OKLAHOMA STATE vs. TEXAS A+M BOWL GAME PREVIEW (FRI 12-27)!
THE COWBOYS TRAVEL TO TEXAS TO FACE THE AGGIES IN A BATTLE OF SOME SOLID QB’S!
VEGAS ODDS: TEXAS A+M (-5 1/2 or -6) vs. OKLAHOMA STATE ~ TOTAL: (54)
OKLAHOMA ST OFFENSE (#17) ~ (236 RUSH, 228 PASS) vs. TEXAS A+M DEFENSE (#32) ~ (129 RUSH, 212 PASS allowed)
TEXAS A+M OFFENSE (#71) ~ (152 RUSH, 247 PASS) vs. OKLAHOMA STATE DEFENSE (#86) ~ (151 RUSH, 267 PASS allowed)
This Bowl match up is one of the more intriguing ones as both teams have some really talents stars who have bright futures. Texas A+M may be one of the harder handicaps this Bowl season as they come in just (7-5), but they lost those 5 games to teams ranked in the Top 10, with three the Number 1 team in country on the week they faced them. They played the toughest schedule in the nation and when you put a really average at best Offensive Line on the field you weren’t likely to beat any of those loaded Top 10 teams. Oklahoma State did have an off game in their season finale vs. rival Oklahoma, but had won 4 straight prior to that and they bring in one of the most exciting RB’s in the nation (coolest name as well), as Chuba Hubbard ran wild with 1,936 rush yards and 21 TD’s.
Looking at Oklahoma State first, they got some good news as their electric QB S. Sanders will return off thumb injury (missed last two games). He will likely share QB duties with another very solid QB Dru Brown, so the Cowboys will be ok on the Offensive side for this game. They caught a nice break as A+M’s Defense will be playing without it’s best DT and pass rusher, J. Madubuike (sitting out to prepare for NFL Draft). The Cowboys scored points on 39 of 43 drives in the Red Zone, so they rarely waste an opportunity to put points on the scoreboard. They need to as the Defense is simply just not that good. Ranked #86 and a secondary that simply struggles vs. Pass (#113 in all of CFB), allowing 267 pass yards per game.
As I said, handicapping A+M is a difficult task, as they only beat one Bowl team this season (Mississippi State) and the 5 losses were to really loaded teams. But coming into the season, it seemed like A+M might knock off a few Powerhouses this season. I give credit for 4 of those losses to top 10 teams, but that last loss to LSU (50-7) was really something of a head-scratcher. The Aggies have a very talented QB in K. Mond. Problem is the Offensive Line can’t pass block (allowed 33 sacks of Mond). I always love teams that mix up the Run/Pass evenly and A+M does that as they ran ball 388x and passed it 433 times. I’d guess even though they called it evenly most of year, they Pass it more often as they can exploit the Cowboys weak secondary, one that will be missing it’s best secondary athlete, Safety Harvell-Peel, who had 5 interceptions this year. A+M only played 4 games away from Home, and this game is basically a Home away from Home game being played in nearby Houston. They will surely have a ton of fans there to cheer them on, and that is just what Mond and Company need after their season finale debacle. Mond is the “X” factor here, and since he hasn’t passed for 300 yards since September vs. Auburn, it’s hard for me to just handicap “this is the game he does it again”. If your Offensive Line can’t pass block, you run for your life and end up missing open receivers.
ONE BIG KEY TO THIS GAME:
Oklahoma State is just 39% on third downs and they will face the #15 Defense of A+M allowing only 31% of the 3rd downs they faced. Can A+M though without it’s main Pass rusher cause enough Pressure on the Cowboys QB’s? The Cowboys did win 4 Road games, and scored 52, 40, 36, 35, 34 and 20 points so the away crowds had really no effects on the Offensive side of Ball. This might be first time all season Mond can just relax and go out and have fun as it was a tough year playing so many top teams and really elite Defenses. Playing Clemson, Georgia and LSU Defenses all on Road proved to be a daunting task. Mond was only able to muster 10, 13 and 7 points vs. those 3 loaded Defenses.
Oklahoma State HC Mike Gundy has been really good in Bowls, with extra time to prepare he has had his troops ready and he’s always got a few trick plays up his sleeve as well. Gundy has won 3 straight Bowls and 7 of his last 9. A+M Head Coach Jimbo Fisher won his only Bowl game with these Aggies.
We have seen some Bowl duds thus far this Bowl season, but this one shouldn’t be a dud. I’d expect to see some exciting action as the elite players all play on Offensive side of ball. Mike Gundy has provided us with some very fun games in his career, and this is his type of game. No pressure, just go out and open the Playbook and allow his really electric guys like Hubbard to just do their thing. For A+M, it’s time for us to finally see if this Mond is an elite QB or just an above average one that really hasn’t lived up to his huge billing. I think he has a nice game and puts up some nice stats. Friday has a bunch of games and this one might be the most fun one to watch.
Enjoy this Bowl game and enjoy the large set of Bowl games on Friday and Saturday. Check back for Preview on the Final 4 Playoff games as well here soon.