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OSU Football: Navigating A Brutal Schedule; WVU Preview

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West Virginia will be the third ranked opponent that Oklahoma State has faced this season, and the Pokes are scheduled to face three more. OSU opened against No. 1 FSU, then faced No. 12 TCU on Oct. 18. WVU is ranked 22nd while remaining opponents Kansas State (11th), Oklahoma (17th) and Baylor (12th are all safely burrowed in the rankings.

Playing half of your schedule against top-25 opponents is brutal. In fact, OSU has it worse than pretty much everyone. SEC-West powers Alabama and Mississippi State only play five ranked opponents this season, while Notre Dame and Georgia each play four. OU, Baylor and Michigan State each play three ranked schools, while reigning champ Florida State plays two and Ohio State only one.

This is a tough situation for an OSU team with serious problem areas. The Cowboys' offensive line continues to struggle to open running lanes and quarterback Daxx Garman seems unable to consistently throw anything other than a deep ball. The OSU defense is holding its own, but has been put in terrible situations and remains on the field for a majority of each game (OSU has lost the time-of-possession battle in all seven contests).

Scouting the Mountaineers

Dana Holgorsen's high-flying offense is back in Morgantown. WVU is sixth in the nation in passing yards and averages 37 points per game. Quarterback Clint Trickett has completed better than 68 percent of his passes to go with 15 touchdowns and just five picks. Trickett's favorite target just happens to be the nation's leading receiver. Kevin White has 69 grabs for 1020 yards and seven touchdowns. If OSU decides to throw the entire secondary at White, it will likely backfire. Six Mountaineers have at least 15 grabs on the season, so watch out for anyone on the field.

If the Cowboys want to win on Saturday, they'll need to control the clock. The best way to do that is by running the ball, but we all know OSU's struggles in that area. WVU has allowed a few big days on the ground this season. The Mountaineers gave up 288 rushing yards to Alabama, 301 to Oklahoma and 217 to Texas Tech. The Pokes will likely need big days from Desmond Roland and Tyreek Hill if they want to neutralize the high-powered Mountaineers.

Prediction

West Virginia is a hard team to predict. If this were in Morgantown, the Cowboys might be in some trouble. But WVU has only played two road games this season and earned three-point wins against Texas Tech and Maryland – not exactly powerhouses. OSU needs one more win to become bowl-eligible, but I doubt it comes on Saturday.

West Virginia wins, 34-27

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