It feels like it’s been longer than 2 weeks, but the Oklahoma State Cowboys are finally ready to play another football game as they host the Iowa State Cyclones in Stillwater on Saturday. The Cowboys and the Cyclones are currently considered the top two teams in the Big 12 Conference, and this matchup should be a fun one to watch.
As of Thursday afternoon, Oklahoma State sits as a 3.5-point favorite over Iowa State, which is no surprise considering the recent history between the two teams. The Cowboys have owned the series for a while, winning 9 of the last 11 outings, but the last 4 have been decided by no more than a touchdown.
This year should be another close one between the Big 12 foes, and the Cyclones have a lot of reason to believe that they can pull off the upset on the road. Here are a few Cyclones that Cowboy fans should know before kickoff on Saturday.
Breece Hall, RB
If you haven’t heard of sophomore running back Breece Hall by now, you should get used to hearing his name. Hall is leading the Big 12 in rushing right now with 531 yards in just 4 games, and he touts a 5.7 yards per rush average to go with his 8 touchdowns, another area where he leads the conference. He ranks 4th nationally in rushing yards, and he’s tied for second in the NCAA with his 8 rushing touchdowns.
Hall has rushed for at least 100 yards in each of his 4 games so far this season, and he’s put up at least 135 in each of the Cyclones’ 3 wins. The Cowboys currently have the second-best rushing defense in the conference, allowing just 93.7 rushing yards per game, which is 10th in the NCAA. On top of that, they have given up just a single rushing touchdown, which is the best mark in the Big 12.
Containing Breece Hall will be a good test for the Cowboy defense, but if Oklahoma State can stop Iowa State’s ground game, they will be in a really good position to win the game.
Brock Purdy, QB
Junior quarterback Brock Purdy is pretty well-known throughout the Big 12, especially in Stillwater, Oklahoma. He has had some big games over the last few seasons, particularly his debut as a freshman. If you don’t remember, Purdy came off the bench to lead the Cyclones to a 48-42 upset over the Cowboys.
Last year’s matchup went a little differently, however, as Purdy threw 3 interceptions in the final 7 minutes of the game, giving Oklahoma State the 37-24 win.
A solid passer, Purdy is also a mobile threat, which makes him all the more dangerous. So far this season, Purdy has only thrown 4 touchdown passes, and his 62.4% completion rate is the lowest of his career, but he’s capable of extending plays with his feet, and he’s only been sacked 4 times this season.
The Cowboy defensive front is going to have their hands full between Purdy and Breece Hall, so it’s going to be important to get pressure into the backfield.
JaQuan Bailey, DE
Iowa State is another team with a solid rushing defense, and senior defensive end JaQuan Bailey is a big reason. Through 4 games this season, Bailey has recorded just 19 total tackles, but he has 6 tackles for loss (2nd in the Big 12), including 3.5 sacks (3rd in the Big 12). He has also forced and recovered a fumble.
The Cowboys have relied heavily on their ground game to get the offense going in the last few games, and just how much quarterback Spencer Sanders is going to play for Oklahoma State has yet to be determined. The Cowboy offensive line needs to be on their best behavior and have an eye on Bailey at all times lest he disrupt the Oklahoma State backfield.