No. 6 Oklahoma State, the only undefeated team in the topsy-turvy, COVID-19-influenced Big 12 Conference, will look to cement its place as one of the nation's top squads Saturday afternoon when it hosts enigmatic Texas in Stillwater, Oklahoma.
The Cowboys (4-0, 3-0 Big 12) head into Saturday's dustup on the heels of a 24-21 home victory over No. 21 Iowa State that kept them atop the Big 12 with Kansas State. The game was Oklahoma State's first since Oct. 3 after its Oct. 17 contest with Baylor was postponed after the Bears reported a COVID outbreak on their team.
This is OSU's first 4-0 start since 2015.
"We are playing good football but we need to play better," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said Monday. "We still have a few more mistakes in games than I would want. We have to minimize those mistakes whether it is turnovers, penalty yards, or momentum swings."
Gundy said the Cowboys acknowledged that facing the Longhorns, does mean a little more.
"Our players enjoy that game," Gundy said. "It's just a game, but because of location and the history of their organization, it becomes a little bit bigger to the people in the state of Oklahoma."
Oklahoma State's defense has allowed just 12 points per game, fourth best among teams that have played more than three games. Texas' offense has averaged 45 points, so something has to give.
After consecutive losses to TCU and Oklahoma, the Longhorns (3-2, 2-2 Big 12) dropped from No. 8 to unranked and on the outer edges of the Big 12 race, but rebounded for a 26-17 home win over Baylor last Saturday.
To stay relevant, the Longhorns need a statement win against Oklahoma State.
"I think we're headed towards our 'A' game, and hopefully we can show up and deliver that in Stillwater because we're going to need it," Texas coach Tom Herman said Monday. "We've got it in us. I know we do. We've been building towards it, for sure.
"We are for certain a work in progress, but we made a lot a lot of strides in that bye week leading up to Baylor," Herman added. "I expect us to continue on our trajectory north for improvement and development and, hopefully, give Oklahoma State our best shot."
This is the 35th time the two teams have played (with the Longhorns holding a 25-9 all-time edge). Oklahoma State has won four of the past five meetings and seven of its last 10 games with the Longhorns, but Texas won 36-30 last year in Austin.
Texas hasn't won in Stillwater since 2014.
--Field Level Media