Analyzing the Oklahoma State Cowboys

Courtesy Photo of the Daily O’Colly Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh scrambles away from a West Virginia defender in last week’s 30-21 loss to the Mountaineers.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys, who are 3-1 overall and 0-1 in Big 12 play this season, are one of the Big 12’s most dangerous teams.

The Cowboys were voted by the media as the top team in the Big 12 preseason poll and are therefore projected to win the conference. The team also returned seven starters on both sides of the ball.

Offensively, the biggest threat for the Cowboys is sophomore quarterback J.W. Walsh. Walsh is currently fourth in the Big 12 in total offense with 299.5 yards per game. He’s also fifth in passing yards per game (241.0) and 10th in rushing yards per game (58.5).

Walsh is at the helm of one of the fastest offenses in the entire country. Currently, the Cowboys rank 31st in the country with over 78 offensive plays run per game. The Wildcats will have to deal with that tempo on the defensive side of the ball.

Sophomore defensive back Dante Barnett said he feels like the tempo will be the biggest challenge.

“I would say their tempo just because they are faster than any team that we have faced this year,” Barnett said. “But every team in the Big 12 has a fast tempo and a spread offense. So I feel like we have been preparing all year for this.”

The Cowboys are one of the worst rushing teams in the country, ranking just 72nd in rush offense. Walsh leads the team in rushing yards with just 234 yards on the year.

“Their quarterback is actively involved in the run game more than they have been in the past, so it makes it more varied, more diverse,” K-State head coach Bill Snyder said.

Josh Stewart, the star wide receiver for the Cowboys, is Walsh’s favorite target. The junior currently leads the team with 312 yards receiving.

Defensively, the Cowboys are a middle-of-the-road team in the Big 12. They rank sixth in the conference in total defense with 367.5 yards given up per game.

Where Oklahoma State stands out defensively is defending the run, which they are the best in the conference at. The Cowboys allow the fewest yards on the ground in the Big 12 at just 108.8 per game.

That’s been thanks largely in part to senior linebacker Caleb Lavey, who has 33 tackles, including 4.5 for a loss, this year.

Oklahoma State’s secondary though has been very suspect this year, ranking dead last in the conference. The Cowboys give up 258.8 yards per game through the air.

Overall, the Cowboys are a talented team that’s coming off an upset loss and is sure to be angry. They have an uptempo offense but a shaky defense. Expect Saturday to be a hotly contested Big 12 matchup.