Guerin Emig: Toward the end of the game, we’ll hear a chorus new to Boone Pickens Stadium: "WE! WANT! O-U! clap clap clap-clap-clap…"
Oklahoma State gets a prime time kickoff to give Boone Pickens Stadium partisans all day to rev up.
It’s homecoming. The Cowboys’ homecoming record the past 15 years is 12-3.
It’s Cincinnati. The Bearcats haven’t won since upsetting Pitt Sept. 9.
OSU is a touchdown favorite, having built confidence and an identity over a three-game Big 12 winning streak since falling at Iowa State.
So why should Mike Gundy sweat this week?
“This is the best defensive line we’ve played all year,” he said. “I was shocked when I started watching Cincinnati’s tape. I looked at their record (2-5) and then I looked at the tape and I went, ‘Hmm. That doesn’t match up.’”
Feels like we’ve discovered our first key to a fourth straight Cowboys win heading into Bedlam.
One player: Let’s make it one position: OSU’s offensive line
It isn’t much fun to block the Bearcats’ D-line, 318-pound All-American tackle Dontay Corleone in particular. Ask Oklahoma about that; Corleone had multiple lost-yardage tackles in a 20-6 loss to the Sooners Sept. 23.
It’s tough to pinpoint one OSU lineman who must man up against “The Godfather” Saturday night. This will be more of a team effort.
That’s symbolic of the offensive line’s mesh over OSU’s three-game streak.
“Keep trusting the process, keep trusting each other, keep having each other’s back,” right tackle Jake Springfield told reporters this week. “The results are starting to show. Keep this momentum going.”
Keep Ollie Gordon’s momentum going.
Gordon has ripped off four straight triple-digit rushing efforts because he’s getting the ball more than he was in nonconference, and because his linemen are, in Gundy’s words, “covering guys up.”
“The challenge now is to keep them humble from everyone telling them how good they’re run-blocking,” Gundy said of his O-line this week. “Everybody’s fired up about them now. When a month ago they wanted to sh*tcan them all. I’m guessing. Now the challenge is to be humble and understand that Cincinnati could care less.”
The Bearcats just want to win again. They’ll lean on Corleone and their D-line to do so.
That puts more weight than usual on OSU’s offensive front.
One problem: Gundy is correct about Cincinnati’s deceptive record
It isn’t just how strong Corleone and his linemates look on tape. Check out this blurb from Cincinnati’s game notes: “The Bearcats have held the advantage in total yards and rushing yards in five of their seven games this season.”
It happened again in last week’s 32-29 loss to Baylor, when the Bearcats outgained the Bears 450-396 and outrushed them 288-80.
So what’s the problem?
“I look at two things,” Cincinnati coach Scott Satterfield said this week. “Number one is the turnover margin. I think we’re 120, somewhere in that range, in the country in turnover margin. You’re not going to win that way. The other thing is scoring points in the red zone.”
The Bearcats tend to move the ball effectively… until bogging down around the opponent’s 20-yard line. It happened repeatedly in their loss to OU.
They have two running backs capable of 100-yard games. Myles Montgomery and Corey Kiner both surpassed 100 against Baylor, with a combined three runs of 30-plus yards.
They have a dual threat quarterback in Emory Jones. He threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns while rushing for 94 yards in a 35-27 loss at BYU Sept. 29.
If these guys put it together in Stillwater, if they turn drives into touchdowns and stop coughing up the ball, they’ll be a handful to beat.
One preposterous prediction: “WE! WANT! O-U! clap clap clap-clap-clap”
We’ll hear the traditional stadium-wide singalong to “Friends in Low Places” at the end of Saturday night’s third quarter. It will be robust given both homecoming and the fact the Cowboys have put some distance between themselves and their opponent.
Then, toward the end of the fourth quarter, we’ll hear a chorus new to Boone Pickens Stadium, a chant that begins in the student section and makes its way around the place to send a clear message about the next game.
“WE! WANT! O-U! clap clap clap-clap-clap… WE! WANT! O-U! clap clap clap-clap-clap”
I asked Gundy this week about the plane ride home from OSU’s 48-34 victory at West Virginia, whether he allowed himself just a moment of thought toward Nov. 4, and how combustible the atmosphere could be.
“I thought we went to Central Florida next week,” Gundy said.
No, Coach, you go to Central Florida Nov. 11. You play Bedlam next week.
Whether Gundy was sandbagging or he really didn’t know… His entire fan base knows. That will be very apparent by the end of OSU’s fourth straight victory.
One pick: Cowboys 37, Bearcats 20