By Nathan Keil | Sports Editor
This week in preparation for Baylor’s matchup with No. 14 Oklahoma State, the Lariat spoke with Dekota Gregory, sports editor for the O’Colly, OSU’s student newspaper. Gregory said that despite the Sept. 23 loss to TCU, Oklahoma State is still confident in its ability to achieve its season goals and that confidence begins with senior quarterback Mason Rudolph.
Q: Just a few weeks ago, Oklahoma State was in the running for a Big 12 championship, College Football Playoff, the top contender to knock Oklahoma off its pedestal at the top of the conference. After a home loss to TCU and getting pushed on the road by Texas Tech, what is the confidence level of the team heading into the Baylor matchup, a team the Cowboys haven’t beaten since 2013?
A: Talking to quarterback Mason Rudolph, it seems like the team still has a lot of confidence and still believes that all their goals are still possible. Obviously TCU is now in the driver’s seat, but with OU’s loss, the second spot in the Big 12 championship game is wide open. OSU more than likely needs to win out to accomplish what it wants, but the Cowboys have enough talent to beat everyone on their roster.
Q: Much of the talk surrounding the Cowboys this season has been around quarterback Mason Rudolph and wide receiver James Washington, but what other offensive weapons does Baylor’s defense need to watch out for?
A: Justice Hill might be the best running back in the Big 12 and gives OSU a threat through the air and on the ground. As for the passing game, there’s a lot of talent outside of Rudolph and Washington with receivers Marcell Ateman, Jalen McCleskey and Tyron Johnson.
Q: Baylor’s offense has found its stride a little bit more over the last few weeks, especially with wide receivers Denzel Mims and Pooh Stricklin. What is the defensive approach from the Cowboys going to look like this weekend? Will they try to mix coverages and blitzes to try to confuse Zach Smith?
A: The defense has been the Cowboys’ biggest weak spot, especially the young corners. As a big underdog, that matchup might be Baylor’s best chance to keep the game close and have a chance at the end.
Q: What is the perception of the coaching job that Matt Rhule has done so far this season, despite the 0-5 record?
A: From an outsider’s perspective, the main issues seemed to be off the field, and while the record may not look good right now, I think Rhule has bigger problems to fix first. He proved in the past that he can win football games, so I imagine wins will eventually come.
Q: Will Oklahoma State end its three-game losing streak to Baylor this weekend? What will the score be?
A: I believe Rudolph will get his first win against Baylor on Saturday. Just like most games OSU is in, I think it’ll be a shootout, which is why if I had to predict a score it’d be 48-27.
Baylor (0-5, 0-2) squares off against No. 14 Oklahoma State (4-1,1-1) at 2:30 p.m. at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Okla. The Cowboys are a 25.5 point favorite. The game will air on FS1.