Oklahoma State is a 17-point favorite to beat Purdue in the Heart of Dallas Bowl on New Year's Day. Here are some keys for the Cowboys to win.
The Cowboys finished tied for third in the Big 12, and getting sent to the Heart of Dallas Bowl was not what they were hoping for.
1. Show up. The Cowboys were expecting a bit of a rebuilding year, and even so, they may feel a little let down with a 7-5 record. Purdue, at 6-6, was also expecting a better season.
Oklahoma State is a big favorite and is in a lesser game that what it wanted to be in. That leaves a huge potential for an upset. The Cowboys need to be there mentally and need to want to win.
Coach Mike Gundy has done a good job in the past of having the Cowboys ready, so they should be focused enough to win.
2. Run with Randle. Joseph Randle has rushed for 1,351 yards an 14 touchdowns this season, and has 225 yards receiving. That is quiet an accomplishment in a pass-happy system. It takes a little time to get the timing of the passing game back after a few weeks of layoff, so establishing the running game will be important. Purdue has a good defensive line that has played better lately with some players getting over injury, so this may not be as easy as it seems.
3. Slam the door early. A lot of this game will be mental or emotional. OSU should win the physical battle, but a lot will depend on how well the teams are prepared mentally. The longer OSU lets Purdue stay in the game, the better chance the Boilermakers will have at pulling off the upset.
Purdue's coach was fired after the regular season, and an assistant is in the interim role. If he has success early, it will only grow. OSU needs to score early and often and put the game away early. If Purdue is still in the game in the fourth quarter, it may get more interesting than the Cowboy's want.