Oklahoma State vs West Virginia | Perfect Opportunity To Recapture Confidence

The Oklahoma State Cowboys are hosting the West Virginia Mountaineers at Boone Pickens Stadium in a game that could ultimately define their season. Many writers and analysts believed that the Cowboys would be back in the mix for the Big 12 Championship Game but November hasn’t been kind and Saturday’s Bedlam loss was the fatal blow to that dream. That said, It is easy to see why the “talking heads” believed that about the Pokes when you look at how they played through the first half of the season when they were healthy and performing as a fully functioning unit.

After the blistering 5-0 start to their season, the Cowboys had their confidence rocked and have yet to regain some of that early form. The games they played from October through to mid-November resulted in a poor run in which they have now lost four of their last six games. However, The Cowboys will be looking to build that confidence back on Saturday in the season finale against the West Virginia Mountaineers?

The Cowboys have the upper hand when it comes to historical matchups between these two teams. If you were to place a wager on the outcome of this game you’d probably pick OSU based on the series history alone. That said, online sportsbooks in Oklahoma are not legal, so if you’re not from states where it is legal then you’ll just have to settle with nodding your head in agreement. If you are from a state where it’s legal then please remember to gamble responsibly, and don’t gamble with money you can’t afford to lose.

If the Cowboys are going to get back on track, they will need some of their key players to find that form that made them contenders earlier in the season — most notably, quarterback Spencer Sanders who was named first-team All-Big 12 after finishing strong last season. If he find that same level again, then the Cowboys might be able to push on to greater pastures. 

The key to unlocking his form is to ensure he is finally healthy and then avoids further injuries. He returned from the sidelines to be the hero against Iowa State two weeks ago but his four Bedlam interceptions are a likely indicator that he’s still not 100%. The Cowboys have been unlucky this season on the injury front but they’ve showed fight regardless. Despite Trace Ford, Hunter Woodard, Tyler Lacy and Preston Wilson all having spells on the sidelines, the Cowboys can still be solid, scrappy, and dangerous. After falling into a deep hole in the opening quarter against Oklahoma on Saturday night they never seemed to be fully out of the game until the closing minutes. The fact is that their team depth is impressive compared to many other teams in the league, and they should have better quality across the field than the Mountaineers.  

Despite being considered solid competitors for several years leading up to their joining the conference, the Mountaineers have yet to get their hands on a Big 12 title. They’re certainly not in the hunt this year either and it could be curtains for the Neal Brown era in Morgantown. After a monumental upset over Oklahoma two weeks ago, WVU was manhandled on their home field last Saturday. They have had a tumultuous season no doubt, but with a trip to a bowl game now off the table they will be all in on closing the season strong against OSU on Saturday.

If they are to stand any sort of chance against the Cowboys, they will need to get their defense in order before they begin to think of how to tackle the game itself. Aubrey Burks and Lee Kpogba will have to perform to their maximum potential for the Mountaineers to stand a chance against the Pokes. They will need to be firing on all cylinders at all position and attack with reckless abandon now that there is actually nothing left for them to lose.

The Mountaineers were dealt a crushing blow when running back CJ Donaldson hobbled off the field in their game against TCU but they may have found a solution in freshman Jaylen Anderson who averaged 9.9 yards per carry against Kansas State last week. He’ll literally be running into the teeth of the Cowboy defense on Saturday as the Pokes posses one of the top defensive fronts in the conference. That’s where OSU will look to have it’s strongest advantage as they’ll trust the defense to put the offense it beneficial situations.

West Virginia beat Virginia Tech 33-10 on September 22nd. That’s the only time the Mountaineers have won on the road this season and it marks another advantage for OSU. This is a game where the Cowboys can recapture some confidence and get a little swagger back based solely on the defensive and home field advantages. There shouldn’t be a need to Spencer Sanders to be at the same form he was before getting injured against TCU. If he plays with the same passion, fire, and grit that we saw in Norman on Saturday then it’ll be more than enough to ride high into the bowl season with some confidence.

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