Central Michigan Oklahoma State Pick

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Central Michigan

vs.

Oklahoma State

College Football Pick

9/10/16

This isn’t Oklahoma State’s favorite Game on the Schedule in 2016, that’s for certain. Central Michigan may be a smaller school and play in the MAC, but they are far from an easy matchup. After both of these teams came off easy opening-weekend wins, the Cowboys opened as a -21 point favorite at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.

When these teams met last year, Central Michigan kept it close most of the way, but OK State managed a 24-13 win on the road. The Cowboys moved the ball plenty, but couldn’t put it in the end zone enough times. That could be the problem again after they struggled to move the ball efficiently against Southeastern Louisiana last week.

OK State got a huge win, 61-7, but they still only managed 3.8 yards per carry on 37 carries. In a huge win like that, usually you’d see better rushing numbers and the ground Game has been a question for the Cowboys for a couple years. Mason Rudolph provides experience at quarterback with guys like Jhajuan Seales and James Washington at receiver, but the backfield of Rennie Childs and Chris Carson is a bigger question. Barry Sanders came over in the offseason and after struggling at Stanford, doesn’t seem to provide much.

The difference for OK State in this Game is that they’ll actually be tested on the defensive side. Four-year starting quarterback Cooper Rush gives the Chippewas tons of experience under center, even if his numbers didn’t look all that great in the opener. The bigger thing for Central Michigan this year may be that running back Devon Spalding can provide a spark in the ground Game. He went for 135 yards in the opener and looked more electric than anyone in a CMU uniform all of last year. In fact, the Chips were one of the worst teams in the country at rushing the ball in 2015.

That could be a big help in this Game after CMU got just 25 yards from its top running back in last year’s meeting. If Spalding can at least find a few holes and Rush can play safe football, there’s no reason Central can’t stick around in this Game again.

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Of course, the level between Presbyterian (last week’s opponent) and OK State is a huge difference. But there’s no reason to be completely sold on the Cowboys offense just yet. Despite the 61 points last weekend, they had only two scoring drives of more than 50 yards, which kind of says it all as they had two fumble returns for touchdowns as well.

Mason Rudolph was inconsistent throughout 2015 at quarterback and while CMU doesn’t have best defense, they actually held opponents to 22 points per Game last season and return a lot of those guys. Considering OK State had trouble scoring in this matchup last year, that could be the case again.

Central Michigan shouldn’t be overlooked in this Game and with experience on both sides of the field, have what it takes to stay competitive, much like the last Game. In all, it may come down to an improved ground Game for the Chips to cover.

Our Pick – No question Central Michigan competed in this Game last year in week 1 but not so sure they got the Cowboys full attention. This year, they should have just that.Oklahoma State is loaded with returning players from a year ago and we expect a much more decisive win this time around on their home turf. Oklahoma State -21

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