Year after year, the Oklahoma State Cowboys continue to be a formidable opponent in the Big 12. It has been 16 years since Mike Gundy had a losing season at this alma mater, and in the 18 years he has been a coach at OSU, he has compiled a 149-69 record. Last year, his squad played for the Big 12 Championship, the first time Gundy has gotten his team to that game.
At quarterback, the Cowboys will start fourth-year starter Spencer Sanders, who is only 8 wins shy of Mason Rudolph, the current program leader in wins. By the time the Mountaineers play Oklahoma State, Sanders could be looking to cement his legacy as the second best quarterback in school history [Mason Rudolph has a 6,600 yard edge in passing yards and 42 touchdown edge in touchdowns]. Sanders should finish his collegiate career with the most career wins, second most passing yards, passing touchdowns and total yards in school history. He has a chance to be responsible for the most touchdowns in school history.
At running back, Dominic Richardson is setup to be the main back in the Cowboy’ offense. “I don’t worry about his attitude. I don’t worry about his toughness. We just need him to be durable and to give us 18 carries a game”, said head coach Mike Gundy. Richardson has averaged 5 carries per game
Brennan Presley is set to take over as the man at wide receiver after Tay Martin caught 80 passes and 10 touchdowns last year. Presley totaled over 1,100 total yards last year and caught 50 passes for 619 yards and 8 touchdowns last year.
On the offensive line, Josh Sills is gone, but the Cowboys return three linemen and added three experienced transfers from the portal, including USC Trojans lineman Casey Collier.
Defensively, the Cowboys finished the year as the #10 scoring defense in the nation, allowing only 18 points per game. The Cowboys will be ushering in a new defensive coordinator Derek Mason who takes over for Jim Knowles, the latter who left for Ohio State.
Mason will have his work cut out for him as the top four tacklers from the team that finished #1 in sacks are all gone. Still, the Cowboys have the kind of depth that teams dream about, having experienced players ready to take over after talented seniors leave. On the defensive line, Collin Oliver, who led the team with 10.5 sacks last year will be featured, and he will share time with Trace Ford, who returns from a knee inury.
Xavier Benson, who played at Texas Tech before transferring to OSU via JUCO, will lead the fiesty Cowboys linebacking corp and should be in place to be one of the top tacklers in the nation.
The Cowboys did something that is nearly unheard of last year, averaging 4 sacks per game. The last time a team hit the magical 4 per game mark was 2014’s Utah Utes. Even the bonesaw that is the Alabama Crimson Tide defense only averaged 3.8 last year.
Against West Virginia, the Cowboys currently have a 9-4 record against the Mountaineers all time and have won the last 7 games, dating back to the 2014 season. The margin of victory has been growing for the Cowboys, moving from a 4-point margin in 2018 (45-41), to 7 in 2019 (20-13), 14 in 2021 (27-13) and then finally to 21 (24-3). The Mountaineers have never scored more than 13 against the Cowboys in the Neal Brown era.
2021 Full Game and Game Highlights
Prediction that will be right: The Mountaineers will score more than 13 points against the Cowboys.
Prediction that will be wrong: West Virginia will score at least 30 points in this game.