No. 21 Oklahoma State will be looking to extend several streaks when the Cowboys host Southeastern Louisiana Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.
For a start, the Cowboys have won 20 consecutive home openers and have never lost to an FCS opponent in 10 opportunities under coach Mike Gundy.
They have won seven of their last eight season openers and 46 of its last 51 over unranked opponents.
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And though this is their first meeting with the Lions (Fox Sports Network, 3:30 p.m. ET), they are 4-0 against teams from the Southland Conference.
With 18 starters returning from a 10-3 team, the Cowboys are looking to make a run for the Big 12 title that eluded them when they lost their last two games of the regular season, including the finale to rival Oklahoma, to finish 7-2. The Sooners wound up 8-1 in the conference and advanced to the college football playoffs.
With quarterback Mason Rudolph, a deep stable of running backs, and two of their top three receivers returning to operate behind an offensive line that welcomes back five starters, the Cowboys should once again have an explosive offense.
Rudolph passed for 3,770 yards in completing 62.3 percent of his attempts last year. Wide receivers James Washington and Marcel Ateman combined for 98 receptions for 1,853 yard and 15 touchdowns. Ateman, however, likely won't be available under October after having foot surgery in late July.
The Cowboys used a running-back-by-committee approach last year and have added some new weapons in freshman Justice Hill, rated the top running back prospect in Oklahoma, and Barry Sanders Jr. Yes, he is the son of the school's Heisman Trophy winner and transferred from Stanford for his senior season.
Sanders rushed for 315 yards for the Cardinal last season, which would have put him third on the Cowboys last season behind returnee Chris Carson (517) and J.W. Walsh (359), who has exhausted his eligibility.
"We should be improved," Gundy said of the running backs. "They're a year stronger, a year more experienced, a year more matured.
"We've got a couple of new running backs too. We certainly need to find a way to improve in that area. We'd like to average four yards per carry. We've got a ways to go, but we're certainly further ahead than we were last season."
Sanders also could be a factor in the return game.
"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."
Despite the team's overall experience, Gundy expects newcomers to contribute early.
"We're not 100 percent but we feel pretty good that we'll have six freshman that will play for us in the first game," he said, "or should play for us early in the season."