Oklahoma State is coming off what could be considered one of their most embarrassing losses in some years under Coach Gundy, losing to Arizona 59-38. Yes, the same Arizona team with many of the same athletes that the Cajuns lost to last season 47-35 after several questionable calls in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys turned the ball over four times in the game and committed a number of crucial penalties as well, the mark of a young team playing on the road for the first time. But don’t expect a repeat performance this week from this team, they are talented and have a tremendous amount of pride in what they have accomplished under Coach Gundy’s tenure as head coach.
The Cajuns played conference rival Troy last week, defeating the Trojans 37-24 in game that the defense gave up over 500-yards in offense. But stats can be deceiving as the UL defense played in a 3-4 base defense most of the night, playing a two-deep zone in the secondary that allowed the Troy to dump the ball underneath all night along. The most glaring stat in the win was the fact that the Cajun defense allowed the Trojans’ only 3 plays of 20-yards or more the entire game. What UL has managed to accomplish in its first two games is physically beat their opponents up on both lines, while showing very little on offense and defense, something Cajun fans are not accustomed to seeing. Bottom-line, the Cajuns are (2-0) on the season while showing very little beyond their basic packages on offense and defense. This is important for reasons I will discuss later in the Oklahoma State scouting report.
Oklahoma State Offense
You can take the stats and video from the Savannah State game and throw them out the window. Freshman QB Wes Lunt and most of the offensive starters barely played into the second quarter against what could arguably be called the worst FCS program in the country with only 35 scholarship athletes on the squad. He and the rest of Cowboy offense looked like they were playing recreational flag-football against the local middle school in Stillwater.
Most Cajun fans probably think the Cowboys will sling the ball around like they did last season with Weeden at QB, but Coach Gundy loves to run the football. With pro-prospect Joseph Randle and a very talented Jeremy Smith in the backfield, look for OSU to run the Zone Stretch and Zone Read Slant. The Cowboys will have Lundy in the gun, allowing him to read the defense and motion across the formation a lot. Depending upon how many defenders Lundy will see in the box, he will audible at times and hit his WR on a bubble screen or quick hit with man coverage from the cornerback. This leads me back to what I mentioned several paragraphs earlier when I stated the Cajuns have showed very little on defense this season, which will change Saturday. Lundy has played on six quarters of football this season, four against FBS talent. No matter how talented he is, he is still a freshman that has very little game experience at the FBS level. The Cajuns will show the freshman multiple fronts and coverage’s, and come after him from different angles hoping to rush the young QB and force him into making a few mistakes.
As usual, the Cowboys have size and speed in the receiving core. The Cajuns have seen Tracy Moore, Isaiah Anderson and Josh Stewart last season, as well as TE Justin Horton. So there will be no surprises in beyond the freshmen they have not seen. Moore is another pro-prospect and has great size and quickness that will create matchup problems for the Cajuns secondary. But both Moten and White played against him last season and know what to expect from him. Moten had a pick six in the game against OSU last season.
The Oklahoma State offense line is tall and long, and they do return a number of athletes that played in the last year’s rotation, but no starters. With the exception of a few penalties, they performed well at times against Arizona. Unfortunately for the Cajuns, one of the better DT’s in the south Justin Hamilton will be suspended for the game. But unlike last year, the Cajuns have more size on the defensive-line and will be asked to help stop the run first.
LT-71 Parker Graham (6-7; 315; Jr; Webb City, MO)
69 Devin Davis (6-5; 290; RFr; Nacogdoches, TX)
LG-70 Jonathan Rush (6-4; 305; Sr; Killeen, TX)
51 Brandon Webb (6-3; 326; Jr; Owasso, OK)
C-60 Evan Epstein (6-3; 295; Sr; McKinney, TX) -or-
54 Jake Jenkins (6-3; 290; So; Gilmer, TX)
66 Travis Cross (6-4; 280; RFr; Plano, TX)
RG-68 Lane Taylor (6-3; 328; Sr; Arlington, TX)
76 Eli Dickerson (6-6; 310; So; The Woodlands, TX)
RT-58 Daniel Koenig (6-6; 310; So; Cape Coral, FL)
75 Chris Grisbhy (6-5; 315; So; Clute, TX)
TE-14 Justin Horton (6-3; 254; Sr; Henderson, TX)
44 Jeremy Seaton (6-2; 247; RFr; Cashion, OK)
WR-82 Isaiah Anderson (5-10; 175; Sr; Wichita Falls, TX) -or-
17 Charlie Moore (6-2; 202; Jr; Bullard, TX)
84 Austin Hays (6-2; 170; Fr; San Antonio, TX)
IR-5 Josh Stewart (5-10; 178; So; Denton, TX)
15 John Goodlett (5-10; 185; Jr; Tulsa, OK)
6 David Glidden (5-7; 171; RFr; Mustang, OK)
IR-18 Blake Jackson (6-3; 235; Jr; Gilbert, AZ)
85 Blake Webb (5-11; 190; Fr; The Woodlands, TX)
WR-87 Tracy Moore (6-2; 215; Sr; Tulsa, OK)
8 C.J. Curry (6-2; 185; Fr; Flowery Branch, GA)
FB-9 Kye Staley (5-10; 236; Sr; Guthrie, OK)
44 Jeremy Seaton (6-2; 247; RFr; Cashion, OK)
RB-1 Joseph Randle (6-1; 200; Jr; Wichita, KS)
31 Jeremy Smith (5-10; 208; Jr; Tulsa, OK)
26 Desmond Roland (6-2; 203; So; Dallas, TX)
QB-11 Wes Lunt (6-4; 211; Fr; Rochester, IL)
4 J.W. Walsh (6-2; 205; RFr; Denton, TX)
10 Clint Chelf (6-1; 205; Jr; Enid, OK)
Oklahoma State Defense
Oklahoma State defense was supposed to be the strength of the team with a number of starters returning from last season’s squad. The defense stayed on the football for a long time because of the turnovers and Arizona scoring a lot of points so I wouldn’t take much from that game other then they look to improve upon that performance against the Cajuns.
