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2013 Bedlam Football | Cowboys Present Double Threat

Oklahoma State is putting up impressive numbers on both sides of the ball in 2013

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
"They’re running it probably more with him (Clint Chelf) than they have in the past, but I think we have to limit his plays out of the pocket. We don’t see him moving all around the pocket trying to get rid of the football. I think he’s a pocket thrower that they keep you off-balance with his ability to run. We saw that a year ago with their second series of quarterback draw hurt us early in the game a year ago, so that’s something you have to be prepared for from a defensive, you know, we have to account for him in certain situations." -Oklahoma Defensive Coordinator Mike Stoops

Regardless of how you feel about the series record or the recent surge of the OSU football program (for the record OSU would have to win consecutively for the next 30 years to remove the "little brother" tag) there's no denying that the Cowboys present issues to the Sooners on both sides of the ball.

A quick striking offense has been the staple of Mike Gundy's tenure in Stillwater and 2013 has been no exception. Oklahoma State is second in the Big Twelve and eleventh in the nation in scoring offense with an average of 41.2 points per game.

The strength of the Cowboys offense has been senior Clint Chelf and the passing attack. Inserted as the starter after OSU got off to a slow start in conference play, Chelf has completed 55.25% of his passes as Oklahoma State's starting quarterback and has 1,592 yards with 14 touchdowns on the season. The extra dimension to Chelf is what he's able to do with his legs. A deceptive runner, Chelf is averaging 6.4 yards per carry, when he tucks and runs, and has six rushing touchdowns this season, including a 67 yard score against Texas Tech.

Tracy Moore and Josh Stewart have been the top two receivers for the Pokes this season. Stewart leads the team in receptions with 45 and has 555 yards to show for it. Moore leads the team in receiving touchdowns with 6 and is averaging 14.2 yards per reception. Neither receiver is what you would call a "big body" type guy (Moore is 6-2/215 and Stewart is 5-10/185) but they both have a knack for getting the ball in space and then making something happen.

The Cowboy offense wouldn't be complete without an effective rushing attack and that's where junior Desmond Roland comes in. A lite bloomer on the season, much like Chelf, Roland saw his carries increase as conference play rolled on. He's crossed the goal line ten times this season and is chewing up 4.3 yards per carry. He leads the team in all rushing categories and had a career game against Iowa State when he ran for 219 and four touchdowns on 26 carries.

OSU is 69th nationally in rushing, with 169.5 yards per game, but you can't take that state at face value. They have improved greatly on the ground throughout the conference season and are every bit capable of making you pay for the mistake of playing soft to defend the pass. Oklahoma's linebackers are going to have to be the key on Saturday morning as they'll draw coverage on backs and must also seal up lanes to keep Chelf from exploiting them on the ground as well.

With the ability to score points in bunches, the Cowboys have also been aided greatly by having a defense that can hold opponents at bay. OSU has the top scoring defense in the Big Twelve and ranks twelfth nationally at 18.8 points per game. It all starts with stopping the run and the Cowboys have excelled at that in 2013 which could lead to big problems for the Sooners. The Pokes allow the fewest rushing yards per game in the Big Twelve (130 YPG) and have only allowed 8 rushing touchdowns all season long. The Sooners are bringing the nation's fifteenth ranked rushing attack to Stillwater (242.3 YPG) and if they can't win the battle on the ground then it could turn into an ugly afternoon.

The Sooners must use a solid rushing attack to set up a successful passing game. The Cowboys may be next to last in the Big Twelve in passing yards allowed per game (250.4) but are tied with TCU for the conference lead in interceptions at 19. Whether its Brennan Clay, Trevor Knight or preferably a combination of both, the Sooners have to use a combination of misdirection and power running to keep the OSU defense on its heels.

Playing in Stillwater has been a challenge for Bob Stoops during his tenure at Oklahoma. His biggest margin of victory came in 2008 when Sam Bradford led the Sooners to a 61-41 win but even that game was dicey for the majority of it. Of course no one wants to rehash what happened the last time the Sooners played in Stillwater either, and the fact that this could very well be the most rounded OSU team that Stoops has faced doesn't necessarily produce warm feelings either. The Cowboys have big play potential on both sides of the ball which will pose multiple threats to the Sooners which doesn't bode well for a team that has struggled to find an offensive identity in 2013.