Last season when Oklahoma State traveled to College Station, it was a battle of the offenses as neither teams defense could slow their opponent. The Cowboys managed to make just enough stops to win 38-35. Will this season's Thursday night showcase be similar?
Oklahoma State, despite featuring a new quarterback and completely different offensive scheme, has been racking up the points this season, averaging close to 57 points a game.
A&M, however, isn't fair behind, averaging 41 points a game. Their defense has played better the the Cowboys though, holding opponents to 14 points a game opposed to 27 points a game for OSU.
But what the Aggies don't have is a Heisman worthy running back. Senior Kendall Hunter has returned with a bang after missing much of last season with a severe ankle injury and he has driven the Cowboys to a undefeated 3-0 record.
While the Aggies are also 3-0, there is some concern about quarterback Jerrod Johnson who had shoulder surgery in the offseason and has struggled with consistency. That is something the Cowboys haven't had to face.
Junior Brandon Weeden, who stepped into the shoes of Zac Robinson has yet to disappoint after throwing for 11 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions. The Cowboys new aerial attack is something to worry about for any opponent as the receiving core is revamped with plenty of regular and highly talented faces.
Led by Sophomore Justin Blackmon, the Cowboy receivers have flourished in this system so fair this season. Blackmon may have become Weeden's favorite receiver in the red zone (eight touchdowns this season), but he has plenty of other options as well with Josh Cooper, Bo Bowling, Tracy Moore, and Hubert Anyiam, who many believed would be the number one receiver this season returning from injury.
The Cowboys passing game is second in the nation and with so many talented players has become nearly impossible to contain. Also, with Hunter and true freshman Joseph Randle controlling the backfield, the offense seems poised to be as explosive as ever.
It's the defense that needs to step it up. After saving the Cowboys against Troy, the youthful and depth-less secondary will be finally be challenged by a quality opponent. Junior Markelle Martin, sophomore Brodrick Brown, and senior Andrew McGee have been the only consistent players in a secondary that lacks experience.
Once again though, the Cowboys are loaded at linebacker, headlined by seniors Orie Lemon and Justin Gent and junior James Thomas.
The defensive line's first-string has shown they can slow down anyone, with seniors Ugo Chinasa, Shane Jarka, Chris Donaldson, and junior Richetti Jones. However depth is also a issue here as no player has shown consistent play behind this group.
Overall the Cowboys really only need to slow down one aspect of the game as the Aggies boast a similar running game ranked just one spot ahead of them.
For the Cowboys to win this game, the secondary must step up and grow up quickly.