The Oklahoma State Cowboy 2016 opener against Southeastern Louisiana will kick off at 2:30 p.m. on Sept. 3 on FSN.
The Cowboys and Lions have never met, but OSU is 9-0 against Football Championship Subdivision opponents under coach Mike Gundy and is 68-41-5 in all season-openers. The Cowboys haven’t lost a season-opening home game since 1995, when they fell to national champion Nebraska.
“We’re excited about playing a game,” said Gundy. “The offense and defense have gone against themselves so much that I think they’re ready to play a game.”
Southeastern Louisiana was picked to finish sixth in the Southland Conference.
“We feel like we have the pieces in place to be in the hunt for the Southland Conference championship,” Southeastern fifth-year head coach Ron Roberts said. “We expect to be as strong up front on both sides of the ball as we’ve been since I’ve been here. We do have some areas where we are young and unproven, but the talent is there.”
The Southeastern Louisiana Lions were 4-7 last year, with wins over Northwestern State University, Florida Institute of Technology, Lamar and Houston Baptist. They were 3-6 in the Southland Conference.
The Cowboys look to improve their running game from last season.
Freshman running back Justice Hill from Tulsa Washington has stood out in preseason practice.
“He’s done very well in camp and we’re trying to make some adjustments in the running game,” Gundy said. “We think that the group that we have now, the three or four, is better than what we were using last year with really two to three. So he’s part of that group that we think makes us better.”
“It’s going to be interesting to see who emerges out of that,” OSU Offensive Coordinator Mike Yurich said of the group of running backs. “Kind of tailback by committee to start, then see who has the hot hand and go from there. Coach [Marcus Arroyo] has done a great job of getting all our guys assignments down so they understand the schemes. Very sound with pass protection. We all understand ball security. Now it’s just a matter of who is going to execute when the bolts start flying.”
Barry Sanders, Jr., is the son of Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders, Sr. He transferred from Stanford and will have one year of eligibility left. He may return punts and kickoffs. “So far he’s done really well,” Gundy said. “We’ll have a group that will return punts and kicks. We feel like we have more depth there than we did last year. So we’re going to use a few different guys early in the season and try to see who works best for our team.”