The stakes couldn't be much higher for Oklahoma State and Texas when the two legendary college football programs meet on Saturday.
Oklahoma State comes into the game with a better overall record and a higher spot in the BCS standings, but Texas is undefeated in the Big 12 while the Cowboys lost a game to West Virginia earlier in the season.
As things currently stand, Texas leads the Big 12 standings with a 6-0 record, with Baylor and Oklahoma State coming in second and third place, respectively.
The Cowboys have a date with the Baylor Bears next weekend, but a loss to Texas would all but rule out Oklahoma State for the conference title—especially with Oklahoma looming in the final weekend of the season.
Here's a look at when and where you can catch the action for this game, followed by an examination of the biggest key to the game and a final prediction.
When: Saturday, Nov. 16, at 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: Darrell K Royal–Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas
Betting Lines (via Covers)
- Over/Under: 63.5 points
- Spread: Texas (+3.5)
Oklahoma State Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Austin Hays||WR||Ques Sat - Undisclosed - 11/10/13|
|DeMarcus Sherod||LB||Out for season - Knee - 9/5/13|
|Larry Stephens||S||Out for season - Leg - 9/3/13|
|Devin Davis||OL||Out for season - Knee - 8/27/13|
Texas Injury Report (via USA Today)
|Tevin Jackson||LB||Ques Sat - Knee - 11/11/13|
|Sheroid Evans||CB||Ques Sat - Undisclosed - 11/11/13|
|David Ash||QB||Ques Sat - Head - 11/11/13|
|Josh Cochran||T||Ques Sat - Shoulder - 11/11/13|
|Demarco Cobbs||LB||Ques Sat - Knee - 11/11/13|
|Bryant Jackson||WR||Ques Sat - Ankle - 11/11/13|
|Johnathan Gray||RB||Out for season - Achilles - 11/10/13|
|Chris Whaley||DT||Out for season - Knee - 11/10/13|
Will the Cowboys Run Wild, or Will the Longhorns Shut 'Em Down?
Thanks to Max Olson over at ESPN Stats & Info, we know that Texas has featured a stifling run defense of late:
Texas has not allowed a 100-yard rusher in its past four games and only three Big 12 running backs have surpassed 50 yards on this defense.
In fact, how’s this for a stat: In Big 12 play, starting running backs have averaged 59.8 rushing yards against Texas’ defense.
But Oklahoma State comes into the game with a hot rushing attack, led by junior Desmond Roland, who has scored 10 touchdowns on the ground this year. He recently shredded Iowa State for 219 yards and four touchdowns, and he's scored eight times in his last three games.
The Cowboys operate an extremely balanced offense. Leading up to this game, this team has rushed the ball exactly as many times as it has passed the ball (343).
Texas has a real shot to win this game if it can shut down the running game and turn Oklahoma into a one-dimensional team on offense.
Texas' 1-2 start to the season is nothing but a distant memory.
Six wins in a row will do that for you.
However, Oklahoma State has been scorching hot lately, beating its last three opponents by an average score of 50.7-22.3.
As great as the Longhorns have been against the run this year, you should expect Roland and the Cowboys to run over Texas' vaunted run defense.
The Longhorns haven't faced a top team like the Oklahoma State since beating Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry game, but the Sooners were not sharp at all in that contest.
Oklahoma State will continue to charge up the BCS standings with another resounding victory.
Cowboys win 42-35.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReed78