Tomorrow, K-State will take on their true arch-nemesis. Oklahoma State is certainly not the arch-rival; that honor goes to That School Down the River. But there is no conference game which so consistently angers Wildcat faithful. K-State fans never feel good after a game with the Cowboys, regardless of the outcome.
To discuss what to expect tomorrow, we touched base with Micah Allen (@micahallen18), who contributes to our sister site Cowboys Ride for Free in addition to her duties as a staff reporter for the O’Colly, Oklahoma State’s student paper.
Jon: The Mike Gundy saga has been some pretty entertaining popcorn viewing over the last decade. With his antics over the last couple of seasons, just how much do you guys love him now?
Micah: Oh, we are head over heels in love. Maybe get a bit frustrated at times with him in-game, but you gotta love him for better or for worse. He's not only hilarious with his snake hunting and the mullet, but he loves his players and this university. You don't get a lot of coaches that have both of those things. And he's a rad dancer.
Jon: Losing to TCU early had to have hurt, but with the implementation of the Big 12 Stupid December Game, that wasn't a critical blow. Losing Bedlam, on the other hand, puts the Cowboys on the outside looking in and praying for help. Is the season a disappointment, or can OSU fans look at the overall picture and be okay with the result?
Micah: We at CRFF talked at the beginning of the season about how anything less than going to the Big 12 Championship would be a disappointment. This team is one of the best Oklahoma State has had in a long time, and if there was a season where there was the slightest possibility of going to the National Championship game it was this one. Fans are getting sick of talented teams having 10-2 or 9-3 seasons. This year they had the talent to do better and it just didn't happen.
Jon: Y'all have some serious players on offense. Mason Rudolph, Justice Hill, James Washington, Marcell Ateman, Jalen McCleskey... these are guys who need no introduction. Other than those guys, who should Wildcat fans be keeping an eye on?
Micah: On offense, J.D. King. King has had a stellar season as a true freshman. He's got 94 carries for 452 yards as a backup for Justice Hill. This kid is the real deal and Oklahoma State should be okay at running back the next couple of years. There's also Tyron Johnson. Johnson is a red-shirt sophomore who transferred to Oklahoma State from LSU. He's been having to share duties with the rest of the arsenal of Oklahoma State wide receivers but had himself a day at Bedlam after James Washington went out of the game.
Jon: For those who aren't familiar with the Cowboy offensive juggernaut, in what sort of shenanigans can we expect Mike Yurcich to engage?
Micah: Yurcich likes to run a mixture of run and pass. Have a couple of run plays and then have Mason air it out. They also like the short to intermediate routes to Washington in certain situations so look for that as well. As far a shenanigans, that's really not Yurcich's style. You will see some fakes where they'll either make the defense think a running back has it and get the ball to a WR or Rudolph will keep it.
Jon: Defense, on the other hand, has been a bit of an issue for the Pokes, Texas notwithstanding. Who on the defense is actually good, and if you're K-State how would you exploit OSU's weaknesses?
Micah: November hasn't been stellar for the Cowboys, but they did work in October. As far as who is good, Ramon Richards has been playing out of his mind at the safety position. A.J. Green is one of the young corners who has really grown up over the course of the season. He had the game winning interception (yes, Iowa State fans, if you're reading this that was an interception) against Iowa State last week. Calvin Bundage has also had a year. He can get to a quarterback. For the parts that K-State can exploit, it seems as if the last two games they have all of a sudden forgotten how to tackle. They either totally miss guys or they don't finish the tackle and the guy breaks free.
Jon: The game's in Stillwater, which means we have to ask about tailgating, as well as where K-State fans can go to have a good time while they're in town. There's only one catch: you can't talk about Eskimo Joe's. GO!
Micah: Gosh dang it, I love Joe's cheese fries! I'll give you some different ones though. Oklahoma State has an amazing tailgate scene. There's lots of area to tailgate right around the stadium available at a first come first served basis starting Thursday at 5 p.m. It's cool to see people hanging out waiting and it gets the game day atmosphere started early. As far as places to have a good time, I really like College Bar on Washington, aka "The Strip". They have a great tap selection. There's also The Union Beverage Company which just opened that I personally really like. J.R. Murphy's is a staple on the Strip. For the crowd not looking for a college bar, I'd say George's Stables. That's for the 21 and up folk. For people that might have the kiddos, there's tons of pregame festivities at the student union. There's also Hideaway Pizza which I really like on Knoblock. If you go there get the fried mushrooms. It'll change your life.
Jon: Aside from the probability of this game lasting five hours, what's your prediction?
Micah: 43-28 Cowboys.
Thanks to Micah for taking the time to exchange Q&As with us this week. You can catch Jon’s answers to her questions over at CRFF, and up at the top of the page you can grab the links to follow her on Twitter and at the O’Colly.