Louisiana (2-0) at Oklahoma State (1-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 15, 12:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Boone Pickens Stadium (60,218) -- Stillwater, Oklahoma. Television: FSN. Home Record: UL 1-0, OSU 1-0. Away Record: UL 1-0, OSU 0-1. Neutral Record: UL 0-0, OSU 0-0. Conference Record: UL 1-0, OSU 0-0. Series Record: Oklahoma State leads, 7-0.
GAME NOTES: After tumbling out of the national rankings this week, the Oklahoma State Cowboys will try to get back on track when they welcome the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns to Boone Pickens Stadium for a non-conference clash.
Oklahoma State rolled to an 84-0 win over FCS school Savannah State in its opener two weekends ago, but the team followed that up with an ugly 59-38 setback at Arizona last Saturday. During his weekly press conference, head coach Mike Gundy said he took it as a positive that his players were down from the loss, and that he expects the team to work hard throughout the week and come out with a much better showing. This contest kicks off a key stretch that will see the Cowboys play four of their next five at home.
Louisiana went on the road and beat Troy, 37-24, to hand the Trojans their first loss in a home opener in more than two decades. Although the Ragin' Cajuns are 2-0, they have seen their starting running back and their starting quarterback both succumb to injuries in each of the first two games.
OSU has won all seven previous meetings in the series with UL.
Cowboys freshman quarterback Wes Lunt has had some ups and downs through his first two games. He completed all 11 of his pass attempts against Savannah State, then last week he completed 37-of-60 throws for 436 yards and four touchdowns. However, he was also intercepted three times, including one on a tipped pass on OSU's final drive. All four of his touchdown passes went to Tracy Moore, who finished with 106 yards on eight catches.
Joseph Randle paced the ground attack with 123 yards on 23 carries. The Cowboys lost despite posting 636 yards of total offense, and through two weeks they lead the nation with an average of 659 yards per outing.
After jumping out to an early 14-0 lead, Oklahoma State surrendered 30 straight points and committed penalty after penalty. The defense had no answer for Arizona's Ka'Deem Carey, who ran for 126 yards and helped seal the outcome with a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown runs. He scored four touchdowns in all, while the Wildcats rolled up 32 first downs and 501 yards of total offense. Arizona scored on all eight of its trips to the red zone, including five touchdowns.
Senior linebacker Alex Elkins led the way for OSU with a game-high 15 tackles in the loss. The Cowboy defense must now prepare for a UL offense that plays two quarterbacks, both of whom like to pull the ball down and run.
UL running back Montrel Carter suffered a season-ending knee injury in a 40-0 win over Lamar in the opener. His injury paved the way for Alonzo Harris to return to the starting lineup, and Harris came through with 137 rushing yards and a touchdown against Troy. Quarterback Terrance Broadway also took advantage of an injury as he replaced starter Blaine Gautier in the first quarter after Gautier left the game with a rib injury. Broadway completed 10- of-16 passes for 143 yards and a TD, and he also rushed for 43 yards on eight carries. Gautier is considered probable for Saturday's game, although Broadway certainly showed he can get the job done when given the chance.
Despite posting only 15 first downs and being out-gained by nearly 200 total yards, the offense made plays when it counted and scored on all six trips to the red zone. Just as important, the Ragin' Cajuns also avoided turnovers.
After forcing five turnovers a week earlier, the Cajuns won the turnover battle again last Saturday with an interception and a pair of fumble recoveries. The Cajuns did surrender 34 first downs and 588 yards of total offense, although they held Troy to just 17 points until late in the fourth quarter.
The pass defense is certainly a concern as the team gets ready to face the Cowboys and their top-ranked offense. Troy's Corey Robinson completed 46-of-70 passes for 485 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Despite dropping back 70 times, he was only sacked once. Jermarlo Moten had a busy day, registering a game-high 11 tackles to go along with two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
The Cowboys inflicted a lot of damage on themselves in last week's loss, as they committed 15 penalties for a school-record loss of 167 yards. Still, they were within two points late in the third quarter. If they can clean up those miscues and play with more discipline, they should be able to move the ball rather easily against UL's defense in this one.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Oklahoma State 52, Louisiana 24
09/12 11:10:18 ET