NCAAF Picks - Oklahoma St. To Take Out Last Week's Frustration On Pittsburgh

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, September 14, 2016 7:04 PM UTC

Wednesday, Sep. 14, 2016 7:04 PM UTC

There may not be a better ending to a football game this year than what happened last week at Oklahoma State. The Cowboys were on the wrong end of it and look to rebound Saturday vs. Pittsburgh. Check our Free NCAAF Pick.

Panthers Have Pennsylvania Bragging Rights
The University of Pittsburgh had wanted for years to restart the rivalry with Penn State that ended in 2000 because the Nittany Lions left for the Big Ten and then essentially wouldn't agree to schedule Pitt. The schools finally met last Saturday at Heinz Field in a game that meant a ton to Pitt's players and supporters. Coach Pat Narduzzi brought in the 1976 national championship team to give a pep talk and it worked as the Panthers (2-0) won 42-39. It was Pitt's most points scored in 97 meetings with Penn State.

Pitt was up 28-7 late in the second quarter and 42-31 with under six minutes left before nearly giving it away. Saquon Barkley brought Penn State to within 42-39 with a 2-yard TD run with five minutes to go and the ensuing 2-point conversion. Cornerback Ryan Lewis saved the day by intercepting Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley in the end zone with just over a minute to play.

The Panthers gashed the Nittany Lions with 341 rushing yards. James Conner, the 2014 ACC Player of the  Year who missed last season battling cancer, had 22 carries for 117 yards and two TDs. He became the second player in school history with 40 total touchdowns, joining Hall of Famer Tony Dorsett. QB Nathan Peterman threw for only 91 yards but had three TDs and rushed for 52 yards.

Certainly Narduzzi, a defensive guru in his second season, won't be happy with allowing 332 passing yards to offensively-challenged Penn State. The Nittany Lions turned it over four times to Pitt's two. The Panthers have forced six turnovers (four fumbles and two interceptions), which is sixth nationally. That Pitt defense has ruled out two starters, end  Dewayne Hendrix and starting linebacker Elijah Zeise, for the season. They were hurt in Week 1 vs. Villanova.

This is the first time Pittsburgh will face Oklahoma State, with the Cowboys heading to the Steel City next year. The only other current Big 12 schools Pitt hasn't played are Kansas State and Texas Tech. A win in Stillwater would give the Panthers a 3-0 start for the fourth time since 2000.

The Panthers are 0-2 ATS on college football odds this season and 1-1 O/U.


Cowboys Still Smarting From Bad Call
Did Oklahoma State (1-1) get hosed by the officials last Saturday against Central Michigan? Yes, but Cowboys coach Mike Gundy has no one to blame but himself. As I'm sure you have seen my now, the then-No. 22 Cowboys were shocked by the Mid-American  Conference school 30-27 on a 51-yard Hail Mary and lateral play with no time on the clock.

OSU was trying to run out the clock on the play before and QB Mason Rudolph was called for intentional grounding on fourth down. NCAA rules state that a game cannot end on an accepted live-ball penalty such as that, but the referees mistakenly gave CMU an untimed down. The review crew upstairs would have had the power to overrule that, but they also missed the call. All the officials in the game,  including those in the booth, were suspended in some form or another.

It was only Oklahoma State's second loss in a non-conference home game  under Gundy, with the last against Houston in 2009. But Gundy was the guy who stupidly called that pass play. He could have had his quarterback run around to kill the clock. I can understand why Gundy perhaps didn't want to punt because we all remember well the ending of last season's Michigan-Michigan State game on a flubbed punt at the end.

So OSU fell out of the Top 25 and now can't afford another loss and have any hopes of reaching the College Football Playoff. It would be fascinating to see how the committee would treat OSU if it's in the conversation since it lost on a play that shouldn't have happened. At the same time, the Pokes shouldn't have been in a close game at home against a MAC school. Oklahoma State was outgained by the Chippewas 418-338. CMU converted 8-for-15 on third down and OSU just 1-for-11. Rudolph had a solid game in throwing for 286 yards and two scores and a pick, but the Cowboys rushed for 50 yards on 26 carries. They got what they deserved.

The key for Oklahoma State is to not commit a turnover. It has won 25 of its past 26 games when not doing so. The schedule gets much tougher this week as after Pitt, the Pokes visit No. 21 Baylor to open Big 12 play and then host No. 11 Texas.

The Cowboys are 1-1 against the spread on college football picks and 1-1 O/U.


NCAAF Free Picks
Go Oklahoma State and 'over.' Can't see the Pokes losing two straight non-conference games at home. Pitt is 0-4 ATS in its past four non-conference games. The 'over' is 4-1 in the Panthers' past five out of conference. The 'over' is 7-1 in OSU's past eight at home. 

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Free College Football Pick: Over 59 & Oklahoma State -5.5
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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