Preview: No. 10 Oklahoma State opens season with visit from Tulsa

FILE - In this April 15, 2017, file photo, Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) passes during an intra squad spring NCAA college football game in Stillwater, Okla. Oklahoma State has never won a Big 12 title or played in the championship game, but goes into coach Mike Gundy's 13th season with quarterback Rudolph, receiver James Washington and running back Justice Hill. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

Oklahoma State will open its 2017 schedule with an in-state visit.

The Tulsa Golden Hurricane will be traveling to Stillwater for a Thursday night showdown with the No. 10 Cowboys.

Oklahoma State opens the season as a trendy dark-horse pick to end up in the College Football Playoff, and for good reason. Quarterback Mason Rudolph and pre-season All-American receiver James Washington return to a 10-win team that beat Colorado in last season's Alamo Bowl.

Rudolph had a big 2016 campaign, posting 4,098 pass yard and 28 TD passes, while only throwing four interceptions. His main target Washington also came through with huge numbers, hauling in 71 receptions for 1,380 yards and 10 scores. Both are favorites for a number of post-season awards.

But experts still have questions about the Cowboys' defense, that allowed almost 450 yard per game last season. Many pundits are wondering if this is the year OSU makes the leap from good team to elite status.

Their Thursday-night showdown comes against a Tulsa team that lost a lot of its' offensive production from a year ago.

Tulsa is coming off a 10-win season, and Miami Beach Bowl win, in which two of their three losses came against ranked opponents (Ohio State and Houston), and the third to a 9-win Navy squad.

The Golden Hurricane returns seven starters to its' offense. Unfortunately, one of them isn't all-time leading passer Dane Evans, who graduated from the school. Sophomore Chad President and redshirt Freshman Luke Skipper will have big shoes to fill.

Tulsa also graduated AAC leading rusher James Flanders, but Senior De'Angelo Brewer returns after a 1,400 yard campaign.

Kickoff for the game at Boone Pickens Stadium is set for 6:30 p.m. CT.

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