OSU takes on UTSA: Things to watch for Saturday

Posted at 4:29 PM, Sep 18, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-18 17:29:07-04

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph is ready for his next test after showing some flashes of brilliance mixed in with some mistakes in his first career home game.

The Cowboys (2-0) host UTSA (0-2) on Saturday in their first game since cracking the rankings at No. 25.

Watch Big Al's take on the game in the video player above.

Despite some inconsistency, Rudolph threw for a career-high 401 yards and two touchdowns in last week's 32-8 win over Central Arkansas. He completed 23 of his 35 attempts and was picked off once.

It was the first time since 2012 an Oklahoma State quarterback hit the 400-yard mark and just the 13th time in school history.

"After the game, I said he had missed six throws; he only missed three throws," said Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy, a former quarterback. "Three were poor routes that our receivers had run. Missing three or four throws is fairly common for a quarterback that's going to throw the ball 35 or 40 times a game."

The Cowboys believe UTSA will be their toughest opponent so far, and Rudolph is eager for the challenge.

"They're a good team that's played a couple of other good teams these first two games, so we're going to prepare hard for them," Rudolph said of UTSA. "We have to focus on ourselves, make adjustments, and correct mistakes from the previous week to get better."

The Roadrunners lost to No. 20 Arizona 42-32 and 30-3 to Kansas State in a game that was 13-3 entering the fourth quarter.

For UTSA coach Larry Coker, who intentionally puts his program through a difficult pre-conference schedule, staying close with Power Five opponents isn't good enough.

"No moral victories, we're out here to compete, to win," said Coker, whose team plays in Conference USA. "I like our schedule, it's tough. Guys came here and they want to play big-time football and that's what we're doing."

Some things to watch for on Saturday:

RUNNING TIME: As productive as Oklahoma State's passing game was last week, its ground attack struggled to make an impact until the game was pretty much already decided. The Cowboys gained just 73 yards on 21 rushes through three quarters, before closing with 91 yards on 14 carries in the fourth quarter. "Too many negative yardage plays," said offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. "We've got to be more effective in the run game."

PASSING FANCY: UTSA passed the ball well against Arizona, and could have some success in that area against an Oklahoma State defense that has given up 393 yards through the air, just 64th in the nation in passing defense. Freshman QB Blake Bogenschutz threw for 332 yards and two touchdowns in that game, while senior receiver David Morgan II recorded nine receptions for 109 yards and a score. "If we execute our offense better, we'll put some points on the board and maybe pull one of these ballgames out," Bogenschutz said. "We're excited about the opportunity."

GLIDDEN STEPPING UP: Cowboys senior receiver David Glidden enjoyed a big day last weekend against Central Arkansas, recording four receptions for a career-high 145 yards and two touchdowns. "Every time I catch it, I just try to get it rolling and pick up as much green as possible," said Glidden, who led the Cowboys with 42 receptions last year for 598 yards and two TDs. "I don't want to be a dancer or a guy that prances around."

STUDENT VS. MENTOR: Coker served as Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator for seven seasons, including all four while Gundy was the school's quarterback from 1986-89. Gundy considers him one of his mentors. "He's a guy who's a class act, who's always done things the right way," said Gundy, who has defeated Coker in each of their two prior meetings against each other. "Mike's been an outstanding coach, and it's just really thrill for me to see a guy like that doing well," Coker said.

KICK ME: Both teams have endured some struggles in the kicking game. UTSA's Daniel Portillo missed a PAT and two field goal attempts (from 33 and 44 yards) against Arizona, while OSU's Ben Grogan missed field goal attempts of 42 and 26 yards against Central Michigan on Sept. 3, and then had back-to-back PAT attempts blocked against Central Arkansas.