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Tulsa at Oklahoma State: Breaking down the matchups
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Tulsa at Oklahoma State: Breaking down the matchups

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Tulsa at Oklahoma State

11 a.m. Saturday, Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater

TV: FS1

Last meeting: OSU beat Tulsa 16-7 in Stillwater on Sept. 19, 2020.

All-time series: OSU leads 42-27-5.

FOX23 James Aydelott's forecast: Sunny and HOT, kickoff temp 91°

When OSU runs

With Chuba Hubbard off in the NFL, the Cowboys are relying on a deep running back group in 2021. LD Brown led with 30 yards with a team-high 15 attempts in Week 1 against Missouri State, followed by Dezmon Jackson’s 14 yards on three carries (with a fumble) and nine yards on six attempts from Utah State transfer Jaylen Warren.

Stat to know: 1.9

OSU averaged 1.9 yards per carry in its opener, finishing with 54 yards on 28 carries as a team. The running game proved especially slow in the second half, when the Cowboys tallied 120 yards total, were outscored 13-3 and ran for 10 yards on the ground on 14 attempts (1.4 yards per carry).

When OSU passes

Third-year starter Spencer Sanders didn’t throw a pass against Missouri State and instead spent the 2021 season opener in the COVID-19 protocol. In his place, sophomore Shane Illingworth threw for 315 yards, an opening drive touchdown and a second-quarter interception. Sanders is expected to return in Week 2 with Tay Martin (six catches, 107 yards, touchdown) and Brennan Presley (four catches, 68 yards) among the pass catchers who performed in Week 1 at his disposal.

Stat to know: 8

Eight receivers caught passes from Illingworth against Missouri State as OSU flashed depth for now and later in the 23-16 win. While Martin and Presley filled their expected roles as the running backs factored into the passing game, so did freshmen Bryson Green (three catches, 41 yards) and Jaden Bray (two catches, 52 yards), as well as redshirt freshman Rashod Owens (1 catch, 28 yards) all in their college debuts.

When Tulsa runs

Explosive running back Deneric Prince opened the season with a career-best 151 yards and an untouched touchdown against UC Davis, averaging 10.8 yards per carry. Starter Shamari Brooks, who missed the 2020 season with an injury, had 80 yards on 10 carries. The tandem has the luxury of running behind a solid offensive line that returns all five starters this season.

Stat to know: 112

In last year's meeting with OSU, the Hurricane rushed for a season-low 112 yards. Prince accounted for 82 of those in his first game after transferring from Texas A&M.

When Tulsa passes

First-year starter Davis Brin never settled in the Sept. 2 opener, completing 15 passes for 201 yards with two interceptions. Sixty-one of those yards came on one play, a completion to Keylon Stokes. Brin's other top targets include Josh Johnson, Sam Crawford Jr. and JuanCarlos Santana.

Stat to know: 4,000

Stokes has led the Hurricane in receiving for three consecutive years. Including all-purpose totals, he has surpassed 4,000 career yards, ranking third in program history behind Damaris Johnson (7,796) and Trey Watts (5,877).

Special teams

The athleticism Brennan Presley provides at wide receiver for OSU is being called upon in the return game in 2021, with the sophomore from Bixby handling both kick and punt return duties. In Week 1, he recorded 15 yards across three punt returns and broke off a 36-yard gain on the one kickoff he took out of the end zone.

Stat to know: 21.3

Presley’s 21.3 yards per kick return in 2020 ranked 42nd in the nation. Factoring in his one kick return in last Saturday’s win, Presley’s career average stands at 23.1 yard per return, the 25th-best figure of any kick returner in the nation last season.

Coaches

Mike Gundy (17 years) and Philip Montgomery (seven years) are the second-most tenured coaches in their respective conferences, having spent all of their time as head coaches at the same place. Gundy's record is 138-67 and Montgomery is 31-41.

Stat to know: 6

In the 16 years before the Gundy Era, OSU had zero seasons with at least 10 wins. In the past 16 years, he has delivered six 10-win seasons, all since 2010.

Who wins and why

From Guerin Emig:

TU plays better than it did in losing to UC Davis, but OSU plays much better than it did in holding off Missouri State. That's both a bigger problem for the Hurricane and a more comfortable game for the Cowboys.

OSU 30, TU 17

Last season, OSU held on for a 16-7 win. The two teams meet again Saturday. COURTESY/OSU

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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.

Sports Writer

I have covered college football and college basketball for the Tulsa World since 2012. I spend my spare time as an animal rescue volunteer, focusing on spaying and neutering community cats in the Tulsa area. Phone: 918-581-8452

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