OSU vs. Central Arkansas: One player, one problem, one preposterous prediction, one pick

OSU vs. Central Arkansas: One player, one problem, one preposterous prediction, one pick

If any Oklahoma State Cowboy deserves a steady season, it’s Brennan Presley.

Guerin Emig

By Guerin Emig

| Aug 31, 2023, 5:32pm CDT

Guerin Emig

By Guerin Emig

Aug 31, 2023, 5:32pm CDT

There are as many ways to preview Oklahoma State’s season opener against Central Arkansas as there are names on the Cowboys’ depth chart. My idea…

One player, one problem, one preposterous prediction and one pick for OSU-UCA:

One player: Brennan Presley

Brennan Presley showed what he’s capable of with this leaping touchdown catch at Iowa State in 2021. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Register / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Presley’s welcome-to-the-spotlight Cheez-It Bowl against Miami feels a lot longer than three years ago. The Bixby alum has been through so much since then, a mix of circus catches, game-changing kick returns, near-misses and controversy, whether over his usage in OSU’s offense to his younger brother’s place in OSU’s program.

If anyone deserves a steady senior season, it’s Presley.

Whether that happens is somewhat outside his control. He needs either Alan Bowman or Garret Rangel to seize the starting quarterback job. He needs OSU’s running game to brighten and balance the Cowboys’ offense. He needs coordinator Kasey Dunn to do better working around any offensive deficiencies.

What Presley can directly affect is what happens when he has the ball. He’ll still make “wow” plays like that leaping catch at Iowa State and kickoff return in Bedlam in 2021. Now’s the time to impact games more down to down, to complement his electrifying moments with stabilizing ones.
OSU will be better for both.

One problem: Central Arkansas

It’s a troubling sign when you Google a team’s preseason conference poll, just to get a sense of what they’re about, and you discover that you’ve never even heard of the team’s conference.
For the record, UCA is picked second in the United Athletic Conference behind Eastern Kentucky. I’d feel better about a second-place opponent giving OSU a competitive game… if I knew there was such a thing as the United Athletic Conference (apparently a combination of former Sun Belt and Atlantic Sun programs).

More telling is that the last time UCA played a Power 5 team, the Bears were blown out at Ole Miss 59-3 last Sept. 10. The last time UCA played a Big 12 team, the Bears were blown out at Kansas State 55-19 in 2017.

Mike Gundy will get his wish to play practically his entire roster Saturday night. Whether he learns much about that roster is debatable.

One preposterous prediction: A 3-headed monster at RB1

The stat line from OSU running backs Dominic Richardson, Jaden Nixon and Ollie Gordon in last year’s opener against Central Michigan: 16 carries, 66 yards, one touchdown. A pedestrian start to what would become a subpar season for the Cowboys’ rushing attack.

One year later it’s Nixon, Gordon and Michigan State transfer Elijah Collins at running back. How’s this for a stat line against Central Arkansas: 36 carries, 266 yards and five touchdowns.
Richardson, Nixon and Gordon had dual-threat Spencer Sanders to bail out the ground game a year ago. Collins, Nixon and Gordon don’t have that help in the pocket-bound Bowman.
They won’t need any help against UCA.

One pick: OSU 57, UCA 7

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Guerin Emig is a columnist for the Sellout Crowd network. Read his work at selloutcrowd.com and guerinemig.com. Reach out with feedback and/or ideas at [email protected] or (918) 629-6229. Follow him on Twitter at @GuerinEmig and Instagram at @guerin.emig. .

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