Game 8: Oklahoma State Preview

By: Ryan Roberts

Scott Satterfield and his Cincinnati Bearcats will travel to Stillwater, Oklahoma this Saturday for an 8:00 (EST) kickoff against the Oklahoma State Cowboys. The two teams come in to the match up on different trajectories as the Bearcats losing streak extended to 5 games with last week's 32-29 loss to Baylor, while Oklahoma State has won three consecutive games following last week's 48-34 road win over West Virginia.

What you need to know:

- This is the fourth all time meeting between the two teams, first meeting since 1983.. The Bearcats won 22-9 in their only game in Stillwater - the 1959 season opener.

- Cincinnati ranks 10th in the country in rushing (214.9 ypg) and 18th in rushing defense (100.7).

- Cincinnati has not forced a turnover since the Oklahoma game on September 23rd. The Bearcats rank 105th in the turnover margin (-4).

-  In two road games in 2023, Cincinnati is averaging 434.5 total yards and 229.0 rushing yards, while allowing opponents' just 278.5 total yards and 76.5 rushing yards. Kiner has 230 rushing yards and one TD on 39 carries over two road games.

- OSU kicker Alex Hale ranks second in the country with 17 field goals.

- The Cowboys have the Big 12's most efficient red zone offense (93.1%, 27-of-29).

- Oklahoma State ranks 10th in total offense and 2nd to last in total defense within the Big 12

- UC rushed for 288 yards in the Baylor loss, led by Corey Kiner's 129 yards on 15 carries. Myles Montgomery scored his first two touchdowns of the season in the loss and finished with 103 yards on 10 carries.

- Oklahoma State running back Ollie Gordon finished with 282 yards and 4 touchdowns on 29 carries in the win over West Virginia.

How the two teams stack up statistically:

When you look at the stats, the first thing that stands out is Oklahoma State's defensive numbers. This is a team that is going to give up yards and points. However, the OSU defense gets much better when an opposing team enters the red zone. With Cincinnati having red zone issues at times throughout the first 7 games on both sides of the ball, that isn't a stat that likely bodes well for the Bearcats. 

Players to Know:

- The OSU offense starts with running back Ollie Gordon. He has rushed for over 100 yards in each of the past 4 games and currently leads the Big 12 in touchdowns with 8. Gordon also is currently second in the league in rushing yards, averaging 116.6 per game. Gordon leads the country with 11 carries over 20 yards and is the only player in FBS  to finish with 100 rushing yards and 100 receiving yards in the same game. Gordon has been named the Doak Walker Running Back of the Week twice this season. 

Photo Credit: Associated Press

- Michigan quarterback transfer Alan Bowman had a rocky start to his Cowboy career while Mike Gundy was rotating through three quarterbacks, but he has since settled in, completing 67% and 68% of his passes over the past two games. Bowman threw for 210 yards and 2 touchdowns against West Virginia and had 336 yards and 2 touchdowns against Kansas as well. Through 7 games, he has 4 interceptions on 212 passing attempts. Interesting enough, Bowman is dead last in the Big 12 in passer efficiency (115.3).

- 6'2 sophomore wide receiver Jaden Bray leads the Cowboys out wide with 27 receptions for 349 yards and a touchdown.

- Brennan Presley is the other Oklahoma State receiver to watch. He has scored a touchdown in back to back games and enters the Cincinnati game with 5 touchdowns on the season. 

- Junior linebacker Colin Oliver is currently tied for 3rd on the team in tackles with 45  but has finished with 10 tackles in two games this season, including last week's win over West Va.

- Redshirt sophomore linebacker Nickolas Martin currently leads the team and league in tackles and has been everywhere for the OSU defense. He has 71 tackles to go with an interception and forced fumble. He has had a game high 17 tackles twice this season.

- Redshirt sophomore Safety Kendal Daniels is averaging 8.1 tackles per game and had 11 tackles in the win over West Virginia last week. His 57 tackles through 7 games are good for fifth in the league on the leaders board.

- The Oklahoma State offensive line is an experienced group, starting 4 seniors and one junior. 

Broadcast Information:

Roy Philpott (PxP), Roddy Jones (Analyst), Taylor McGregor (Sideline)
Local: 700 WLW
Satellite: SiriusXM 380
App: IHeart Radio App and Varsity Network: "Search Cincinnati"


Final Thoughts:

This is a match up of strength vs strength. 

Oklahoma State's ascension within the conference over the past 3 weeks has been a direct result of running the football and allowing Ollie Gordon to use his playmaking ability both in the run and pass game out of the backfield.

Cincinnati enters this game ranked first in the Big 12 in rush defense, allowing just 94 yards per game on the ground in four conference games.

For Cincinnati to win this game, that trend will have to continue. Oklahoma State will try to test the UC secondary with their struggles against the deep ball. Staying disciplined and not committing silly penalties will be crucial. 

Nikolas Martin and Collin Oliver rank 3rd and 5th in the league in tackles for loss. The UC offensive line will have to know where those two are on every play. That duo has also combined for 8 sacks. As a whole, the OSU defense has 17 sacks, which is tied for 4th in the league. 

UC's defense ranks dead last in the league in red zone defense and interceptions. For them to have a chance to steal one on the road, they will have to create turnovers and extra opportunities for the offense with short field opportunities. 

With it being homecoming and a night game for Oklahoma State, the odds are stacked pretty heavily against the Bearcats. Vegas likes the Cowboys -7.5. Forecasts for kickoff and throughout the night say cold temps with potential rain. That could shorten the game and force both teams to rely more heavily on the run game. The Cats are in serious need of a win to build momentum down the stretch. See y'all tomorrow night in Stillwater!

For the rest of our Oklahoma State preview, check out the At Large Bid Bearcats pod below with Heartland College Sports' Joe Tillery:





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