5 Things to Know About Wisconsin’s Bowl Opponent Oklahoma State

This year’s Guaranteed Rate Bowl sets the stage for the first duel between the University of Wisconsin and the state of Oklahoma.

Both the Badgers and Cowboys continued their respective postseason streaks. UW will play in its 21st straight bowl game while Oklahoma State has its 17th straight bowl appearance.

Here are five things you should know about the Cowboys before they play at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks, in Phoenix on December 27 at 9:15 p.m.

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In the middle of the Big 12

Oklahoma State finished 7-5 and was 4-5 in the 10-team Big 12.

Oklahoma St. Oklahoma Football

Oklahoma State Quarterback Spencer Sanders plays Oklahoma on November 19 in Norman, Okla.

Alonzo Adams, Associated Press

The Cowboys started the season on a five-game winning streak but lost five of their last seven contests. Those losses came to eventual College Football Playoff entrant Texas Christian, Big 12 champion Kansas State, Kansas, Oklahoma and West Virginia.

Three of the five losses have been by 15 points or more, although they narrowly lost a 43-40 duel in double overtime on Oct. 15 to TCU.

Longtime trainer

Mike Gundy took over as Oklahoma State football coach in January 2005 and has led the program to a 156-74 mark (0.678 win ratio) over his 18 seasons. His only losing campaign was his freshman year in 2005.

Gundy has seven years of 10 or more wins and five New Year’s Six Bowl berths on his resume during his tenure at Stillwater. Oklahoma State will return to Arizona after beating Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 1.

Gundy has the distinction of coaching his alma mater. He played quarterback for the Cowboys in the mid to late 1980s. He joined the assistant ranks first in the state of Oklahoma and then moved to Baylor and Maryland. The former signal caller returned to his home program in 2001 as assistant head coach and offensive coordinator, overseeing the quarterbacks.

Contain strong offense

The Cowboys come into the bowl game averaging 31.8 points and 415.5 total yards per game, but that actually puts them eighth in the Big 12 Conference in both categories. Gundy’s offense ranks second in the league in passing yards per contest (283.8).

Quarterback Spencer Sanders completed 57.6% of his passes for 2,642 yards with 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions in 10 games played. He did not participate in the Cowboys regular-season finals against West Virginia.

Four wide receivers assisted the Cowboys’ air attack: Brennan Presley (61 receptions, 739 yards, two touchdowns), Bryson Green (36, 584, five), Braydon Johnson (31, 567, three) and John Paul Richardson (47, 482 , four). Green has received three 100-yard strides this season, but like Sanders, he missed out on competition against the Mountaineers.

A look at a Big 12 defense

Derek Mason assumed the duties of defense coordinator at Oklahoma State after Jim Knowles moved to the same position at Ohio State.

The Cowboys are giving up 29.3 points and 440.8 yards per contest. These notes occupy sixth and eighth place respectively in the offensive conference.

Mason’s unit allows for 171.3 yards rushing (eighth in Big 12) and 269.5 yards passing (last).

A plus for defense comes from stopping opponents on third down conversions, where opponents moved the chains 27% of the time (50 out of 185 attempts). That’s good for fourth place in the FBS.

No Cowboys defenseman has more than five sacks, but five players registered seven or more lost tackles during the regular season: linebacker Mason Cobb (13), defensive ends Brock Martin (9.5), Tyler Lacy (8.5) and Collin Oliver (7.5). and defensive tackle Sione Asi (7.0).

The cowboys give and take

The Cowboys have a minus-4 turnover margin. Oklahoma State has 17 takeaways (12 interceptions, five fumble recoveries). The Dozen Picks ranks 29th on the FBS. Safety Jason Taylor II leads the Big 12 and ranks second on the FBS in interceptions with six.

The Cowboys have committed 21 turnovers, and the 16 interceptions thrown ranked 125th on the FBS.

UW’s 15 picks rank 10th in the nation, led by All-Big Ten first-team safetyman John Torchio (five interceptions).

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