The Oklahoma State Cowboys solidified themselves as the best team in the conference after downing the Iowa State Cyclones in front of a home crowd. However, that’s just the start of what appears to be the gauntlet run through the Big XII. While the No. 16 Kansas State Wildcats sit on the horizon and the No. 24 Oklahoma Sooners behind them, this group must take a “one game at a time” approach through the gauntlet. Experienced on the defensive side of the ball and talented on the offensive side, the team faces a challenging Texas Longhorns program on the afternoon of Halloween.
It could be the most difficult challenge up to this point of the year because this is a healthy Texas roster — and Tom Herman said FINALLY!!!
Over the course of the year, the Longhorns have not played at 100% strength according to the head coach. Returning a slew of players during the previous outing, the only name the staff continues to monitor is Joseph Ossai. Despite the shoulder injury, the star defender is expected to play a significant role on Halloween afternoon in Stillwater.
In addition, Jake Smith worked his way back onto the field after suffering a hamstring injury at the slot receiver position. Recording a single catch for 14 yards means the sophomore receiver remains game ready. Knowing that depth has been an issue in the slot, Smith provides a much needed boost to the group.
Joining in on the fun, Caden Sterns also contributed for the first time since October 3rd. Sitting out for three consecutive weeks, the defensive back recorded five tackles including a tackle for loss. In a similar situation, Chris Brown suffered an injury during the overtime contest on October 10th. Reinstalling himself into the equation as a fifth year senior, the safety posted three pass breakups and two tackles. Last but certainly not least was Tyler Owens who suffered a lower body injury and had not been seen for three weeks as well. The program certainly welcomed the addition of this trio on the back end of the defense.
Up front, Reese Leitao also suffered a lower body injury and was forced to sideline. While the two-way player has not contributed significantly due to the talent in front of him, Leitao is listed on the two-deep at the jack position on the defensive line. That’s huge considering the team continues to monitor the status of Joseph Ossai. Regardless of the shoulder injury, Tom Herman expects Ossai to play a significant role on Saturday. If that doesn’t pan out, the next up is Leitao.
The only player expected to miss the upcoming weekend is Jordan Whittington, the H receiver due to a hip flexor issue.
Needless to say, this is a healthy team looking to upset the No. 6 team in the country on the road. It could equate to the biggest challenge that OSU has faced up to this point of the year. That in-and-of itself could pose a threat the Oklahoma State’s strangle hold on the Big 12 Regular Season Championship.