CORVALLIS, Ore. – Oklahoma State quarterbacks Dru Brown and Spencer Sanders have performed so well in practice leading up to Friday's season opener at Oregon State that coach Mike Gundy apparently cannot decide which one will start. "We have a really good plan in place - it's not something that I'm going to discuss publicly at this time," Gundy told reporters in advance of the first meeting between the Power 5 conference teams.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, Fox Sports 1. LINE: Oklahoma State - 15
Brown, a graduate transfer from Hawaii, completed 62 percent of his passes with 37 touchdowns against 15 interceptions in 2016 and 2017 with the Rainbow Warriors while Sanders is a redshirt freshman who also sat out last season. Oregon State has won only nine games over the last four years and hopes sixth-year senior quarterback Jake Luton, who won the starting job over sophomore Tristan Gebbia, can help improve the Beavers. "... He's really healthy now," Oregon State senior defensive tackle Elu Aydon told reporters about the 6-7, 229-pound Luton, who missed the final eight games in 2017 with a back injury and was slowed in 2018 by head and ankle ailments. "I feel like he's one of those quarterbacks in the Pac-12 that's going to get recognized." Beavers senior wide receiver Trevon Bradford, who caught 56 passes for 649 yards and a team-high six touchdowns last season, will not play because of a foot injury, according to second-year coach Jonathan Smith.
ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (2018: 7-6)
The Cowboys hope sophomore running back Chuba Hubbard (740 yards, seven touchdowns) - the top returning rusher - can take pressure off Brown and/or Sanders along with explosive junior LD Brown. Junior wide receiver and Associated Press preseason All-American Tylan Wallace caught 86 passes for 1,491 yards - second nationally - and 12 touchdowns last season, and will provide Brown and/or Sanders an excellent target. Senior A.J. Green and junior Rodarius Williams give Gundy a pair of cornerbacks that have started since the beginning of 2017.
ABOUT OREGON STATE (2018: 2-10)
Despite the absence of Bradford, Luton will have junior wideout Isaiah Hodgins (team highs of 59 catches and 876 yards with five touchdowns) at his disposal. The Beavers also return their leading rusher in Jermar Jefferson, who ran for 1,380 yards and 12 touchdowns last season as a freshman. Senior safety Jalen Moore, who recorded a team-leading 102 tackles last season but is dealing with a hamstring injury, "has a chance to play,'' Smith told reporters.
1. Oklahoma State is the second-highest scoring team in the nation since 2010 at 41.1 points per game (Oregon, 43.0).
2. Oregon State was second-to-last among FBS teams in scoring defense (45.7 points), total defense (536.8 yards) and rushing defense (281.8) last season.
3. The Cowboys were voted to finish fifth in the Big 12 preseason poll while the Beavers were selected last in the six-team Pac-12 North Division.
PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 49, Oregon State 34