OK State-Baylor Preview
Waco, TX - Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy isn't sure when two of his top two scoring threats will return, but his team has had no problem finding the end zone without All-American wide receiver Dez Bryant and junior running back Kendall Hunter.
The 14th-ranked Cowboys look to improve to 3-0 in the Big 12 for the third time Saturday when they travel to Floyd Casey Stadium to face Baylor.
Oddsmakers from online sports book SBGGLOBAL.com have made Oklahoma State –9.5 point spread favorites (View College Football odds) for Saturday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 74% of bets for this game have been placed on Oklahoma State –9.5 (View College Football bet percentages).
With Bryant missing his third straight game and Hunter sidelined for his fourth in a row with a sprained right ankle, Oklahoma State (5-1) defeated Missouri 33-17 on Saturday.
The Cowboys are averaging 41.5 points during their four-game winning streak and eighth among Football Bowl Subdivision teams at 37.5 points per game overall.
Bryant, who was second in the FBS with 19 touchdown catches in 2008, remains sidelined indefinitely after he was ruled ineligible by the school Oct. 8 for lying to the NCAA about an offseason meeting with former NFL All-Pro Deion Sanders.
Bryant has requested reinstatement from the NCAA, but it is uncertain if that will be granted.
"I would say that if we're fortunate enough to get Dez back, then we have a number of receivers that have gained some experience and it should allow us to be more balanced and versatile in our passing game would be the football side of it,'' Gundy said.
Sophomore Hubert Anyiam flourished last week as Bryant's replacement. With nine career catches heading into Saturday's game versus the Tigers, Anyiam made 10 receptions for a career-high 119 yards and a touchdown to earn Big 12 co-offensive player of the week honors.
"Hubert can be that person every game,'' senior cornerback Perrish Cox said. "We face him at practice every day. He's fast, quick. As long as he can get the ball in his hands, he can make big plays.''
Hunter, who rushed for 16 touchdowns and ran for a Big 12-best 1,555 yards in 2008, is expected to practice for the third straight week, although it is uncertain if he'll return Saturday.
"His workload has been increased each week,'' Gundy said. "Medically, I think he's OK. I think they've said, `You can play.' He has to feel like he can go out there and handle the workload. I think that's what it's come down to right now.''
In the Cowboys' 34-6 win over Baylor on Oct. 18, 2008, Hunter rushed for 93 yards on 26 carries, while Bryant caught 11 passes for 212 yards and two TDs from quarterback Zac Robinson.
Robinson, a senior, has completed 33 of 46 for 475 yards and four TDs in three career games versus Baylor (3-3, 0-2). He'll look to lead the Cowboys to their third 3-0 conference start since Big 12 play began in 1996.
Baylor senior quarterback Blake Szymanski makes his first start versus Oklahoma State since the teams' last meeting in Waco - a 45-14 Baylor loss on Nov. 17, 2007.
Robert Griffin started for the Bears in last season's matchup, but he is out for the season after tearing his right ACL in a 68-13 win over Northwestern State on Sept. 26. Szymanski, who injured his right shoulder in that game, completed 23 of 38 for 223 yards and was intercepted three times in Saturday's 24-10 loss at Iowa State.
"I'll take the credit for us not winning and the way we played," Bears coach Art Briles said. "There's no excuse for some of the things that happened on the field tonight. It's my responsibility. I know our players will respond."
Baylor, though, has lost 19 straight to ranked foes since a 35-34 overtime win over then-No. 16 Texas A&M on Oct. 30, 2004.
Oklahoma State leads the all-time series with Baylor 15-12, winning 12 of the last 13.
Posted: 10/20/09 12:51PM ET