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Staff Predictions: Texas - OK State

The Longhorns start their conference slate Saturday night in one of the toughest places to play in the Big 12.

Mack Brown's Longhorns will get their toughest test so far this season Saturday night in Stillwater.

Texas comes into the game riding high after its 66 point outburst against Ole Miss two weeks ago while Oklahoma State comes in with questions at quarterback, where J.W. Walsh will start for the injured Wes Lunt, and on defense, a group that allowed 59 points to Arizona earlier this year.

The Longhorns aren't without concerns, though. Jordan Hicks will be a big loss at linebacker on a defense that hasn't played up to expectations yet. And they'll be playing an Oklahoma State offense that leads the nation with over 62 points per game.

Can the Horns do enough to get a win in Boone Pickens Stadium? See what the staff thinks in this week's staff predictions.

I think Texas may be walking into a trap. The Horns are overly confident about the offense and the defense just isn't producing. J.W. Walsh exacts revenge on Mack Brown for not recruiting him. In the end, the Cowboys are the ones who have been winning more lately and this Texas team is still learning how. OSU kicker Quinn Sharp will be the difference.
Oklahoma State 31, Texas 30

I've gone back and forth on this game, mainly because of J.W. Walsh's ability as a runner and to make plays with his legs once the play breaks down. But that's in part why I'm picking Texas to win because when you look at Manny Diaz's track record he's got a great history of defending dual threat quarterbacks. At Mississippi State his defense held Cam Newton to his lowest production of the season and they dominated Denard Robinson in their bowl game. Texas also had success defending Collin Klein and Ryan Tannehill last season, and they did great job on Bo Wallace two weeks ago. Walsh is talented, but I've got a feeling Diaz will try to bait the redshirt freshman in to some errant plays early, and I think he's got a good chance of it working since Walsh hasn't seen exotic blitz looks like Diaz will throw at him. That's the matchup to watch in this one, and as long as Walsh doesn't make a ton of things happen the Longhorns have more horses in their stable and should produce enough points to come away with a win.
Texas 31, Oklahoma State 24

This is a tough game to predict because I don't know which teams are going to show up. Both teams have shown their dominance and both have have exposed their vulnerabilities. On paper, Oklahoma State can not match up with all of the explosive talent Texas has. Unfortunately, the game will not be played on paper but rather the hostile confines of Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater. However, Texas has been very successful against Okie State in Stillwater so I will go with odds.
Texas 38, Oklahoma State 20

If Texas were fully healthy I would be more confident in the Horns getting out of Stillwater with a win. I think the likelihood of not having Jordan Hicks, one of the key leaders on defense, will be a big loss to a group that has already had issues with communication. Turnovers will decide this one, bottom line. This will be by far the toughest environment David Ash has played in (his only away starts so far have been at Missouri in 2011 and at Ole Miss two weeks ago), and going further, only four Texas starters won't be experiencing Stillwater for the first time. On the other hand, Oklahoma State's J.W. Walsh is making his first collegiate start, and he'll be doing it against one of the conference's best defenses. Both of these defenses emphasize the takeaway as much as anybody. You can look at the battle in the trenches as a key to the game, but whichever team makes fewer mistakes will be your winner. I think that team will be Texas.
Texas 28, Oklahoma State 21

Oklahoma State has a terrific offensive staff and scheme. They also have a number of talented players on the offensive side of the ball, so the Cowboys will definitely score points on the Texas defense. While Oklahoma State will score, the ability of quarterback J.W. Walsh to play turnover-free football will be key in having and keeping potential home crowd momentum. This game, for me, comes down to the Texas offense and kicking game. If the offense continues to grind in the running game, and make plays in the passing game, scoring around 40 points in Stillwater is not out of the question. David Ash got away with some late deep balls in the win over Ole Miss, and that scenario may not play out with catches and scores this week. If the game comes down to a field goal outside of 38-40 yards, however, advantage Oklahoma State. At the end of the day, I think Texas just has a better team this season, even without Jordan Hicks.
Texas 38, Oklahoma State 31

Just like almost everyone, I’ve had mixed feelings on this game. I’ve gone back and forth, but in the end, I just think that there is too much talent and determination on this Texas team.  The defense has to finally show up consistently at some point and this might very well be that game, even if they don’t have their original starting 11.  Offensively, I look for David Ash and Co. to get the ball rolling from the get go. Oklahoma State’s defense isn’t anything to write home about and, as long as Texas’ offense takes care of the football, they should have no problem putting up points. People always talk about how tough and loud Boone Pickens Stadium is, but the last time Texas lost there, David Ash was about five years old.
Texas 48, Oklahoma State 39

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