The Oklahoma State Cowboys’ defense could encounter challenges during the Texas Bowl against the Texas A&M Aggies.

The Aggies have one final game left in the 2023 schedule before transitioning to the Mike Elko era, heading to Houston for their Texas Bowl showdown versus the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Despite the Cowboys suffering a significant defeat to the Texas Longhorns in the Big 12 Championship, they remain a substantial threat to the Aggies, particularly offensively. While their offense stands among the nation’s best, their defense ranks considerably low in total defense, sitting at No. 124 in the country. However, this doesn’t discount the presence of some skilled defensive playmakers.

Highlighted here are the players to keep an eye on from Oklahoma State’s defense during the upcoming game against Texas:

LBs Nickolas Martin and Collin Oliver are pivotal contributors to the Cowboys’ defense. The Aggies have faced challenges in their offensive line this season, ranking 88th in the nation in sacks allowed (28). Conversely, the Cowboys have secured 25 sacks this year, positioned 75th nationally. The linebacker duo of Nickolas Martin and Collin Oliver has amassed 12 sacks combined, with six each. They’ve also generated a total of 17 quarterback hurries and forced five fumbles. Should the Aggies’ pocket struggle to hold up against Cowboys QB Jaylen Henderson, these players are likely to capitalize, disrupting plays in the backfield. Additionally, Oliver poses a threat in pass coverage, equalling the team lead in pass deflections with five, while Martin leads the team in tackles with an impressive 133 this season.

Safety Cameron Epps is another key player to watch from Oklahoma State. Despite the Aggies ranking 85th in the country in turnover margin, they’ve been relatively careful with the football, having turned it over only 13 times this season (ranking 22nd nationally). Epps, responsible for fortifying the back line, leads the Cowboys with three interceptions. He’s returned one of those interceptions for a touchdown, showcasing himself as a primary playmaker in the secondary. With the Aggies entering the game without Evan Stewart or Ainias Smith, Epps is poised to present an even more formidable challenge for their offense.

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