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No. 12 OSU at No. 25 Texas: Top storyline, key matchup, player to watch and who wins
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No. 12 OSU at No. 25 Texas: Top storyline, key matchup, player to watch and who wins

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Oct. 11, 2021 video. Cowboys head coach talks about facing Texas on the road after having a bye week. Video courtesy/OSU Athletics

No. 12 Oklahoma State at No. 25 Texas

11 a.m. Saturday, Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin

Need-to-know info

TV: Fox23

Radio: KTSB-1170

Online: http://okla.st/osutunein

Records: OSU 5-0, 2-0 in Big 12; Texas 4-2, 2-1

Last meeting: Texas beat OSU 41-34 on Oct. 31, 2020.

All-time series: Texas leads 26-9

FOX23 James Aydelott's forecast: Mostly sunny, 67° at kickoff

FOUR DOWNS

1. TOP STORYLINE

Season starts now

Oklahoma State reached 5-0 for the first time since 2015 and climbed to No. 12 in the AP Top 25 with its Oct. 2 win over Baylor before the open week. In their return at Texas, the Cowboys can earn a third consecutive win over a ranked opponent for the first time in program history and thrust themselves into the Big 12 conversation. The Longhorns have questions of their own to answer after the Week 6 defeat to Oklahoma, and OSU has a chance to send a message with a victory in Austin ahead of a trip to Iowa State in Week 8.

2. KEY MATCHUP

OSU secondary vs Texas aerial attack

The Cowboys’ top objective Saturday is stopping Texas’ Bijan Robinson, whose 789 rushing yards rank third in the nation. The surest way to do it? Put a cap on Casey Thompson and the Longhorns’ passing game.

Following an explosive first half for Thompson last week, OU held him in check with 144 passing yards after halftime, and Robinson’s production dipped in turn as the sophomore rusher ran nine times for 35 yards (3.9 yards per carry) in the second half. Jarrick Bernard-Converse, Kolby Harvel-Peel and the OSU secondary will have to contend with Thompson’s arm and dangerous pass catchers in Xavier Worthy and Joshua Moore, but closing Texas down in the air is the first step to containing Robinson and, ultimately, the Longhorns’ offense.

3. PLAYER TO WATCH

Spencer Sanders

Spencer Sanders tied a career-high with three interceptions against Baylor in Week 5. Those picks didn’t cost OSU against the Bears, but they sure might in Texas. At the very least, OSU needs a clean, bounce-back performance from its quarterback. And maybe, as Sanders did against Kansas State in Week 4, he can do even more for the Cowboys in Week 7.

4. WHO WINS AND WHY? 

Spencer Sanders avoids the early turnovers that doomed OSU in this game a year ago, allowing Jaylen Warren to play a starring role in the second half and the Cowboys to pull out another nail-biter.

OSU 33, Texas 30

— Guerin Emig, Tulsa World

Oct. 11, 2021 video. Cowboys head coach talks about staying at same program for so long ahead of facing Texas, which hired Steve Sarkisian since last season. Video courtesy/OSU Athletics

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OSU Sports Writer

I cover Oklahoma State athletics for the Tulsa World. I have previously worked for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, Emporia Gazette in Kansas and the Columbia Missourian. I graduated from the University of Missouri in 2020 and am a native of Mamaroneck, NY.

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