The Oklahoma State Cowboys are taking their air show on the road for the second consecutive weekend. Back in the Top 10 this week, the Cowboys have their first opportunity to have a “statement game” against a Power 5 conference.

OSU has been prolific on offense through the first two games of the season. The Pokes are Top 25 in rushing (247.5 YPG) and Top 20 in passing offense (325 YPG) on the season. Both of those stats become even more impressive when you call into account that quarterback Mason Rudolph has only played in the first half of both of their blowout wins.

Oklahoma State is pretty salty on defense as well, allowing just 15.5 points per game, which makes it no surprise that a look through the college football lines finds the Cowboys as 14-point favorites on the road.

Who To Know On The Pitt Defense

The Panthers (1-1) were routed by #4 Penn State, 33-14, over the weekend and had a who other set of struggles in their 28-21 overtime win over Youngstown State in the season opener. The Pitt defense is surrendering 27 points (ranked 77th nationally) and 365 yards per game.

The Panthers are allowing opposing running backs an average of 5.1 yards per carry to opposing running backs, and have allowed 15 first downs on the ground and two rushing touchdowns. Redshirt junior linebacker Oluwaseun Idowu has recorded a team-high 15 tackles, with three for loss (also a team high). I’m not sure that you’d call him a run-stuffer, but his three tackles for loss (none of the a sack) in two games is impressive.

Pitt has only recorded two sacks on the year (Dwayne Hendrix & Amir Watts), so to say that the pass rush is lacking may be a bit of an understatement. Opposing quarterbacks are completing 55% of their passes for an average of 237.5 yards per game. The Panthers have given up 17 first downs and two touchdowns through the air this season. Bricen Garner and Dane Jackson have each nabbed an interception on the season, while Jackson and redshirt freshman Keyshon Camp are tied for a team-high in pass breakups with two each.

Who To Know On The Pitt Offense

The strength of the Pitt offense is their rushing game where they are grinding out 181.5 yards per game, at a clip of 3.7 yards per carry. The Panthers have scored four rushing touchdowns on the season and have picked up 27 first downs on the ground. Junior Qadree Ollison has a team-high 187 yards and two touchdowns on the ground. He’s averaging 5.1 yards per carry which is second on the team to Quadree Henderson’s 6.5 yards per carry.

Senior quarterback Max Browne has a completion percentage of 64.3% but his average of 139 yards per game, and two interceptions to one touchdown, has brought on some criticism.

Jester Weah and Ollison have been the top receiver targets through two games. They share a team-high seven receptions each with Weah pacing the squad in receiving yards (76) and yards per catch (10.9). Weah also has the team’s lone touchdown reception.

The Challenge

Pitt is going to struggle to keep pace with Oklahoma State’s passing attack. Their counter will be to challenge the Cowboy defense on the ground. OSU was excellent against the run last week at South Alabama but showed some struggles in the opener against Tulsa. Look for the Pokes to play run-first defense and challenge the Panthers to try and beat them on the arm of Max Browne.