Up front, DT Calvin Barnett is a pro –prospect and the most talented lineman in the rotation. Watching the video, he is extremely strong and can push the pocket from the middle. He also has some quick’s when he disengages an offensive lineman. The Cajuns offensive line cannot allow him to dominate the middle and shut down the running game. He will make some plays regardless, but the offensive-line needs to put a helmet on the guy as much as possible.
The Cowboy’s line-backing core is a solid group with junior Shaun Lewis being the most talented of the bunch. Lewis started against UL in Lafayette as a true freshman in 2010 and his very quick to the ball, and is very instinctive. Caleb Lavey and Alex Elkins are solid and have a lot of playing experience over the past few seasons.
The secondary is pretty talented, if not deep at the corner back position. Broderick Brown and Justin Gilbert is as talented a tandem as you will find in the Big 12, but the depth behind them is inexperienced and young. The Cajun staff will keep a close eye on the substitution in the OSU secondary. Daytawaion Lowe and Shamiel Gary man the safety positions; both looked solid against Arizona.
DE-80 Cooper Bassett (6-5; 270; Sr; Tuttle, OK) -or-
89 Nigel Nicholas (6-3; 269; Sr; Rossville, GA)
DT-91 James Castleman (6-2; 296; So; Amarillo, TX)
94 Anthony Rogers (6-3; 293; Jr; N. Little Rock, AR)
72 Christian Littlehead (6-2; 305; So; Broken Arrow, OK)
DT-99 Calvin Barnett (6-2; 299; Jr; Tulsa, OK)
98 Davidell Collins (6-5; 267; Jr; Bearden, AR)
DE-96 Ryan Robinson (6-4; 250; Sr; Buford, GA)
40 Tyler Johnson (6-1; 240; Jr; Haskell, OK)
SLB-11 Shaun Lewis (5-11; 225; Jr; Missouri City, TX)
29 Joe Mitchell (6-3; 225; Jr; Katy, TX)
MLB-45 Caleb Lavey (6-3; 240; Jr; Celina, TX)
52 Ryan Simmons (6-0; 238; RFr; Cibolo, TX)
32 Kris Catlin (6-1; 225; RFr.; San Antonio, TX)
WLB-37 Alex Elkins (6-3; 230; Sr; Archdale, NC)
42 Demarcus Sherod (6-0; 220; RFr; Decatur, GA)
41 Nico Ornelas (6-1; 215; So; N. Richmond Hills, TX)
CB-19 Brodrick Brown (5-8; 185; Sr; Houston, TX)
1 Kevin Peterson (5-11; 170; Fr; Wagoner, OK)
SS-7 Shamiel Gary (6-0; 210; Jr; Tulsa, OK) -or-
2 Lavocheya Cooper (6-0; 195; Jr; Arp, TX)
3 Isaac Maselera (5-11; 183; So; Glenpool, OK)
SS-8 Daytawion Lowe (5-11; 205; Jr; Midwest City, OK)
23 Zack Craig (6-1; 200; Jr; Spring Branch, TX)
20 Larry Stephens (5-10; 182; Jr; Houston, TX)
CB-4 Justin Gilbert (6-0; 194; Jr; Huntsville, TX)
6 Ashton Lampkin (5-11; 175; Fr; Arlington, TX)
24 Miketavius Jones (5-10; 170; RFr; Houston, TX)
P/K Quinn Sharp is a huge weapon for the Cowboys and one of the best in NCAA football. Sharp has a very strong leg and has kicked 17 of 18 kickoffs out of the endzone and out the field of play.
He is also a very good punter and the Cajun’s staff doesn’t expect anything out of the return game because of the effectiveness of Sharp.
Keys for the Cajuns to win
No one expects UL to go up to Stillwater and pull out a victory. The Cajuns will not catch the Cowboys napping after a big win, but focused after an embarrassing lost. Whatever happens early in the game, UL must maintain their composure on the football field and counter punch. But, a win is certainly not impossible if the Cajuns play well and get a few breaks. You don’t think so, just ask Arkansas.
The Cajuns must make a few plays on special teams. With Sharp’s leg, don’t expect much in the Cajun’s return game, but special teams must find a way to make a few plays to help the team on both sides of the football.
Stop the run. If the Cajuns allow the OSU running game to get cranked up, it will be a long night for the defense. The stop defense must do a good jump of filling the gaps and not allow the Cowboy line to create running lines.
Limit the big play. The UL defense must limit the number of big plays by the Cowboy offense. OSU will make some big plays on offense, but UL must limit the number of big plays on critical downs.
Win the turnover battle. If the Cajuns are on the plus side of turnovers going into the fourth quarter then they have a shot to keep the game within reach. Remember, UL lead OSU 21-17 at halftime in Lafayette in 2010 before letting the game get away from them in the second half.
The Cajuns must be able to run the ball enough to make the OSU respect their offense and move the chains. If the Cajuns are less than 45% on third down conversions, this game could get out of hand. Look for the Cajun QB’s to keep the ball at times on the zone read, especially if the Cowboys DE’s are coming up the field.