Two former Big 12 rivals who have not faced off since the 2011 season renew acquaintances in the 14th annual Texas Bowl when the 25th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys take on the Texas A&M Aggies, who finished the season at 7-5 out of the national rankings. While not much is at stake in the game other than pride, the Cowboys feature the leading rusher in the FBS this season in 20-year-old sophomore Chuba Hubbard, who appears likely to be taken with a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
The native of Alberta, Canada, who played the Canadian version of the game in high school, led the FBS in almost every running category, including rushing yards with 1,936. The Cowboys star also racked up 10 straight 100-yard games, including four 200-yard outings. He tallied multiple touchdowns in seven games.
Stopping Hubbard will be the key to the game for the Aggies, who ranked just 30th overall against the run, according to The Houston Chronicle. Texas A&M surrendered 129 yards rushing per game, on average. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State gained 236 yards per game, mostly thanks to Hubbard.
But Cowboys freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders also rushed for 625 yards, even while missing OSU's final two regular season games. That was good enough for second on the team. Sanders is expected to return from his thumb injury to start the Texas Bowl.
CBS Sports previews the Texas Bowl, complete with tips for betting the Oklahoma State vs. Texas A&M game against the spread, in the video below.The Aggies may be the strongest non-ranked team in the FBS, with all five of their losses coming from teams ranked in the top 13, according to The Action Network. Perhaps as a result of their schedule, which included four losses in the SEC, Texas A&M comes into the bowl game as significant favorites, enjoying a spread of 6 1/2 points.
Texas A&M will also be without their top run defender Justin Madubuike, who has elected not to risk injury as he attempts to turn pro, and will sit out the Texas Bowl. That will open up even more opportunities for Hubbard, who has elected to take part in the game despite his own pending pro career.
On the other side of the ball, Texas A&M was only 73rd in the FBS in rushing yards per game, with 152. That running game will be even weaker without Cordarrian Richardson who failed to show up for practice leading up to the game for reasons that the team did not disclose and will not play on Friday.
Kickoff of the 2019 Texas Bowl is set for 5:45 p.m. CST at NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas. The game will telecast by ESPN.