Oklahoma State Cowboys Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State Cowboys Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players

College Football Features

Oklahoma State Cowboys Preview 2022: Season Prediction, Breakdown, Key Games, Players


Oklahoma State Cowboys Preview 2022: Offense

The offense was more than fine, and it closed large with a fantastic rally to push past Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl. It might have statistically been in the middle of the road compared to the rest of the Big 12, but the pass protection was great, the passing game was steady, and it got the job done with the defense doing the heavy lifting.

There might not be a ton of national star power, but it should be more of the same with good explosion, a decent balance, and enough experience to be at last as good as last year’s version.

Spencer Sanders is back at quarterback after earning First Team All-Big 12 honors, throwing for over 2,800 yards with 20 touchdowns to go along with 664 rushing yards and six scores.

He might have melted down with four picks in the Big 12 Championship loss to Baylor, but he made up for it with a brilliant 371-yard, four score day in the win over the Irish.

Backup Shane Illingworth is off to Nevada, but top recruit Garret Rangel and coach’s son Gunnar Gundy will get plenty of backup work.

So who’s the next great Oklahoma State receiver? Tay Martin is done after catching 80 passes and ten of the 23 touchdown throws. Brennan Presley is a quick playmaker and fantastic return man who caught 50 passes, and now leads a loaded group – seven of the top eight receivers are back.

The offensive front that was so good in pass protection should be okay, even if there isn’t another Josh Sills-level star. Three starters are back, and there’s enough versatility to move things where needed.

Hunter Woodard is a good guard to work around on the right side, and Caleb Etienne will be solid at either tackle spot.

Top running back Jaylen Warren is done, and Dezmon Jackson left for Sam Houston State. Sanders is one of the team’s most dangerous runners, but it’s Dominic Richardson and Jaden Nixon who’ll take over the workload.

Oklahoma State Cowboys Preview 2022: Defense

Former Vanderbilt head coach Derek Mason is taking over the defensive coordinator duties. No pressure, but all he has to do is keep it all going with a defense that was No. 1 in the nation in sacks, second in tackles for loss, and led the Big 12 in total and scoring D.

The top four tacklers are gone. big-time safety Tanner McCalister is off to Ohio State, and …

The defense is going to be fantastic, starting with what should be a loaded defensive front.

The Cowboys lived in the backfield averaging four sacks per game. Everyone’s going to eat.

There might be a few places with more talented defensive ends, but it’ll be hard to match the production of this group.

Collin Oliver led the team with 10.5 sacks, but the young end will have to share time with NFL-caliber talent Trace Ford back from a knee injury, and Tyler Lacy and Brock Martin are back after combining for 12.5 sacks.

The tackles aren’t quite as nasty, but the combination of 320-pound Sione Asi and 295-pound Brendon Evers will hold their own.

Losing star LB Malcolm Rodriguez is a problem even with the talent back at linebacker. Texas Tech/JUCO transfer Xavier Benson will make a ton of stops at one spot, and the position will crank up the stats next to him with a good rotation, likely starting with 230-pound Mason Cobb.

Again, McCalister is gone, and good-hitting safety Jarrick Barnard-Converse took off for LSU. Fortunately, Jason Taylor is a good one returning to one spot, and Jabbar Muhammad is a keeper at one corner.

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