As the Oklahoma State football team prepares to take on Pittsburgh tomorrow in the last non-conference game on its schedule, we take a look at some streaks on the line and other trends to look out for this weekend.
Week Three Talking Points – Offense
• Cowboy quarterback Mason Rudolph continues to rewrite the record book at Oklahoma State. Already the owner of double-digit school records, he added one more to his resume last week: OSU's all-time leading passer. He passed previous record holder Brandon Weeden (9,260) and now sits alone atop the list with 9,352 career passing yards. Rudolph can add his name to another place in the OSU record book this week. He holds the longest active streak in the nation of pass attempts without an interception at 185 entering the game at Pitt. 10 more attempts without an interception will break Weeden's school record of 194.
• The Cowboy receivers have continued to display their depth, as eight different players caught a pass against South Alabama and five different players caught at least four passes and five had at least 40 receiving yards. James Washington has maintained his spot as the headliner of the group, as he continues to make highlight reel plays. He has three touchdown catches of at least 40 yards in the first two games, and he has a catch of at least 40 yards in six of OSU's last seven games.
• OSU's ground game has also been a major contributor this year, as the Cowboys have churned out a total of 495 yards in the first two games. Sophomore Justice Hill and true freshman J.D. King have led the pack with 159 rushing yards a piece, and redshirt freshman LD Brown has helped the cause with 130 yards of his own. As a team, the Cowboys are averaging 6.7 yards per carry, with J.D. King's 11.4 average leading the way.
Week Three Talking Points – Defense
• The Cowboy defense asserted itself in the opening quarter last week, holding USA without a first down and to just 9 total yards on four drives. That marked the fewest yards gained by an OSU opponent in a quarter since the Cowboys held Kansas to a 6-yard third quarter in 2010.
• The OSU defense was especially good on third downs last week, allowing South Alabama to convert on just one of 10 third downs.
• Non-offensive touchdowns have been a staple of Oklahoma State's success since 2010, as the Cowboys have totaled 41 to rank third nationally during that time span. The defense has continued the trend so far in 2017, scoring once in each of the Cowboys first two games. linebacker Kenneth Edison-McGruder returned a Tulsa fumble 82 yards for a touchdown in the opener and Linebacker Justin Phillips had a 25-yard pick six off of a ball that was tipped twice to help seal OSU's win at South Alabama last week.
• The Cowboys have forced a turnover in 16 consecutive games, including four in the last two games. Forcing turnovers has long been an emphasis for OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer, and after two games in 2017, OSU ranks among the top 25 nationally in turnover margin at +1.0 per game.
• OSU wrapped up the 2016 season ranked 13th nationally in red zone defense, only allowing opponents to score on 75 percent of their red zone opportunities. They rank in the top 10 in red zone defense so far in 2017, allowing opponents to score just three times in six red zone trips on the year.
• OSU held South Alabama scoreless in the first half last week. It marked the second time in the last three games the Cowboys have shut out an opponent in the first half, as they also shutout Colorado in the first half of last season's Alamo Bowl. It was the third time in the last five games OSU has shut out an opponent in a half, also shutting out TCU in the second half last year.
Notable Streaks and Trends Entering the Pittsburgh Game
• Oklahoma State has won 10 of its last 11 games overall.
• QB Mason Rudolph has thrown 28 touchdown passes against just two interceptions in his last 11 games.
• QB Mason Rudolph has attempted 185 passes without an interception - the longest active streak in the country - and needs 10 more attempts to break Brandon Weeden's 2011 school record of 194 attempts.
• Receiver James Washington has at least one catch in each of his last 34 games - the second longest active streak in the country.
• Receiver Jalen McCleskey has at least one catch in each of his last 24 games.
• OSU is 11-1 in its last 12 games decided by less than 10 points.
• Oklahoma State has rushed for more than 200 yards in four of its last six games.
• Oklahoma State has trailed at some point in six of its last 11 wins.
• Oklahoma State has won 24 of its last 30 games overall, dating back to the end of the 2014 season.
• Oklahoma State has scored at least 20 points in each of its last 31 games - the second-longest active streak in the nation, trailing only Oregon's streak of 42 straight.
• Oklahoma State's defense has forced at least one turnover in 16 straight games and in 25 of the last 26 games, dating back to 2015.
• Dating back to 2005, the Cowboys have won 30 of their last 32 games when not committing a turnover.
• Dating back to 2008, the Cowboys have won 52 of their last 57 games when winning the turnover battle.
• Oklahoma State has held its last 10 opponents to a total of minus-20 punt return yards.