Troy at Oklahoma State
Saturday, Sept. 27, 2008 :: 6:05 p.m.
Boone Pickens Stadium (60,000 capacity)
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, John Holcomb, Robert Allen)
The Oklahoma State Cowboys, 3-0 for the fourth time in five seasons, will remain at home on Saturday as they take on the Troy Trojans. Kickoff is set for 6:05 p.m. at Boone Pickens Stadium. There will be no live television of the game. OSU will produce a satellite feed of game highlights. More information on the feed will be released as it becomes available.
Dating back to the Insight Bowl win over Indiana, Oklahoma State has won four straight games. That streak is the longest for the Cowboys since they opened the 2004 season with five consecutive wins. While OSU’s winning streak is still modest, it is the nation’s 12th longest active streak and the third longest in the Big 12, behind only Texas Tech’s six straight wins and five in a row won by Missouri.
Week Four At A Glance
Troy enters the OSU game with a 2-1 record. The Trojans’ lone loss came last week at Ohio State. The Troy contest marks the first 2007 rematch for the 2008 Cowboys. OSU is playing three straight non-conference home games for the first time since 2002 and for just the second time since 1988.
Oklahoma State hasn’t cracked the top 25 yet, but the Cowboys were knocking on the door after the win over Missouri State. OSU was No. 27 in the Associated Press poll on Sept. 14. After the open week, the Cowboys remain No. 27 in the latest AP rankings.
Winning Early And Late
Oklahoma State enters the Troy contest 13-3 in non-conference games under head coach Mike Gundy, including two bowl wins. OSU has won 13 straight non-conference home games, dating back to a 2002 loss to UCLA. One of those three non-conference losses under Gundy came at Troy last season.
A win over Troy would give Oklahoma State a sweep of its non-conference schedule for the first time since the 2005 season, but its fourth sweep in six years. It would also mark OSU’s first four-game sweep of regular-season non-conference opponents since the 2003 Cotton Bowl Cowboys accomplished the feat by defeating Wyoming, Missouri State, SMU and Louisiana-Lafayette.
Cowboys And Trojans
Oklahoma State and Troy are meeting for the second time in two seasons and for just the second time ever. Last season, (Sept. 14), Troy took a 41-23 decision over the Cowboys before the ESPN2 cameras on a stormy Friday night in Troy. The turnover-plagued Cowboys (OSU lost possession five times) were in transition when they visited Alabama. Cowboy quarterback Zac Robinson was making his first career start and OSU played without eventual first-team all-Big 12 running back Dantrell Savage.
Against Troy, Zac Robinson was 18-of-37 through the air for 191 yards. He had one touchdown pass (to tight end Brandon Pettigrew) and suffered two interceptions. He also rushed for 61 yards on nine carries. In place of Dantrell Savage, true freshman Kendall Hunter rushed for 125 yards. Troy generated 562 yards of total offense and ran 97 plays. Troy quarterback Omar Haugabook passed for 371 yards and a touchdown and also ran for two scores.
Cowboys And The Sun Belt
Oklahoma State is 20-2 all-time against current members of the Sun Belt. The loss at Troy last season was OSU’s first setback against a member of the league since a 1978 game against North Texas. OSU did pick up a Sun Belt victory last season, knocking off eventual league co-champ Florida Atlantic, 42-6.
Scouting The Trojans
Troy is 2-1 on the season with wins over Middle Tennessee State and Alcorn State and the 28-10 loss at Ohio State last Saturday. The Trojans are No. 20 nationally in total offense, averaging 450 yards per game. They are No. 11 in total defense, allowing just 237.7 yards per contest. Troy is fifth nationally in pass defense, allowing just 129 yards per game. Trojan receiver Jerrel Jernigan is No. 10 nationally with 7.3 receptions per game. Trojan defensive back Sherrod Martin leads the nation with three interceptions.
A Quick Connection
Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Tim Beckman was a graduate assistant coach for Steve Dennis at Auburn. Dennis is now the athletic director at Troy. Trojan head coach Larry Blakeney was also on that Auburn staff. Current Troy assistant coach Shayne Wasden was a player at Auburn during that period.
May The Fours Be With You
Oklahoma State is looking to start a season 4-0 for the first time under Mike Gundy, for the third time since 1997 and for the 13th time overall. OSU has never had a losing season after opening 4-0. In fact, OSU’s worst season after opening with four straight wins was in 2004 with a squad that ended the year at 7-5 with a loss to Ohio State in the Alamo Bowl. That bowl game was the final game for Les Miles as the Oklahoma State head coach.
Fun With Numbers
After struggling with its new offense under first-year head coach Mike Gundy in 2005, Oklahoma State has sported one of the country’s most lethal attacks over the past two-plus seasons. But even by Cowboy standards, the 2008 start has been a bit breathless...
Â Oklahoma State had a 300-yard passer (Zac Robinson), a 200-yard runner (Kendall Hunter) and a 200-yard receiver (Dez Bryant) in the win over Houston. It marked just the fifth time in NCAA history that a 300/200/200 trifecta had been accomplished and it was a first for OSU.
Â OSU’s 699 yards of total offense against Houston marked the second highest total in Oklahoma State history, dating back to a 717-yard effort against Kansas in 1988. It is the second best total in the NCAA this season, ranking only behind Troy’s 736-yard effort against Alcorn State.
Â OSU scored 56 points against Houston and 57 against Missouri State. It marked the first time the Cowboys reached 50 points in consecutive games since 2003.
Â In a span that overlapped the Missouri State and Houston games, Oklahoma State went 11 consecutive possessions without a turnover or punt. The result was 10 touchdowns and a kneel-down on the last play of the Houston game (at the Cougar 1-yard-line where OSU had a first and goal).
Â Against Missouri State, the Cowboys had three rushers reach the 100-yard mark (Keith Toston, Beau Johnson and Kendall Hunter). It was just the second time in Cowboy history that a trio reached 100 yards. The first time came in 2007 against Texas Tech.
Â OSU enters the Troy game averaging 50.7 points per game.
The Bottom Line
Oklahoma State enters the Troy game second nationally and tops in the Big 12 in rushing with 334 yards per game. OSU is fifth nationally in total offense with its 546 yards per game. The Cowboys are also fifth nationally in scoring. OSU also ranks in the top 10 in passing efficiency (ninth with a rating of 171.6), net punting (first with an average of 43.63) and in punt returns (fourth with an average of 24 yards per try).
100-yard Rushing Streak
Oklahoma State has now had a 100-yard rusher in 14 straight games, dating back to the 42-6 win over Florida Atlantic last season. During those 14 games, Oklahoma State has had 20 100-yard efforts. Those reaching triple digits include Dantrell Savage, Zac Robinson, Kendall Hunter, Keith Toston and Beau Johnson. Hunter and Savage both cracked 200 yards (Savage vs. Nebraska in 2007, and Hunter vs. Houston in 2008).
Oklahoma State is among the college football’s heavyweights when it comes to producing running backs. And even though sophomore Kendall Hunter has barely started his career, there are some very tangible numbers that lead one to conclude that Tailback U. is in safe hands. Just 16 games into his career, and with just three career starts under his belt, Hunter has already recorded five 100-yard rushing games and 1,145 career yards. For his career, he is averaging 7.02 yards per rush. For the season, he is at eight yards per carry. Hunter leads the Big 12 and is No. 4 nationally with 149.7 yards per game. His 8-yards-per-carry average is fifth among the nation’s top 25 rushers. He is fifth nationally in scoring at 12 points per game. Hunter has scored 11 touchdowns in 16 career games.