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Previewing: Oklahoma State vs. Central Arkansas



Home opener

Coming off of the opening week win against Central Michigan, OSU will host Central Arkansas. This game will be many fans’ first chance to see Mason Rudolph play in person, unless of course you made the trip to Tempe for the Cactus Bowl.

Central Arkansas, as most of you already know, is an FCS opponent and OSU is not Iowa State or Kansas, so barring a miracle this game will be a win. However, this team challenged the Texas Tech Red Raiders in a 42-35 loss last season in Lubbock.

The Bears traveled to Samford last weekend and were thoroughly handed 45-16 defeat at the hands of the Bulldogs.

Here are some highlights from that game:

Central Arkansas Offense

Taylor Reed, the starting quarterback for UCA threw the ball and incredible 63 times completing 43 of those passes for 312 yards. While those numbers might look a bit staggering at first it’s important to realize that that’s only 4.95 yards per attempt. I realize that one game is a small sample, but the left-hander also only averaged a modest 7.5 YPA playing in parts of eight games as a backup.

The Bears up-tempo, no-huddle attack was able to snap the ball 103 times and was only able to muster up 16 points. After watching a little bit of film on UCA it’s easy to understand why Reed’s YPA numbers are so low. The team runs a mostly screens and short crossing routes over the middle of the field. Reed threw the ball down the field occasionally but had a long of only 37 yards.

The leading receivers for UCA were Desmond Smith (11 catches for 75 yards) and Jatavious Wilson (nine catches for 82 yards). As you would expect in a conservative air raid offense, 10 different receivers caught at least one pass, but no receiver had a touchdown.

In fact, the only touchdown scored in the for UCA was 29-yard touchdown run by running back Dominique Thomas on a shotgun run play up the middle. The Bears committee rushing attack netted them 119 yards on 34 attempts. Thomas was the leading rusher in the game with 69 yards on nine attempts.

Coach Steve Campbell was forced to call a decent amount of passing plays because his team trailed for a majority of the game against Samford. Honestly, I don’t think UCA will run the ball much against OSU either for the same reason.

Central Arkansas defense

Defensively, the Bears are nothing special, obviously as they gave up 45 points to a Samford team that is nothing special. UCA surrendered 371 yards through the air including four touchdowns from Samford quarterback Michael Eubank.

Defeinsive back George Odum had nine tackles and Devin Spurlock had an interception, but other than that nobody was impressive for UCA. Depending on how open the playbook is on Saturday, Rudolph has potential for a very big game in his Boone Pickens debut.

Samford running backs were able to gain more than five yards per carry against UCA and were able to 180 yards last week. The potential for Chris Carson to break some big runs will be there this weekend.

Expectations for Saturday

Another major concern for UCA was penalties. The Bears committed 12, which cost them 139 yards. The lack of discipline should be a huge advantage for OSU.

The only unit that actually impressed me on film was UCA’s kicking game, which made all three field goals, including a 50-yarder from Matt Cummins. This is probably the only head-to-head matchup the UCA has an advantage. Sorry, Grogan.

Other than that, OSU should have an advantage at every position. Yes, even with Ramon Richards playing at corner.

This game should have the same outcome of every matchup against an FCS opponent in the Gundy era (8-0), which is a win.

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