The Oklahoma State Cowboys host the Central Michigan Chippewas at 11 AM on Saturday at Boone-Pickens Stadium. After trailing 10-13 against the Chippewas in their meeting in September of last year, the Cowboys came back and held on to win 24-13.
Central Michigan started off the 2016 football season with a solid 49-3 win against FCS foe Presbyterian. The Chippewas put together a solid all-around outing, racking up 492 yards offensively while holding Presbyterian to only 126 yards on offense.
Last year, Central Michigan Junior Quarterback Cooper Rush picked the Oklahoma State defense apart, completing 28 of 41 passes for 225 yards, rushing for another 51 yards, and scoring the Chippewas’ lone touchdown. Mike Gundy has labeled Rush as “a potential NFL player,” and as a senior, Cooper looks to lead with confidence and experience on his side.
In last week’s game against Presbyterian, the real offensive stars were seen in the backfield. Junior running Devon Spalding rushed for 135 yards on 15 carries for one touchdown, Freshman Jonathan Ward rushed for 79 yards on 7 carries for one touchdown, and Senior Jahray hayes rushed for only 43 yards on 9 carries, but he recorded three touchdowns.
Overall, Central Michigan’s offense could look to be Oklahoma State’s first real test on defense this season.
Last year, the Central Michigan ranked 29th nationally, surrendering 355.5 yards a game. The Chippewas ranked 73rd nationally at pass defense allowing 232.5 yard a game and 21st nationally at rush defense allowing 122.9 yards a game. They had no trouble stopping Presbyterian’s offense, but it will likely be a different story this week.
Oklahoma State is favored by three touchdowns over Central Michigan, and unless Oklahoma State plays as sloppy as they did last year, a big win is definitely in the realm of possibility. Mike Yurcich will likely try to repeat last year’s offensive strategy by getting the ball into a number of different hands, especially at running back. Mason Rudolph should not have any issue picking the Chippewa secondary apart, either.
Defensively, the Cowboys will focus their energy on senior Quarterback Cooper Rush. If pressure is put on Rush, that will make containing the Chippewa rush attack that much easier. It would come as no surprise if the Cowboys force multiple turnovers, maybe even putting up some points of their own.