Oklahoma State has a chance to gain control of a spot in the Big 12 championship game, and all it will take is another big road victory. The ninthranked Cowboys travel to Ames, Iowa, to face Iowa State looking to remain undefeated. The Cowboys and Cyclones kick off at 1:30 p.m. on Fox. Here are three players to watch, two big questions and one wild prediction for the game:
3 players to watch
Quarterback Spencer Sanders: Since his outstanding performance in the win over Kansas State, Sanders has struggled at times. He threw three interceptions against Baylor. He threw another last week at Texas. But he also made big plays against the Longhorns. He threw a key touchdown to Brennan Presley. Sanders rushed for a touchdown late. If he can capture some of the Kansas State magic and continue being the strong leader, the Cowboys will be in good shape.
Wide receiver Tay Martin: Last week was not Martin’s best. He couldn’t catch a diving pass to open the game. He dropped a touchdown pass as well. He finished with just six catches for 48 yards. Martin has been sure-handed otherwise, so it was likely just a bad stretch. But he’ll need to be better against a stout Iowa State defense. Defensive lineman Brock Martin: Sporting an arm brace just weeks after dislocating his elbow, Martin still made sure Texas felt his presence last week. He’ll need to do just that again this week against a Cyclones offense that features one of the best quarterback-running back combinations in the conference. Martin’s leadership and passrushing ability have been crucial throughout the entire season.
2 big questions
Who wins the running back battle? Jaylen Warren or Breece Hall? Two of the top three running backs in the Big 12 square off. Sound familiar? It should. It happened last week with the Cowboys and Texas. That battle went to Warren, who rushed for 118 yards in the fourth quarter and totaled 193 yards, while Bijan Robinson rushed for 135. Can Warren outpace another star running back as he continues his rise as the Cowboys’ premier running back? Can the Cowboys’ defense avoid a letdown? It’s coming at some point, right? Maybe not. But if so, OSU hopes it is not this week against an Iowa State team that can make it pay. The Cowboys’ defense held Texas to just 1 yard in the fourth quarter and shut down the Longhorns on their final six drives to seal the game. That is quite the amount of momentum heading into a game with a Cyclones offense scored on its final five possessions at Kansas State.
1 wild prediction Iowa State’s Brock Purdy will throw more interceptions than Sanders.
OSU’s quarterback has been more turnover prone than Purdy, but in the Cyclones’ two losses Purdy had crucial mistakes. He threw three interceptions against Iowa and one against Baylor. Against an OSU defense thriving in big moments, this will come into play once again.