Oklahoma State kicks off its 2021 campaign with a visit from Missouri State this Saturday night. After a truncated, and somewhat disappointing, 2020 season the Cowboys have high hopes and plenty to prove in 2021. And that all starts this weekend.
Here are our picks and predictions for OSU’s Week 1 contest.
Final Score: Oklahoma State 49, Missouri State 7
Offensive Player of the Game: Dezmon Jackson — I think Jackson will end up in that sweet spot where he gets a majority of the carries with the game getting out of hand. He already showed his big game potential with his 235-yard, three-three touchdown performance against Tech last season.
Defensive Player of the Game: Tyler Lacy — too big, too athletic and too powerful for FCS foes.
A Successful Season Opener Means: Health for all with a good amount of the Cowboys’ younger players getting rewarded for the grind of fall camp.
Final Score: Oklahoma State 42, Missouri State 17
Offensive Player of the Game: I’m going Dezmon Jackson here as well. The spread on this game is going to be several dozen, most likely, so I expect a heavy dosage of ground-and-pound as OSU tries to eat clock — while also trying to establish some confidence in a retooled offensive line unit. No better way to accomplish both than by running the bell cow.
Defensive Player of the Game: Malcolm Rodriguez. FBS speed matched against FCS speed will make him look like a bulked-up Tyreek Hill played at linebacker. Probably finishes as the leading tackler in this one and he’s got a habit of being around the football.
A Successful Season Opener Means: … that the game is not particularly close and OSU clearly outclasses Missouri State. I don’t expect OSU to throw everything at Missouri State to win a game it’s expected to rather handily, but the Pokes should look significantly better than their FCS foe in a no-doubt-about-it type win. It’s too early in the season to be introducing the Cardiac Cowboys.
Final Score: Oklahoma State 35, Missouri State 10
Offensive Player of the Game: Leading rusher will probably be a crap shoot, from a week-to-week basis, but I’m going to go with Jaylen Warren. I just have a feeling he gives OSU fans something to be excited about in his BPS debut.
Defensive Player of the Game: Trace Ford. Let the comeback campaign begin. I hope No. 94 doesn’t have to spend too much on the field Saturday, but I also know he can make an impact quick.
A Successful Season Opener Means: Everyone comes out healthy. The Cowboys offense was bitten — hard and multiple times — by the injury bug early in 2020. Just win comfortably and let yours starters rest.
• Kickoff: 6 p.m. Saturday
• Location: Boone Pickens Stadium, Stillwater, Okla.
• Channel: ESPN+