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OU football: Meet the Sooners' opponent — Oklahoma State

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Oklahoma State helmet

An Oklahoma State University football helmet at Big 12 Media Days July 15.

The No. 7 Sooners' final regular-season game will be against a No. 21 Oklahoma  State (8-3, 5-3 Big 12) team that has star players Tylan Wallace and Spencer Sanders out with injuries.

Yet Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy has still led his team to an 8-3 record so far, and the Cowboys will arguably prove to be Oklahoma's toughest test of the season.

Here are some things to know about the Sooners' opponent — Oklahoma State: 

Head coach: Mike Gundy

Gundy has beaten the Sooners twice since his arrival as head coach in 2005 — once in Stillwater in 2011 and the other in Norman in 2014. His all-time record as a head coach is 129-62.

As a quarterback at Oklahoma State from 1986 to 1989, Gundy played alongside legendary running back Barry Sanders while accumulating 7,997 passing yards and 54 touchdowns.

Gundy's first coaching job was as an assistant for Oklahoma State before making stops at Baylor and Maryland as an assistant coach. He returned to the Cowboys as an offensive coordinator in 2001 before being named head coach in 2005.

Offense

Oklahoma State averages 246.1 rushing yards a game, good enough for 15th in the FBS. Almost all of that is thanks to running back Chuba Hubbard, who averages 166.5 yards a game, which leads the entire FBS.

Hubbard is also No. 1 in total rushing yards (1,832) and No. 2 in rushing touchdowns on the season (20) — three shy of Western Michigan running back Levante Bellamy's 23. 

It's no secret that OU's focus will be on who head coach Lincoln Riley called a "horse in the backfield." Oklahoma State will run the football heavily Saturday night. The Cowboys' leading receiver is still junior Tylan Wallace, who has caught for 903 yards, even though he's missed the last three games. His 903 is 369 yards above the next highest on the team, showing just how much Hubbard's ground game is needed.

Defense

Oklahoma State's defense — led by defensive coordinator Jim Knowles, now in his second season with the Cowboys — ranks No. 39 in rushing defense, allowing just 139 rushing yards a game. That statistic ranks second in the Big 12, right behind Iowa State's 125 average.

The Cowboys have garnered 12 interceptions and have forced seven fumbles this season so far.

Players to watch

Hubbard is the most dangerous running back in the nation, let alone the conference. Hubbard rushed for 104 yards and three touchdowns in Oklahoma State's 48-47 loss to the Sooners in Norman in 2018. A home-field advantage, along with the momentum of the best season of his career, will likely bolster how well he plays Saturday night.

Of the Cowboys' 12 interceptions, five of them come from safety Kolby Harvell-Peel. The sophomore has also tallied 62 total tackles and averages .5 picks per game, which is No. 6 in the FBS.

With Sanders out, senior quarterback Dru Brown will be the Cowboys' signal caller. In his first start, against West Virginia, Brown threw for 196 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Cowboys to a 20-13 win at West Virginia.

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Caleb McCourry is the assistant sports editor at The Daily and is a junior at OU majoring in English. He's covered football, basketball and volleyball. 

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