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“Ohhh the Spencer Sanders Roller Coaster.” A Q&A with Cowboys Ride For Free

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We talking defense, inconsistent QBs, and tried to get Micah to curse on our blog.

TCU v Oklahoma State Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images

It is always a good time when we get to chat with our friends at Cowboys Ride For Free, our excellent sister site on the SB Nation platform. This week we sat down with managing editor Micah Allen, who talked all things football — and why the NCAA is full of garbage.

FOW: Oklahoma State has to be the most under-talked about top ten team in the country. Why do you think folks don’t ‘appreciate’ what the Cowboys have accomplished this season?

Micah Allen: I think it’s because they don’t look like a team that should be 8-1 in paper. A lot of really close games that should not have been close. And Oklahoma State has been lucky in some moments I will say. I think it has a lot to do with the conference too. Like people don’t necessarily take the big 12 seriously unless it’s OU.

FOW: There’s a long and rich history of Mike Gundy fielding wildly effective offensive teams, but that isn’t the case in 2021, as the Pokes are often winning in spite of what’s happening on that side of the ball. Is there a problem with the offense or do they just not need them to be great?

Micah Allen: It’s a little of both. Spencer has struggled, (other than the ISU game which ironically was a loss and last week against WVU). You’ve got some questionable at best play calling from Kasey Dunn. But honestly, with how good this defense is, you just have to do enough.

FOW: The Spencer Sanders experience has kind of mirrored Max Duggan’s in Fort Worth; both are quarterbacks that we kind of expected to be better by this point in their careers, but also have plenty of reasons for why they haven’t progressed as anticipated. Is Sanders the guy going forward or do you think OSU needs to go get a QB in 2022? What’s been his primary struggle this fall?

Micah Allen: Hmmmm….ohhh the Spencer Sanders Roller Coaster. He struggles with choices. Sometimes he just flat out makes the wrong choice. This has led to many an interception. I also think he sits in the pocket for too long. Which leads to some of the bad choices. When he’s on though, it’s such an awesome thing. His ceiling is so high that I don’t think you go with Shane Illingworth off the bat next year. I think you start Spencer until he does something truly worthy of being being benched.

FOW: Let’s talk about that defense. One of the stingiest in the country, the Cowboys are locking folks down at all three levels. What has changed this year and why are they so damn good?

Micah Allen: I think a lot of it has to do with age. This is a defense of mostly upper classmen. That means they’ve had time to gel as a complete unit and get to know Jim Knowles’ system. Honestly I think Oklahoma State is seeing a return in their investment of hiring Jim Knowles. We’re seeing why they brought him in.

FOW: TCU is likely rolling with Chandler Morris Saturday night in what will be just the second start of his career. I don’t know how much you saw of what he did against Baylor, but will his scrambling/playground style of football cause problems for the Pokes, or have they had success containing mobile QBs this season?

Micah Allen: They’ve done fairly well against mobile QBs. Brock Purdy gave them a bit of trouble but other than that they’ve held their own.

FOW: As we said earlier, people aren’t really talking about OSU. But we know some of the big names on this team. Who are a couple players that have put together big seasons that the college football world SHOULD be talking about?

Micah Allen: Jaylen Warren is one that comes to mind. The Utah State transfer has blown up, starting with the Boise State game. He stepped up to the plate big time with Tay Martin being out for while. (Martin is back) and speaking of Martin he’s another name to look out for. He’s a Washington State transfer wide receiver who has made his presence known.

FOW: What’s your prediction for Saturday and how do we get there?

Micah Allen: Can I answer this Friday? Lol. I honestly have no idea how this plays out. But with an interim coach for the Horned Frogs I see the Cowboys coming out with the W.

FOW: BONUS QUESTION: Here is some space to rant about the NCAA in regards to what they have done to your basketball program, and also, what are your expectations on the hardwood knowing your team has been banned from the postseason?

Micah Allen: CAN I CURSE ON A CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY’S SPORTS BLOG. F*** the NCAA. You cannot claim you care about student athletes and do what they did. I just want them to go absolutely bonkers. Ball out of their minds. Play like they have nothing to lose.