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The Big 12 can be a funny conference, especially in November. The Cowboys are the more talented team, but both these squads typically play close games, even though Oklahoma State has won six straight matchups.
But that’s where this ends. Even though the Mountaineers aren’t playing for a title, they’re playing well and that should scare a Cowboys team that doesn’t have a ton of room for error.
We like West Virginia to cover the spread and on the money line.
Garcia’s 2021 record: (17-13)
When thinking about Oklahoma State (and really much of the Big 12) most people think of a high-powered, run-and-gun offense.
Well, that’s not how the Cowboys have operated this year and yet at 7-1 overall and ranked No. 11 in the country, they don’t seem to have missed a beat. Oklahoma State comes off a 55-3 drubbing lowly Kansas, but outside of that the Cowboys have yet to score than 32 points in a game.
Spencer Sanders had nearly identical numbers in 2019 and 2020 (going 155-of-247 passing in both seasons for 62.8 percent passing) but this year he’s down to just 59.6 percent (102-of-171). He has 11 touchdowns and five interceptions with 1,341 passing yards and has added another 298 rushing yards and four touchdowns.
But don’t forget about Jaylen Warren — the shifty 5-foot-8 senior from Salt Lake City who is one of the best running backs in the conference — who has 998 all-purpose yards and six touchdowns and can change the game in a heartbeat.
It’s hard to know what to expect against an inconsistent West Virginia defense. There are times they’ve looked great — like holding Oklahoma to 16, but they did lose that game. Plus, they’ve given up as much as 45 in a loss to Baylor.
That said, coming off of two wins in a row including last week’s over No. 22 Iowa State, don’t sleep on West Virginia.
The year’s been up-and-down for Neal Brown’s team, currently 4-4 overall and 2-3 in what is a rather mediocre Big 12 conference.
Now this isn’t a bad team by any means — they have wins over Virginia Tech when it was ranked No. 15 (though the Hokies have lost four of their last six, so that’s not as impressive as it once was) and No. 22 Iowa State last week. That said, they’ve lost to middling teams like Texas Tech and Maryland, got stomped by Baylor and couldn’t get it done vs. the Sooners.
Yes, it’s another typical West Virginia season. The Mountaineers have lost four or more games in nine of the past 10 seasons. The one time they didn’t, they lost three. It’s the typical “good enough to beat anybody on a given day, but not good enough to win consistently” that we’ve grown accustomed to from West Virginia.
Jarret Doege ranks 28th in passing yards (2,071) nationally but has just 11 touchdowns and seven interceptions to show for it.
That said, the Mountaineers do have a rather deep wide receiver core, with five different players who have more than 250 yards receiving and a touchdown scored this season. We will see if they can score against a Cowboys defense that’s been near the tops of the conference statistically.
Can West Virginia run the ball? The Mountaineers average just 3.7 yards per carry as a team and have packages for their mobile quarterback Garrett Greene, but on the whole this season hadn’t moved the ball well on the ground until the past two weeks.
In the last two games, Ledde Brown has 111 yards and three touchdowns vs. TCU and 109 yards and two touchdowns vs. Iowa State. If this offense can be multi-faceted, West Virginia might be able to pull off this upset.
For the Cowboys, we’re watching the kicking game — something close games on the road often come down to. Alex Hale is just 3-of-6 on field goals this year, with all three misses coming from 40 or farther and all three makes coming from inside of 39.
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|Teams||No. 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys at West Virginia Mountaineers|
|Location||Milan Puskar Stadium, Morgantown, West Virginia|
|Time||Saturday, Nov. 6, 3:30 p.m. EST|
|How to watch||ESPN|
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Tony writes about baseball for WSN.com after recently graduating with his Masters from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University. Prior to that, Tony was a local sports reporter for MLive Media Group, based out of Jackson, Michigan where he covered everything from high school to professional sports. He graduated from Michigan State in 2015 with a degree in journalism. During his time there he covered the Michigan State football and men’s basketball teams from 2013-15 and hosted a sports radio show on WDBM 89FM.More info on Tony Garcia
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