College Football
Preview
Oklahoma State at Central Michigan
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, September 3, 2015
Where: Kelly/Shorts Stadium, Mount Pleasant, Michigan

Oklahoma State was the youngest team in the country a year ago and it showed during a five-game skid, but the Cowboys proved resilient in the end as the school made a bowl game for the 10th straight season. With Mason Rudolph giving the team its first clear-cut starter at quarterback since 2011 and three preseason all-conference selections spearheading the defense, the Cowboys hope to rebound from a trying season starting on Thursday when they travel to Central Michigan.

The rigors of the Big 12 proved to be too much for Oklahoma State early on, but Rudolph took over the starting job late in the season and guided the Cowboys to impressive victories at Oklahoma and against Washington in the Cactus Bowl. Oklahoma State welcomes eight starters back from last year’s 91st-ranked total defense, but expects a much better result in 2015 thanks to the return of defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah (11 sacks), linebacker Ryan Simmons (96 tackles) and cornerback Kevin Peterson (team-high 11 pass break-ups). The Chippewas can only hope to provide the same kind of excitement they did in their final contest last season, scoring 34 fourth-quarter points in the Bahamas Bowl before falling 49-48 to Western Kentucky on a failed two-point conversion in the final seconds. Central Michigan will have to do so under John Bonamego, who took over for coach Dan Enos after he left to become the offensive coordinator at Arkansas.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPNU. LINE: Oklahoma State -24.5

ABOUT OKLAHOMA STATE (2014: 7-6): Sophomore receiver James Washington, who led the team with six receiving touchdowns on 28 catches last season, appears to have pulled away from the pack at his position. “He looks and acts like a veteran; we have great comfort in him. He has great work habits that make you feel good about him,” coach Mike Gundy told reporters. Highly touted junior college transfer Chris Carson (994 rushing yards last season at Butler Community College) is expected to carry the rushing attack following the graduation of leading rusher Desmond Roland and dismissal of second-leading rusher Tyreek Hill.
ABOUT CENTRAL MICHIGAN (2014: 7-6): Quarterback Cooper Rush set career highs with 493 yards and seven touchdown passes in the Bahamas Bowl, but he’ll be forced to find a new favorite target following the graduation of record-breaking receiver Titus Davis. The most likely player to fill that void is Jesse Kroll, who finished second on the team with 36 receptions for 582 yards – topping it off with a career-high 109 yards against the Hilltoppers. Stefon Armstead will wear the No. 21 jersey Thursday to honor the memory of defensive back Derrick Nash, who died of leukemia over the summer; a different Chippewa will be selected based on merit before each game this season.

EXTRA POINTS
1. Oklahoma State, which has won all four games it has played against MAC opponents, has yet to lose a game under Gundy (21-0) when not committing a turnover.
2. Central Michigan led the MAC in total defense last season, giving up 355.5 yards per game – good for 29th in FBS. 3. Since 2010, the Cowboys (30) trail only Oregon (32) for the most non-offensive touchdowns in FBS.

PREDICTION: Oklahoma State 45, Central Michigan 20
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Oklahoma State 0-0 - 0.0 0.0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Central Michigan 0-0 - 0.0 0.0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Oklahoma State Central Michigan
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No previous meeting.
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Oklahoma State N/A
Central Michigan N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Oklahoma State N/A
Central Michigan N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Oklahoma State N/A
Central Michigan N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
Oklahoma State N/A
Central Michigan N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Oklahoma State N/A
Central Michigan N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Oklahoma State N/A
Central Michigan N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Oklahoma State N/A
Central Michigan N/A
Touchdowns Player TD
Oklahoma State N/A
Central Michigan N/A
Quickchart Matchup
Oklahoma State Oklahoma State Off vs  Central Michigan Central Michigan Def
Oklahoma State 0 yards
Central Michigan 0 yards
Oklahoma State 0 yards/rush
Central Michigan 0 yards/rush
Oklahoma StateCentral Michigan
Central Michigan Central Michigan Off vs  Oklahoma State Oklahoma State Def
Central Michigan 0 yards
Oklahoma State 0 yards
Central MichiganOklahoma StateCentral MichiganOklahoma State