The Daily Texan spoke with Sudeep Tumma, sports editor of Oklahoma State’s student newspaper The O’Colly, ahead of Saturday’s matchup between the Longhorns and the No. 6 Cowboys.
The Daily Texan: Last week was the closest thing Oklahoma State’s has had to a statement victory in their win against a very good Iowa State team. Now that this undefeated team is well into the season, do you feel like they’re gaining momentum?
Sudeep Tumma: They were definitely doing well from the very beginning. The first game against Tulsa was a little edgy with a bunch of injuries, (redshirt sophomore quarterback) Spencer Sanders went out early, two offensive linemen went out early. But I think with the defense and how they were playing in the very beginning, there was a sense of, “This looks like a really good team.” I think this game against Iowa State really solidified “OK, this looks like a real contender.” For so long you would see their ranking in the Top 10, and it was like, “That team’s top 10?”
DT: After the photo surfaced of head coach Mike Gundy wearing a One America News Network T-shirt at a fishing trip over the summer, redshirt junior running back Chuba Hubbard and several players threatened to boycott. Has the team more or less recovered from that?
ST: For a good while, it seemed like things teetered on the line of Mike Gundy getting legitimately fired. Because you not only consider all the things that were happening over the summer, but you combine that with the fact that Mike Gundy hasn’t been doing that great. You see the record against OU, you see the lack of Big 12 Championships. The one thing that kind of kept him was he’s been the best coach that OSU has ever had. It just felt so weird. But I think things really calmed down a few weeks after that when athletic director Mike Holder and (deputy) AD Chad Weiberg released the results of their investigation. They investigated the team to see if there was an issue of race, and all they found was Mike Gundy didn’t have strong enough relationships with his players. I think everything really calmed down. It almost came to a screeching halt … .
DT: Despite being at home, the Cowboys are just 3-point favorites. Are you surprised at this?
ST: I saw that too, and I was like “Oh wow,” but I guess we can kind of put it together. Home field advantage in college football is not the same home-field advantage it usually is, and I think Texas is a little better. It definitely played better last week, and (Texas) has Sam Ehlinger. That’s a very, very, very important talent for any team. And the way OSU is, traditionally it’s been a high-flying explosive offense, whoever gets the ball last is going to win. But this year is so different, because right now OSU has the fifth-best (offense in the Big 12), and I don’t think that’s a fluke at all. You look at the talent on this team from top to bottom, each and every position, secondary, linebackers, defensive line, they’re two-deep at every position. That’s something Mike Gundy has never had, even when he’s had good defenses. This defense is just at another level, which is why I anticipate it being a close game against a team I think is getting better in Texas. I can understand three points.