Oklahoma State freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders earned the start from the very first snap of the season, and through three weeks, he’s been fairly successful. Sanders has tallied 622 passing yards and 7 touchdowns at a 67.2% completion rate while throwing just a single interception. On the ground, he has racked up 219 yards, which is third-most in the NCAA among QBs, and a touchdown on just 34 attempts.
While the future looks bright with Sanders at the helm of the Cowboy offense, the young quarterback has yet to be truly tested against a formidable foe. Oregon State, McNeese State, and Tulsa were solid games to get Sanders some experience, but now the real opportunity comes as Oklahoma State is set to take on the Texas Longhorns in Austin on Saturday.
On Monday, Texas head coach Tom Herman announced that the Longhorns would have to play without two of their key defensive players on Saturday as he ruled out sophomore safety B.J. Foster and redshirt freshman defensive back DeMarvion Overshown.
Overshown has only appeared in one game, the season opener for the Longhorns, due to a lingering injury in his vertebrae, but he did record an interception. Anderson, however, has been a key cog to the Longhorn defense, recording 15 tackles and 2 sacks through three games.
Texas has struggled on defense through the first three games. While allowing just 87.3 rushing yards per game, good for 30th in the nation, the Longhorns have given up 330.0 passing yards per game, which ranks them 125th in the nation. The Longhorns gave up 471 passing yards to LSU in Week 2 alone.
B.J. Foster is the 4th-leading tackler for the Longhorns, and his 2 sacks leads the team, but a hamstring injury is forcing him to sit out this weekend. His absence gives Spencer Sanders and Oklahoma State the opportunity for a big day.
Because the Longhorns are so effective at stopping the run, the Cowboys need to do everything they can to establish the ground game early. Once they can do that, the field will open up, and Sanders should take advantage and the sling the ball to whoever is open.
Last week, star receiver Tylan Wallace had a hard time getting open in the first half, and the Cowboys should expect him to be a focus of the Texas defense as well this week. If that remains the case, there is plenty of talent in the Cowboy receiving corp, so Sanders should be able to spread the love.