Missouri State Bears (0-0) vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (0-0)
September 4, 2021 7:00 pm EDT
The Line: Oklahoma State Cowboys -36.5 / Missouri State Bears +36.5; Over/Under: 51.5
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The Oklahoma State Cowboys meet the Missouri State Bears in week 1 college football action from Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday.
The Missouri State Bears come into the 2021 fall season looking to make some noise after a fairly successful season last year, dropping all three fall games but going 5-5 in the spring, including a 5-1 mark in Missouri Valley conference play, finishing tied for first in the conference and earning the team’s first playoff bid since 1990. The Bears fell 44-10 to rival North Dakota in the playoffs, but the team exceeded expectations by a mile in Bobby Petrino’s first season with the Bears. Jaden Johnson returns after splitting time with Matt Struck under center last season. Struck is gone but in comes former Utah State Aggie Jason Shelley, who threw for 420 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 picks with the Aggies before being dismissed from the team last fall. The Bears raided the transfer portal for new faces on the offense, including Central Michigan transfer Tyrone Scott and FAU transfer Terique Owens, the son of hall of famer Terrell Owens. Missouri State also gets Kevon Latulas back after playing in the three fall games before being ruled ineligible for the spring season. Defensively, the Bears get some solid pieces back like Kevin Ellis and Eric Johnson up front, Tylar Wiltz at linebacker and Montrae Braswell and Kyriq McDonald in the secondary. As a team, Missouri State averaged 17.5 PPG while allowing 26.8 PPG last season.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys come into the 2021 season looking to build off of a decent 2020 season that saw the Cowboys finish 8-3 overall including 6-3 in Big 12 conference play. That earned the Cowboys an invite to the Cheez-It Bowl where Oklahoma State took down Miami by a final score of 37-34. Spencer Sanders is back at QB after throwing for over 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns in an injury-marred 2020 season. Sanders will have to cut down the interceptions and he loses his top targets in Dillon Stoner and Tylan Wallace, but Braydon Johnson returns after logging 245 receiving yards as is former Washington State transfer Tay Martin. Dezmon Jackson and J.D. Brown are in after combining for close to 1,000 yards and it only gets better with the addition of Jaylen Warren from Utah State. Defensively, there’s some pieces to work with from a group that allowed 21 points or less six times and was the best in the country in 3rd down defense as well as in the Big 12 in terms of the pass rush. Trace Ford and Tyler Lacy anchor the pass rush with Sione Asi and Israel Antwine solidifying the group in the middle. Malcolm Rodriguez headlines the linebacking group and Devin Harper will be a solid piece to replace Amen Ogbongbemiga, while Tre Sterling, Kolby Harvell-Peel Tanner McCalister and Jarrick Bernard-Converse making up the bulk of the starting secondary. As a team, Oklahoma State averaged 30.2 PPG and allowed 23.5 PPG last season.
Missouri State is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 Saturday road games while the over is 5-2 in their last 7 games overall. Oklahoma State is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games and 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Saturday games while the under is 11-4 in their last 15 games overall.
This is a bit of a tricky one as Missour State definitely exceeded expectations in the spring. However, OKlahoma State is shaping up to be a beast once again and this game gives Spencer Sanders some time to work out his new chemistry with the new targets and I think this ends up boiling down to Oklahoma State being the better team at home. Give me the Cowboys here and lay the points.