October 14, 2006
Fearless predictions for KU
For the second OSU game in a row, our bottomline fearless prediction didn't pan out, though it did look good up until the closing minutes in the Cowboys' 31-27 loss at K-State.
The Cowboys stay in the state of Kansas this week, with a winnable game versus the Kansas Jayhawks - a team who has had similar struggles in recent games.
Prediction #1 - Look for a few personnel changes in the Cowboy defense. We're not predicting wholesale swap-outs in the depth chart...but there could be a couple of those. More to the point will be a re-distribution of snaps among players who have played semi-regularly so far in '06. Safety Clint Coe is expected to be ready for Saturday. Though he is probably not completely into "game shape," expect to hear his name called on Saturday.
Prediction #2 - Sticking with personnel, look for freshman running back Keith Toston to get his first start. Even if he's not on the field for the Cowboys first offensive snap, he'll likely lead OSU in carries and yards again this week. We think it'll be all of the above, though.
Prediction #3 - Look for the Cowboy defense to sell out to stop the Jayhawk ground game. We think they'll have success in the sense of holding KU running back Jon Cornish at or below his average. At 118.3 yards per game, meeting that goal still allows giving up some yards on the ground.
Prediction #4 - Film review of the loss at K-State had to have revealed that the Cowboys could have done more in the passing game. We see Bobby Reid establishing a new season high in pass attempts - 22 at both Houston and K-State is the number to beat - and push close to his career high (29 vs. Colorado in 2005). That should bode well for his yardage numbers and those of top targets Adarius Bowman, D'Juan Woods and Brandon Pettigrew, but the prediction here is on attempts.
Prediction #5 - Going along with the above, it's time that D'Juan Woods finally breaks out of his senior slump. A half-dozen catches and stoppage of the drops that have plagued the active leading receiver for OSU would suffice to breakout of the funk he's been in.
Prediction #6 - KU's run game plays to linebacker Chris Collins' strengths, so look for him to lead the Pokes in tackles as he did at K-State.
Prediction #7 - Let us say right up front that we believe OSU has plenty of talent and skill to beat the Jayhawks. What they have yet to show in the Mike Gundy era is the ability to go on the road and beat a team that's in the same ballpark of their talent level. Until they show that, we'll have to go with a 24-20 KU win as the prediction. Unlike previous versions of our fearless predicitions, we'll be perfectly happy to eat some crow on this particular prediction.
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