles for loss, which ties him as the team leader and adds four pass breakups, showing off his ability to do just about everything.

    Lewis will have a great chance to show the world that he is the Cowboys' best defensive player and become a real household name heading into 2013.

Joseph Randle

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    No other player on the Cowboys' team is as important to its success as Joseph Randle.

    Randle is the team's best player, and Oklahoma State isn't going to win very many games without feeding him the ball throughout.

    Outside of a poor effort against Kansas State, Randle's stepped up in every big game of the season with a huge effort.

    Look for him to do more of the same in this game as he helps the Pokes cruise to a victory.