OSU Football: Midseason Review
STILLWATER - It’s hard to believe we’ve reached the midway point in the season already. Oklahoma State (4-2, 2-1) sits fourth in the Big 12 entering a bye week but the race for the conference title has only begun. Let’s take a look at how the team leaders have performed so far.
Mike Gundy – He’s had a rough start to the season from the botched call at the end of the Central Michigan game to T. Boone Pickens’ criticism two weeks later. Gundy’s time management tactics in crunch-time situations has to improve or it could cost the Cowboys again.
Mike Yurcich – The offensive coordinator position at Oklahoma State is usually the hottest seat on the coaching staff due to lofty expectations. Yurcich has the Cowboys fourth in the conference in scoring (40.7ppg), third in passing (350.5 ypg), eighth in rushing (129.7 ypg) and seventh in total offense per game (480.2 ypg). He’s also seventh in the Big 12 in third down conversion percentage at 41.8 percent.
Glenn Spencer – It’s really hard to judge a defensive coordinator in the Big 12. On one hand, Spencer’s unit is fourth in the conference in points allowed (28.7 ppg), second in interceptions (6), second in sacks per game (3.0) and tied for second in red zone defense (75 percent scoring rate). On the other hand, his defense ranks eighth among Big 12 teams in yards allowed (447.8 ypg) and has given up 30+ points to every FBS opponent this season.
Mason Rudolph – 2,036 yards passing, 13 touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 1 rushing touchdown. Rudolph has put up fantastic stats through the first half of the season and yet he sure seems capable of raising his level of play. The overthrows are real and frequent, but he makes us forget about them with each bomb he drops in Washington’s lap, each needle he threads to McCleskey across the middle. Maybe we’re nitpicking when the junior is third in the Big 12 in passing yards per game (339.8 ypg) and touchdowns (13) and fourth in passer rating (152.9).
Justice Hill – 87 carries, 403 rushing yards, 3 touchdowns. The freshman has been a catalyst for the running game, averaging 104.7 rushing yards per game since conference-play began. He’s also scored in three-straight games. The only knock on Hill has been the fumbles: two against Baylor that arguably cost OSU the game and one against Iowa State that could’ve been costly had it not been jumped on by center Brad Lundblade.
James Washington – 36 receptions, 731 receiving yards, 6 touchdowns. Washington is the most dangerous weapon in Oklahoma State’s arsenal and his current receiving pace puts him among the best five seasons by a Cowboy receiver in school history. He’s currently fifth nationally in receiving yards and ninth in receiving touchdowns and Oklahoma State has already faced the top two passing defenses in the league.
Offensive Line – Not great, but getting better. Averaging 3.3 yards per carry against Iowa State isn’t good. They’ll have more chances to prove themselves against Kansas (allowing 187.4 rushing ypg) next week and West Virginia (allowing 191.2 rushing ypg) coming up.
Pass Rushers – Oklahoma State’s 18 sacks through six games is nice, but the Cowboys haven’t been able to put consistent pressure on opposing quarterbacks and it has resulted in the defensive giving up several chunk plays. Newcomers DeQuinton Osborne and Tralund Webber hold the sack lead with 3.5 and 3.0 sacks respectively.
Vincent Taylor – The anchor of the defensive line has helped OSU to fifth in the conference in rushing yards allowed per game (177.8) and his two blocked extra points against Texas will go down in Cowboys lore. He’s also got a pair of sacks on the season.
Linebackers – Devante Averette leads the team with 40 tackles and two forced fumbles. Jordan Burton has started every game but had to miss snaps in multiple contests thanks to injuries; he’s also at 40 tackles and has two interceptions to his name. Middle linebacker Chad Whitener has been solid with 33 tackles through six games.
Jordan Sterns – The secondary hasn’t looked very good, but without Sterns it looks even worse. He’s got 39 tackles, an interception and three pass breakups. His 7.8 tackles per game ranks eighth in the Big 12 and the Cowboys need him healthy to stay in the race for the conference title. Sterns missed the Iowa State game with an undisclosed issue but was in uniform on the sideline. Maybe the week off allows him to ready himself for Kansas on Oct. 22nd.
Injured Cowboys – Senior receiver Marcell Ateman is still recovering from offseason foot surgery and could return against Kansas at the earliest. Senior running back Chris Carson has missed the past four games with a broken hand and his timetable for return is uncertain. Sophomore defensive end Jordan Brailford has missed the past three games with a leg injury; his timetable for return is uncertain as well. Freshman receiver Dillon Stoner has a foot injury that has sidelined him for the season.