Last Thursday saw plenty of pigskin action taking place on campuses around the nation, but in week two we have just one game to feast our eyes on, and it’s a good one.
#9 Oklahoma State (1-0) vs. Arizona (1-0)
8 p.m. ESPN (3D), ESPN3.com
It may be a future conference match-up in 2012 or 2013, but for now all Oklahoma State and Arizona are paired up in is a potential shootout between non-conference foes.
Rumors surrounding a number of Big 12 teams will provide some interesting conversations this weekend and beyond but Mike Gundy’s team will need to stay focused on this weekend’s match-up with the dangerous Arizona Wildcats. Arizona will be thinking about revenge in Stillwater after Oklahoma State blew away Arizona 36-10 in the Alamo Bowl last December. Arizona turned the ball over four times in that game, which means fans watching should expect Arizona to pay attention to their ball control in this week two contest.
The passing game will be on display for both teams Thursday night. Oklahoma State’s Brandon Weeden is among the best in the country and he has one of the best wide receivers in the game to throw to in Justin Blackmon. Blackmon was on the receiving end of eight passes for 144 yards as the Biletnikoff favorite got off to a quick start this season. Weeden completed 24 of his 39 attempts in a blowout win against Louisiana-Lafayette for 388 yards and three touchdowns. He was intercepted three times in the game. Two of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns. He will have to cut down on against Arizona, a team that has the ability to play some decent defense.
“There were a number of things that the players have confidence in,” said new Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken. “We’re going to continue to do what we feel like gives us the best chance to move the ball. … There’s a number of things that they did in the past that I think, as I’ve said many times, we’d be silly to change.”
“He’s mature enough to know what was going on,” Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said. “He’ll do just fine. If there’s a lesson to be learned, then now is the time.”
Arizona quarterback Nick Foles will see Weeden’s numbers and raise them. Foles completed 34 of 42 passes for 412 yards and five touchdowns in a week one 41-10 win against FCS Northern Arizona. “Nick was terrific,” Arizona head coach Mike Stoops said.
“Nick has to do that. Our offense is geared to throw the ball first.”
Arizona will likely be without Juron Criner, one of the top receivers in the Pac 12. Criner accounted for 151 yards on six catches against Northern Arizona, a brilliant season debut after leading the Pac-10 in receiving in 2010. Arizona Daily Star’s Ryan Finley reports (via Twitter) that Criner is not healthy enough to play and could not confirm if the receiver traveled with the team. Criner missed a couple of practices due to illness this week.
Stats of Note
Arizona and Oklahoma State are a combined 14 of 15 in the red zone. And it’s only week two.
Arizona coach Mike Stoops is 14-22 on the road. He is also 4-10 vs. top ten teams and 8-20 against top 25 teams.
Oklahoma State has won five of the last six meetings against current Pac-12 opponents, dating back to 2008. The Cowboys defeated Washington State (39-13) and Colorado (30-17) in 2008, Colorado (31-28) in 2009, and Washington State (65-17) and Arizona (Alamo Bowl, 36-10) in 2010. Oklahoma State lost to Oregon (42-31) in the 2008 Holiday Bowl and did not play Colorado last season.
Oklahoma State 42, Arizona 38
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