Oklahoma St. football fans can be forgiven for viewing the 2021 team schedule with a bit of trepidation after last season’s 8-3 (6-3 Big 12) finish.
There’s an early September road trip to Boise State, a mid-major powerhouse program that accrued double-digit wins each season from 2016 to 2019. Back-to-back road trips against Texas and Iowa State, historically difficult places to win, are followed by homecoming and then a trip to Morgantown, West Virginia to face the Mountaineers. The regular-season finale features a Bedlam visit to Boone Pickens Stadium from the Sooners.
Oklahoma St. football faces a several difficult road tests for the 2021 season before hosting OU at the end of the regular season.
Head coach Mike Gundy and the Cowboys certainly have high hopes heading into the 2021 season — quarterback Spencer Sanders is another year wiser and more experienced, key offensive skill position players have already stepped up after last year’s injuries to Chuba Hubbard and Tylan Wallace, and the defense returns some of its best playmakers.
Gundy and OSU have put together an impressive run of 15 consecutive winning seasons and 15 consecutive postseason trips, both easily the longest streaks in school history. The Cowboys, though, are in a bit of a downturn after winning 10 games each season between 2015 and 2017, having only reached eight wins each of the past two years.
How will OSU fare in each game of the 2021 football season?
Week 1: Home vs. Missouri State Bears (Sept. 4)
Head coach Bobby Petrino and the Missouri State Bears visit Stillwater for OSU’s season opener. The former Louisville and Arkansas head coach led the Bears to their first FCS playoff appearance in three decades in 2020, marked by a 44-10 first-round loss to North Dakota.
OSU has won all eight previous meetings between these two schools.
Sure, there may be some first-game jitters for OSU, especially among some of the younger players, but don’t expect this to be a repeat of Aug. 31, 1996 — the first overtime game in NCAA Division I football history that took place between the Cowboys and the Bears.
Final Score: OSU 52, Missouri State 7 (1-0)
Week 2: Home vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane (Sept. 11)
OSU will host Tulsa for the third consecutive season in Week 2, having beaten the Golden Hurricane 16-7 in the Cowboys’ only non-conference game of 2020. The surprisingly difficult Pokes win had become a defensive showdown, with OSU trailing 7-3 heading into the fourth quarter before Chuba Hubbard scored a three-yard go-ahead touchdown.
The two schools have met 76 times, with OSU winning the nine most recent meetings. The Cowboys’ last loss in the series came in 1998, a 35-20 Tulsa win.
Tulsa is much improved under head coach Philip Montgomery, having earned its first winning season last year for the first time since 2016. OSU will already have one game’s worth of experience in the saddle, so don’t look for a repeat of last season’s lackluster win against the Golden Hurricane.
Final Score: OSU 34, Tulsa 13 (2-0)