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Previewing: Oklahoma State vs. UTSA



Although you may not be impressed by the early performances, this Oklahoma State football is 2-0 heading into its non-conference game against the UTSA Roadrunners (0-2) this Saturday.

UTSA so far

Unlike the No. 25 Cowboys, UTSA has challenged itself in the non-conference season with matchups against nationally-ranked Arizona and the Kansas State Wildcats. However, both games ended in losses for Larry Coker’s team.

In the 42-32 loss to Arizona, the Roadrunners compiled an astounding 525 total offensive yards, 332 of which came from the arm of quarterback Blake Bogenschutz. The redshirt freshman added two touchdowns against the Wildcats in a game that was competitive throughout.

Kansas State’s defense was much stouter against the pass, holding Bogenschutz to 156 yards and zero touchdowns. The Roadrunners ground attack only mustered 37 yards in a game played at home. A 51-yard field goal made in the first quarter was the only scoring play UTSA had all night.

OSU-UTSA history

This will be third consecutive year that the Cowboys and the Roadrunners have met.

In 2013, OSU traveled to San Antonio for a 56-35 victory. The Cowboys passing attack proved too much for UTSA with J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf combining for 518 yards and six touchdowns. Brandon Sheperd and Jhajuan Seales each had a touchdown catch in this contest as well. UTSA was able to manage 35 points against the strongest defense the Cowboys have had in the last three years.

Last year these teams met in Stillwater with the Cowboys dominating 31-13. Bogenschutz saw some time in last year’s contest, completing 8-14 passes for 82 yards, including an interception made by Ashton Lampkin in the final seconds of the game.

Daxx Garman made his first home start and went 16-30 with 315 yards and two touchdown passes. Seales was able to stretch out the UTSA defense with two long catches for 32 and 43 yards. Shepherd also added a touchdown for the second straight year against the Roadrunners.

On offense, OSU must …

UTSA remains vulnerable against the deep pass this year, something Mason Rudolph and company hope to expose. Mike Yurcich’s conservative offense opened up a bit against Central Arkansas with Rudolph hitting David Glidden on a couple of deep balls over the middle, and a beautiful ball to Jalen McClesky for 56 yards.

Here’s Glidden’s first of two touchdowns last Saturday:

I don’t expect to see Rudolph having any issue moving the ball down the field this week. Walsh, Chelf and Garman have all had success against this defense in recent years so I don’t see any reason why Rudolph would do anything different.

The Roadrunners defense has been far from shutdown (36 ppg.), but the unit has only averaged 236 passing yards allowed in the season’s first two games. However, Rudolph is arguably the best pure passer UTSA has faced to this point. Nothing against Anu Solomon or Joe Hubener, I just think Rudolph is a more advanced passer.

It’s been easy to see that OSU has struggled to get its running game going. These troubles could stop this weekend as UTSA has allowed 169 rushing yards per game so far this season. I think a lot of people would be happy if OSU reached that mark this Saturday.

What UTSA looks like on offense

Like the Cowboys, UTSA has a ground game that has not shown anything special early on. Jarveon Williams is the lead running back for the team, but he has only compiled 110 yards on 31 carries.

The biggest playmaker on UTSA’s offense is 6-foot-4, 260-pound senior tight end David Morgan II. “They’ve got an NFL tight end and that guy lines up everywhere,” OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer told The Oklahoman’s Kyle Fredrickson. “I don’t know if anybody we face this year has got that guy.”

Morgan II has 13 catches for 154 yards and a touchdown in a strong start to the 2015 campaign. Check out Morgan II giving some extra effort last weekend against K-State:

Protecting the ball will be key

Sloppiness could be the biggest downfall for this UTSA team. Bogenschutz threw two careless interceptions that led to a loss in Arizona. The team also has totaled 206 yards in penalties in the first two games of the season.

UTSA is going to make its mistakes. The important thing for OSU is to make sure it is not matching those mistakes with turnovers or dumb penalties. Another key will be getting the offense going early. 10 points in the first half is not going to cut it this week. I expect Rudolph to be looking for Glidden early and often in order to get the ball moving down the field.

If all goes as expected, the Cowboys should be 3-0 heading into the Big 12 season with a two or three touchdown victory over UTSA on Saturday.

NOTE: UTSA had 36 seniors on its roster in 2014. This year the team has only six, which is the fewest number of any FBS team, per Tulsa World.

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