Cowboys continue to rise in polls as they face a non-conference rematch from a year ago
Who: Pittsburgh Panthers
When: Saturday, September 16, 2017 @11 a.m. CT
Where: Heinz Field, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
How to watch: ESPN
Scouting: Coming off a 33-14 loss to #4 Penn State, the 1-1 Panthers come into the game trying to bounce back and get some revenge after the Cowboys 45-38 win last year. This Pitt team is not the same from a year ago after losing star running back James Conner and quarterback Nathan Peterman. Replacing those two is back-up running back turned starter, Quadree Henderson who rushed for 95 yards on seven carries in last year’s game; Senior Max Browne takes the snaps now.
After being the 10th best scoring offense a year ago, the Panthers sit outside the top 100 in the country in points per game and have dropped 61 spots nationally in yards per game.
On the other side of the ball, the panthers are giving up about 100 less yards a game than last year, however they continue to struggle against the big play. The Panthers have already given up five plays this season of 30+ yards, which ranks 93rd in the nation; a year after being one of the worst teams against plays of 30 or more yards from scrimmage.
If Oklahoma State wants to win this game handly, the big play, either a long run or deep ball, will have to continue to be its bread and butter. The Cowboys lead the country in plays of 30 or more yards with 10 so far this season. Utilizing the connection of Rudolph to his deep receiving corps or the offensive line opening a big hole for one of the Cowboy running backs will be key to winning inside the NFL stadium.
If OSU continues to play as well as it has recently and the defense takes care of its job slowing down this already lackluster offense, then the outcome shouldn’t be as close as last year.