Iowa State football: Oklahoma State Cowboys lookahead


Oct 20, 2012; Stillwater OK, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys tight end Justin Horton (14) carries the ball during the first quarter Iowa State Cyclones linebacker A.J. Klein (47) and Iowa State Cyclones defensive back Jacques Washington (10) at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Richard Rowe-USA TODAY Sports

Regardless of what happens this season, the week against the Oklahoma State Cowboys will focus on the rematch of what happened two seasons ago. They’ll be back for revenge against a team that knocked them out of a national championship berth.

2012 Oklahoma State recap

Any hopes of national title contention were quickly dashed after giving up 59 points to Arizona, and the team continued to struggle defensively against the more prominent offenses in the Big 12. That’s largely in thanks to their offense that runs nearly 79 plays per game. The quarterback position rotated with three different quarterbacks that passed for over 1,000 yards each, and the offense thrived with whatever quarterback they had.

It helped with the stability at running back, where Joseph Randle was nearly impossible to bring down at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds. He had 274 carries for nearly 1,500 yards and had 14 touchdowns.

Projecting the Cowboys

Quarterback Wes Lunt is out of the picture, but the other two, junior Clint Chelf and freshman J.W. Walsh, established themselves a bit more during the season. The passing attack won’t slow down despite a wide mixture of coordinators changing positions — especially in picking up offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich.

The biggest change will be life after Randle, but Jeremy Smith will provide just as much size and will copy how the former running back helped out the team last season. Defensively, the team should be better with more experience in the secondary, but don’t expect major improvements as they’ll likely be seeing the field more often than the offense.

In a good way.

Early analysis

There’s no question that the Cowboys will be one of the favorites to win the conference next season, and Iowa State had no answer for Randle last season in Stillwater. It could be another rough battle against Smith if the defensive line hasn’t established themselves at this point in the season. This will also present the Cyclones’ biggest challenge at the secondary position this season, save for possibly David Ash being improved at Texas.