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December 31, 2012

Matchup Preview: Purdue-Oklahoma State





GoldandBlack.com breaks down how Purdue and Oklahoma State might match up Tuesday, when the Boilermakers and Cowboys meet in the Heart of Dallas Bowl.

When Purdue's running ...

If Purdue's passing game is working, it'll open up running opportunities, but Oklahoma State's defense is strong up the middle, and that's where Purdue found much of its success late in the season, adopting more of a downhill running approach.

It will be really interesting to see how the Boilermakers attack the Cowboys, whether they open it up and wing it around or play with a more physical, between-the-tackles approach.

Purdue ran the ball very well at the end of the regular season, particularly when Ralph Bolden was at full strength. Is he again?

Advantage: Oklahoma State (very slight)

When Purdue's passing ...

On paper, Oklahoma State's pass defense looks awful, but it has had its moments, including a game in which it stymied Texas Tech's prolific pass attack in an emphatic win.

On paper, Purdue's passing attack looks just OK, but it's had its moments as well, particularly at the end of the regular season.

Purdue is trending upward in this phase of the game heading into a game with an opponent that gave up more than 500 passing yards in an overtime loss to Oklahoma.

Oklahoma State's pass-defense numbers are inflated by the nature of its conference and the fact opponents have had to try to keep up with the high-scoring Cowboy offense, but at times it has been absolutely shredded.

Robert Marve has given Purdue some of the best quarterback play it's gotten in years since taking over the starting position all to himself. Most importantly, he's not turned the ball over.

Advantage: Purdue (decided)

When Oklahoma State is running ...

The Cowboys hurt teams through the air, but even more so on the ground, where they have an NFL running back and running threats from the quarterback position, where part-time QB J.W. Walsh ran for seven scores this season.

Running back Joseph Randle is right up there with Montee Ball, etc., as the best back Purdue will have seen all year.

Purdue will have to win the line of scrimmage, which won't be easy given the relentless tempo of the Cowboy offense, assuming coordinator changes don't slow it down.

Purdue's conditioning after a nearly month-long lay-off with be put to the ultimate test here.

Advantage: Oklahoma State (decided)

When Oklahoma State is passing ...

Much like Indiana did, Oklahoma State will put constant pressure on Purdue's defense, all over the field.

The loss of coordinator Todd Monken might change things some, but there's a reason the Cowboys have kept racking up huge passing numbers even after losing first-round picks seemingly every season.

Oklahoma State QBs will present dual threats to Purdue's defense, but the passing game can be lethal.

Josh Stewart is a stud at receiver, a quick and sneaky little slot receiver who's caught nearly a hundred balls for nearly 1,200 yards.

Advantage: Oklahoma State (slight)

Special teams

Purdue has its return game back to full strength with Raheem Mostert back to join Akeem Hunt on kickoff return. But, Oklahoma State has a three-time All-America kicker who does everything. The Cowboys are excellent in the kicking game.

Oklahoma State kicker Quinn Sharpe has made 80 percent of his field goals; pinned 15 of his 41 punts inside the 15; and put two-thirds of his kickoffs into the end zone. He's a stud and coming off a streak in which he's made 14 of his last 15 field goals.

Advantage: Oklahoma State (slight)

Intangibles

Both teams have experienced some coaching instability, with Purdue down both a head coach and its offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach and Oklahoma State losing OC Todd Monken to the head coaching job at Southern Miss. At Purdue, Patrick Higgins is essentially serving as interim head coach, offensive coordinator, receivers coach and quarterbacks coach. ... The Cowboys are playing just four hours from their campus in the central hub of Big 12 country, so fan turnout could lean in its favor, if that matters one bit. ... From a motivation standpoint, Oklahoma State was disappointed to land in Dallas, as the Big 12's fourth-place team playing in the conference's eighth-tier bowl. Purdue's season didn't go as hoped, but it might be excited just to be anywhere after having to win three in a row just to qualify for the postseason. ... The spread in the Cowboys' favor in the most one-sided of this bowl season. Oklahoma State is generally considered a two-and-a-half-touchdown favorite.




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Copyright, Boilers, Inc. 2012. All Rights Reserved. Reproducing or using editorial or graphical content, in whole or in part, without permission, is strictly prohibited. E-mail GoldandBlack.com/Boilers, Inc.

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