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OSU Football: Iowa State Preview

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Oklahoma State enters the meat of its conference schedule when Iowa State comes to Stillwater for a 2:30 p.m. CT kickoff at Boone Pickens Stadium.

The bad news for ISU - the Cowboys have found their running game, of late.

Freshman Justice Hill has back-to-back 100-yard games under his belt and the Cyclones (1-4, 0-2) allow a Big 12-worst 261 rushing yards per game. Mike Gundy will give Hill, Rennie Childs and Barry J. Sanders the green light in this one.

But, the Cowboys (3-2, 1-1) struggled to stop the run last week against Texas, giving up 329 on the ground, and Iowa State nearly knocked off Baylor behind the steady play of Preseason All-Big 12 running back Mike Warren.

That was a game the Cyclones controlled for three quarters before being outscored 17-0 in the fourth. The collapse saw Iowa State run just six plays for 8 yards in the final quarter, losing 45-42.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma State’s 49-31 victory against the Longhorns was highlighted by an absurd number – three – of blocked PATs. Defensive tackle Vincent Taylor blocked two of them and was able to recover one and pitch it to Tre Flowers for the 2-point return. Mason Rudolph threw three touchdowns and ran for another in the win.

Rudolph has thrown for 1,211 yards in his last three games but Iowa State has been surprisingly effective against the pass and only allows 191 yards through the air per game.

Star receiver James Washington is probable to play after taking a nasty hit to the head last week. Gundy said Washington is fine but if his status is even in doubt, there’s no reason to play him against ISU. Sophomore receiver Jalen McCleskey is enjoying a breakout campaign with 27 receptions for 333 yards and three touchdowns and senior Jhajuan Seales is also on pace for a career-year with 18 catches for 293 yards and two touchdowns.

Plus, with Oklahoma State already looking to run, this is an ideal matchup for the hybrid Cowboy backs Blake Jarwin, Zac Veatch and Keenen Brown.

Oklahoma State Player To Watch – As much as I’d like to pick one of the Cowboy backs here, Justice Hill is the logical choice. He’s looked explosive the past two weeks and is just scratching the surface of his potential as he gets the hang of Big 12 football.

Iowa State Player To Watch – Mike Warren will get his opportunities against the Cowboys. Warren has 233 rushing yards and three touchdowns in his past two games. He’s their workhorse but at 6-foot-0, 205 pounds, he’s a lot different than Texas’ two jumbo-sized tailbacks. OSU linebackers will have to stay patient and not over-pursue the speedy Warren.

Prediction – The Cowboys hold firm at home and win 41-16

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