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Tim Ahrens: Can Oklahoma State Feed off of Last Year’s Success?

Tim Ahrens of 24/7 Sports joins Jeff Thurn on Thursday’s edition of Overtime to discuss Oklahoma State, Oklahoma, and Kansas State. 

Ahrens covers Oklahoma State football for 24/7 Sports and Thurn asks him if the Cowboys can carry over their momentum from a year ago when they went 12-3 overall, 7-2 Big 12? 

“You know obviously they started off the season pretty strong last year. There was a quarterback issue that has continued to evolve into what it is now. They reached high points and that loss to Oklahoma in the Bedlam game at home is obviously a big blow to them. Now they are facing where they are losing seven defensive starters, they are going to face the No. 1 preseason team, and they have problems deciding who their quarterback is going to be (J.W. Walsh, Daxs Garman, or Mason Rudolph). So, things are really up in the air with them right now.”

Oklahoma State plays defending national champion, Florida State in Arlington, Texas on August 30 for their season opener. The Cowboys return nine starters (five on offense, four on defense). Two of them are big losses, quarterback Clint Chelf, and cornerback Justin Gilbert.

Yesterday, Barry Switzer talked confidently about the Oklahoma Sooners. Today, Ahrens shares how he thinks the Sooners will do in 2014: 

“Well this OU team probably has all the pieces they need to win. They have a quarterback (Trevor Knight) who doesn’t have as much experience, but definitely has the confidence. Experience is going to come as the season continues. He definitely has a lot coming out of that Alabama game (win in Sugar Bowl) that no one expected OU to win. The rest of the team is pretty talented. The defense is strong.  As strong as they were last year. The offense should able to work around Trevor Knight. I think the big question is they just stand in the way of themselves. The schedule really favors them. Honestly, it’s not as hard as some of the other teams. Tennessee is the most notable non-conference game and that’s a home game. It will be interesting watching them play Texas and Charlie Strong for the first time. But other than that there biggest tests are going to be at home. Baylor, Kansas State, and Texas. Everything seems like it is on the right track for them. Texas Tech in Lubbock might be the hardest test for them this year.

In eight games last season, Knight threw for 819 yards, nine touchdowns, and five interceptions. On the ground, he ran for 445 yards and two scores. Against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl, he passed for 348 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception.

Who is underrated in the Big 12?

“You know first I thought I might be Charlie Strong (at Texas), but it seems like everyone is starting to jump on the bandwagon believing what he is doing. I am starting to think it might be Kansas State. They have a lot of returning pieces. Bill Snyder is obviously a great coach and I think a lot is going to depend on how they do Thursday night against Auburn early in the season. If they play well or even win that, that is really going to help for motivation early in the season. That may just turn the tide for them.”

The Wildcats play Auburn on September 18 at home in Manhattan, Kansas.

To hear more of Ahrens’s interview with Thurn, listen below:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Follow Sam on Twitter @samtastad and Thurn at @jtespn991.

Thurn can be heard daily on ESPN 99.1 from 3 to 6 p.m.

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