Oklahoma State Cowboys at Central Michigan Chippewas
Thursday, September 3, 2015, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: ESPNU
Kelly/Shorts Stadium – Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
Opening Line: Oklahoma State -19
Current Line: Oklahoma State -24
Opening Total: 54 1/2
Current Total: 54 1/2
Opening Money Line: OSU -1850 / CMU +900
Current Money Line: OSU -2400 / CMU +1400
The Oklahoma State Cowboys and Central Michigan Chippewas meet for the first time ever Thursday in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan. It is the season opener for both teams. Central Michigan will make trips to Stillwater in 2016 and 2018.
Oklahoma State went 7-6 last year under coach Mike Gundy. The Cowboys entered the last game of the regular season with a 5-6 record needing a win on the road at Bedlam rival Oklahoma to become bowl eligible. The Cowboys would pull off the upset 38-35 in overtime. OSU would then beat Washington 30-22 in the Cactus Bowl in Tempe, Arizona.
Central Michigan coach Dan Enos left the Chippewas to become the offensive coordinator at Arkansas. Central Michigan hired Detroit Lions special teams coordinator John Bonamego as the new coach. Bonamego has over two decades of NFL and college coaching experience but none as a head coach. He is a cancer survivor and CMU alumni.
Last year, the Chippewas went 6-6 in the regular season. CMU was selected to play in the Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl on Christmas Eve against Western Kentucky. It would turn out to be one of the craziest bowls in recent memory if not ever. Western Kentucky led 49-14 at the end of the third. However, Central Michigan would rally with 34 points in the fourth quarter. The Chippewas scored a touchdown on the final play with an insane three lateral 75 yard play to make it 49-48 WKU. CMU went for two to win the game but failed to convert. Each team had over 600 total yards.
OSU was 6-7 ATS and the total was 7-6 last year. CMU was 6-7 ATS and the total was also 6-7.
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Oklahoma State was outscored 31-28 last year. The Cowboys averaged 379 yards per game on offense, including 242 passing and 137 rushing yards. On defense, OSU allowed 432 total yards including 269 passing and 163 rushing yards. The Cowboys were #91 or worse out of 128 teams in points allowed, total and pass defense last year. OSU was -8 in turnovers.
Sophomore quarterback Mason Rudolph had his redshirt removed with 3 games left in the season due to injuries to quarterbacks J.W. Walsh and Daxx Garman. Rudolph played really well in upsets over Oklahoma and Washington to end the season. He threw for 853 yards with 6 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. The job is his for the full season in 2015. Walsh will serve as the back-up, but Garman transferred to Maryland.
Leading rusher Desmond Roland has graduated. He rushed for 770 yards with 10 touchdowns. Rennie Childs and JUCO transfer Chris Carson will likely compete for the feature back carries. Childs, a junior had 78 carries for 294 yards and 3 touchdowns last season. Carson was originally set to go to Georgia but decided to go to Oklahoma State instead. Last year, at Butler Community College in Kansas Carson rushed for almost 1,000 yards and 9 touchdowns in just nine games. He averaged 110 yards per game. Raymond Taylor will also get some carries.
Receiver Brandon Sheperd had 39 catches for 737 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is probable with a finger injury. David Glidden had 42 catches for 598 yards and 2 touchdowns. James Washington had 28 catches for 456 yards and 6 touchdowns. Jhajuan Seales had 18 catches for 278 yards and 3 touchdowns. Redshirt freshman Keenan Brown had an impressive spring and will also get some targets. Nine of the top ten receivers are back for the Cowboys.
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Central Michigan outscored teams 27-25 last year. The Chippewas averaged 398 yards per game on offense including 243 passing and 155 rushing yards. On defense, CMU allowed 356 yards per game including 233 passing and 123 rushing yards. The Chippewas were in the top 30 nationally in total and rush defense. CMU was -5 in turnovers.
Junior quarterback Cooper Rush threw for 3,157 yards with 27 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He threw for 493 yards with an all-time bowl record 7 touchdown passes against Western Kentucky.
Running back Thomas Rawls has graduated. He had 210 carries for 1,103 yards with 10 touchdowns, along with 10 catches. Look for a committee of Devon Spalding, Saylor Lavalli and Martez Walker to replace the workhorse Rawls. Spalding had 73 carries for 371 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 3 catches. Lavalli had 84 carries for 298 yards and 4 touchdowns, along with 13 catches for 86 yards. Walker had 62 carries for 265 yards and a touchdown, along with 3 catches.
Receiver Titus Davis has also graduated after making 60 catches for 980 yards and 13 touchdowns. Jesse Kroll is back after making 36 catches for 582 yards and 4 touchdowns. Anthony Rice had 30 catches for 321 yards and a touchdown. Sophomores Mark Chapman, Corey Willis and Eric Cooper will also get a lot of targets.
Oklahoma State is 7-3 ATS in non-conference games, 2-5 in September, and 0-4 on fieldturf.
Central Michigan is 8-20 ATS at home, 2-7 in non-conference games, 3-13 in September and 0-4 in Thursday games.
Oklahoma State has more talent, depth and size than Central Michigan. This line moved from OSU -19 to -24. Still, i think Central Michigan hangs around for a while before Oklahoma State pulls away in the second half. I can see a backdoor cover possibility with CMU scoring a late touchdown to get within the 24 point number.