No. 12 Oklahoma State's passing game is just fine, but the defense needs some work as the Cowboys get set to take on FCS opponent Lamar on Saturday in Stillwater.
Sophomore quarterback J.W. Walsh passed for 326 yards and four touchdowns while running for another score in the 56-35 victory over UTSA in Week 2, but the Cowboys also gave up 504 yards of total offense against the Roadrunners.
Lamar got a wake-up call in a 27-14 loss to Louisiana Tech in Week 2 after demolishing Oklahoma Panhandle State in Week 1, 75-0. The Cardinals gave up 439 yards of total offense against the Bulldogs.
Let's take a look at the clash on Saturday in Stillwater.
All statistics courtesy of CFBStats.com.
When: Saturday, Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Where: Boone-Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Okla.
Betting Line (via Covers.com): Oklahoma State -47
Lamar Injuries (via USA Today)
Oklahoma State Injuries (via USA Today)
Out: LB DeMarcus Sherod (Knee), S Larry Stephens (Knee), OT Devin Davis (Knee)
Questionable: WR Austin Hays (Undisclosed)
Probable: No injuries to report
Top Storyline: Can Lamar Stop Oklahoma State's Offense?
There were concerns about whether J.W. Walsh's passing could match up to his running ability this season.
That is, until Walsh scorched UTSA in Week 2, averaging 12.1 yards per pass attempt and setting an Oklahoma State single-game completion percentage record while going 24-of-27.
Lamar had more trouble with the run than the pass against Louisiana Tech, allowing 7.2 yards per carry. Of course, the Cowboys haven't been bad on the ground this season, either, averaging 5.18 yards per carry behind Walsh, senior Jeremy Smith and junior Desmond Roland.
So, even if Lamar contains the Cowboys passing attack, there is still plenty of room for Walsh and Co. to gash the Cardinals on the ground.
One thing's for sure: If Lamar wants any chance of defeating Oklahoma State on Saturday, the Cardinals are going to have to pressure Walsh into some costly mistakes.
Prediction: Oklahoma State 55, Lamar 13
Lamar's 14 points against Louisiana Tech in Week 2 may have been a sign that the 75 points put up against Oklahoma Panhandle State was simply a case of demolishing a team that had no right to even be on the field.
Oklahoma State's defense has been questionable, but the Cowboys are also playing at home this week, and they held SEC opponent Mississippi State to three points in Week 1 in Stillwater.
I expect the Cowboys to tighten up the defense against the Cardinals while exploding yet again on offense behind a raucous home crowd. This is another opportunity for Walsh to take a step forward before facing tougher opponents down the line, and he knows it.
Look for Oklahoma State to roll against the overmatched Cardinals.