Alamo Bowl preview: Oklahoma St. and Colorado set to put on a show

Freshman running back Justice Hill will play a pivotal role for Oklahoma State in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
Freshman running back Justice Hill will play a pivotal role for Oklahoma State in the Valero Alamo Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports /

The Oklahoma State Cowboys and Colorado Buffalos will meet Thursday in the Valero Alamo Bowl, which just might be the best game of this bowl season.

When the 12th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys and 10th-ranked Colorado Buffalos kick off in the Valero Alamo Bowl Thursday, there are certain to be fireworks. The Pac-12 Championship runner-up will face the Big XII runner-up in a showcase of two strong offenses. Both teams are stocked with weapons that are sure to entertain.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys Quarterback

Junior quarterback Mason Rudolph currently ranks seventh in the nation in passing yards per game with 314.8. He’s built a pretty solid resumé for himself this season with some big performances against quality opponents.

He torched the Pittsburgh secondary for 540 yards and two passing touchdowns on September 17 to set a school record. Then later in November, he went nuts on eventual Texas Bowl champion Kansas State for 457 yards and five touchdowns. Furthermore, in just two seasons as the Cowboys starter, he’s already second all-time in passing yards with 8,400.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys receivers

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Sophomore wide receiver Jalen McClesky has been his primary target for those yards, hauling in 69 receptions for 762 yards and seven touchdowns. But despite leading the team in receptions, he’s not the biggest playmaking receiver for Oklahoma State.

That distinction belongs to junior wideout James Washington. His 1,209 yards on 62 receptions gives him an average of 19.5 yards per reception. His nine receiving touchdowns also lead the team.

Also, he hauled in a 91-yard touchdown reception against Pittsburgh, which was the second-longest in school history. Rudolph and Washington have quite the connection, and McClesky gives opponents something to think about every time Rudolph drops back.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys running back

On the ground, the Cowboys have rushed for 2,032 yards. Freshman running back Justice Hill pounded away 1,042 yards. That set a new mark for rushing yards by a freshman. Between Hill, Rudolph, McClesky and Washington, the Buffalos will have a lot to think about when the Alamo Bowl kicks off. But they’ve got some playmakers of their own to counter with.

The Colorado Buffalos running back

While four skill players run the show for OSU, the Buffalos distribute the wealth a little more. Junior running back Phillip Lindsay leads the team in rushing yards with 1,189 and ran for a team-leading 16 touchdowns this season.

The Colorado Buffalos quarterback

Meanwhile, Colorado boasts a solid signal-caller in senior Sefo Liufau. He’s the all-time leading passer for the Buffalos with 9,568 career passing yards and he’s also three passing touchdowns shy of the career leader. In the past four seasons, he’s led the Colorado offense after taking over the starting gig for the final eight games of his freshman year. He’d love nothing more than to finish his collegiate career with a bang.

The Colorado Buffalos receivers

On the receiving end, Colorado features a trio of junior receivers in Shay Fields, Devin Ross and Bryce Bobo. The three have combined for 159 receptions and 2,133 yards with 16 touchdown receptions. The fact that Liufau has those kind of options with the passing game could create some great mismatches against a vulnerable Oklahoma State defense.

The end result

For real college fans, this game has all the makings of a classic. Two high-powered offenses will butt heads and sling the ball around for 60 minutes Thursday night. The team left holding the ball at the end will likely be the one to lose.

While offense will rule, turnovers and special teams will make the difference as neither team will punt often. But there could be a few interceptions on both sides. When all is said and done, Colorado will pull off the victory in a high-scoring 52-45 game.