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In the modern Big 12, putting up big points makes all the difference, and Oklahoma State has been trending in the wrong direction for years. The Cowboys averaged 30.2 points in 2020, their lowest total since 2014, and head coach Mike Gundy knows that his team needs to get back on track to compete for a conference championship.
“[The offense] is going to score a lot of points,” Gundy told reporters. “We’re gonna score points. We’ve got guys to score points. I mean, we’re not gonna do anything different than we’ve ever done before, but we’re gonna score points.”
Luckily for Gundy and the Cowboys, third-year sophomore quarterback Spencer Sanders returns after a proper offseason without COVID restrictions, as does his offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn and his QB coach Tim Rattay. According to Gundy, Sanders has improved more as of late than all of his prior time on the team combined, which they’ll certainly lean on to compete with heavy favorites Oklahoma.
According to FanDuel Sportsbook, the Cowboys (+1200) sit in a tie for third best Big 12 odds with Texas and TCU at the same number. Oklahoma (-170) and Iowa State (+250) are the two favorites headed into the season, but because of the offensive explosiveness across the board in the conference, you know some high-scoring upsets are imminent.
Oklahoma State will have no shortage of weapons for Sanders to use, most notably senior wideout Tay Martin, who will replace All-American receiver Tylan Wallace, now with the Baltimore Ravens. The Cowboys will also have lots of strong options at running back. Gundy said he hopes to play three, maybe four guys at the position.
“The guys that we have, they share reps, they stay healthy, they can practice good the next week, and it’s better for their body in the long run,” Gundy said. “We’ve got some guys playing here, they could potentially make an NFL roster someday. So it’s good for them, physically, their career, and it’s good for us offensively to keep players healthy.”
Finally, to make some running room for their teammates and protect Sanders, three offensive line starters return, as well. Redshirt senior Josh Sills, redshirt junior Hunter Woodard and redshirt sophomore Jake Springfield all return, and State also brought in Miami (Ohio) transfer center Danny Godlevske as part of the 2021 signing class. Around six other lineman also return with in-game experience from last season, which means this Cowboys offense could be strong all around.
“I’m comfortable with where we’re at, I’m comfortable with this team, and their work ethic,” Gundy said. “And we have more depth that has a little bit of experience across the board than we’ve had a few years.”