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Instant Analysis: Oklahoma State Survives Central Michigan

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Oklahoma State beat Central Michigan 24-13 in its season opener on Thursday night. Here’s instant analysis of the game, but stay tuned for the full game recap.  

What went well

Who would’ve guessed that Oklahoma State had two quarterbacks who could run? After J.W. Walsh entered the game in the second quarter for a Bell-Dozer type of formation to give the Cowboys their first touchdown of the game, Rudolph decided to show off his set of wheels in the third quarter and rumbled 21 yards to the first rushing touchdown of his career. Rudolph only finished with 20 yards rushing, a deflated total thanks to some sacks, but the fact that he’s not afraid to let loose with his legs is a positive sign for Oklahoma State moving forward.

What OSU could’ve done better

If you ask head coach Mike Gundy, he’d say there was a lot his team could improve on, but something that really stuck out was the average play of the Cowboys’ offensive line.

In the first half especially, Rudolph was continually forced to escape the pocket due to the Chippewas’ pressure. In turn, we were able to see what Rudolph could do with his legs, but against a better team in the Big 12 conference, poor line play could be more detrimental.

Ben Grogan’s kicking was also something that didn’t go as smoothly as the Cowboys would’ve liked. Grogan missed two field goals of 42 and 26 yards while sinking his 22-yard attempt.

Surprise performer

All of the defensive hype in the preseason was directed towards defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah, but it was the other end, Jimmy Bean, who had the big game on Thursday night. Series after series, play after play, Bean was a disruptive force on the Cowboy defensive line. He finished the night with four tackles and a sack, but his energy in the trenches was crucial for a defense that was struggling in the secondary.

Game ball

It’s always easy to pick the quarterback, but for Oklahoma State, the Cowboys couldn’t be happier with how composed Rudolph was in the second half of this victory.

After Central Michigan took the lead in the third quarter, Rudolph responded on the next drive with a humongous 16-yard rushing touchdown. Then on the Cowboys’ first drive of the fourth quarter, Rudolph hooked up with receiver Marcel Ateman for a 16-yard touchdown that seemingly sealed the game for Oklahoma State.  

It was Rudolph’s composure that made that game-changing, fourth-quarter touchdown possible. Rudolph quickly recovered a bad snap on third-and-long while the Cowboys were at midfield before connecting with receiver Austin Hayes for a first down that kept the drive alive.   

What’s next

Oklahoma State will play its first home game of the season on Saturday, September 12, when they host Central Arkansas. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m.

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