OSU Football: Trends To Watch For As Cowboys Face Kansas

Friday, October 21st 2016, 6:46 pm
By: News On 6

As the Oklahoma State football team prepares to head to Lawrence for tomorrow's road tilt with Kansas, we take a look at streaks on the line and other trends to look out for this weekend.
Week Eight Talking Points – Offense

• Receiver James Washington ranks ninth nationally with 121.8 receiving yards per game and he leads the nation with 10 catches of a least 30 yards this season. The Stamford, Texas, native has caught a pass in 25 consecutive games and has surpassed 100 yards receiving in eight games during his career, including twice this season.

• A large reason for his success is play of quarterback Mason Rudolph, who has established himself as one of the Big 12's best quarterbacks. Rudolph has thrown for at least 350 yards three times this season, including a school-record 540-yard day in OSU's win over Pitt. Rudolph has twice hit 300 yards passing at halftime this season, and he has accounted for four touchdowns in each of his last two games. Additionally, Rudolph is one of just two players in the country who has attempted more than 200 passes and has two or fewer interceptions. On the year, Rudolph ranks seventh nationally with 339.8 passing yards per game. His 2,039 passing yards, 337.5 yards of total offense per game, 23.83 completions per game and 14.26 passing yards per completion also rank among the top 15 in the country.

• After undergoing years of scrutiny, Oklahoma State's running game is establishing itself as a threat. The Cowboy offensive line has paved the way for a 100-yard rusher against Pitt (Rennie Childs, 10 carries for 101 yards), Baylor
(Justice Hill, 20 carries for 122 yards) and Texas (Justice Hill, 25 carries for 135 yards). As a team, the Cowboys went from rushing for 50 yards against Central Michigan in week two to an average of 146 rushing yards per game in the last four games, including a 213-yard day at Baylor and a 163-yard effort in the game against Texas.

• Running back Justice Hill has been the brightest spot in the re-emergence of the OSU rushing attack, putting together back-to-back 100-yard performances in his first two starts. A true freshman, Hill put up 135 yards on the ground in OSU's win over Texas. That effort combined with his 122 rushing yards against Baylor in OSU's prior game led to Hill becoming the first true freshman in OSU history to rush for more than 100 yards in back-to-back games against ranked opponents. His average of 104.7 rushing yards per game against Big 12 opposition ranks third in the league and he is only freshman among the top 10 rushers in the Big 12.
Week Eight Talking Points – Defense

• The Cowboy defense has found a way to close out games in recent weeks. Against Texas, OSU held the Longhorns to just six second-half points on its way to a 49-31 win in a game where the Cowboys led by just two at the half. Then against Iowa State last game, the Cowboys held the Cyclones without a point in the final 20 minutes of play to mount a 38-31 comeback win after trailing by 17. In fact, the Cowboys have made in-game adjustments all season, as they've held opponents to 35 percent less points in the second half than the first. OSU's defense has been best in the final quarter, allowing opponents just 3.3 points per game in the last 15 minutes.

• One of the biggest storylines in OSU's win over Texas was that the Cowboys blocked three consecutive PAT attempts and returned the first one for a score. The Cowboys lead the country with four blocked kicks on the year and DT Vincent Taylor, who blocked two against the Longhorns, leads the nation with three blocks this season.

• The Cowboys lead the Big 12 in red zone defense. The Cowboys have held opponents to a 50 percent success rate in two of the last three games. Opponents have only scored 75 percent of the time in the red zone this season.

• Forcing turnovers has long been a focal point of defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer's scheme. After six games in 2016, the Cowboys have been successful in that regard. Oklahoma State has forced 13 turnovers this season, with a large part of it due to a Big 12-leading seven fumbles recovered on the year.

• Tackles for loss have also long been a staple of the Cowboy defense, and this year the Cowboys have racked up 8.3 tackles for loss per game to rank ninth in the nation. The Cowboy defensive front has had the biggest impact on those numbers, as the D-line has accounted for 64 percent of the overall tackles for loss
Notable Streaks and Trends Entering the Kansas Game

• Oklahoma State has won 16 of its last 21 games overall, dating back to the end of the 2014 season.

• Oklahoma State has won six of its last seven true road games, dating back to the 2014 season.

• Oklahoma State has won its last six over Kansas dating back to 2007.

• Oklahoma State has won its last six games played against Kansas in Lawrence, dating back to 1994.

• Oklahoma State is averaging 536.5 yards of offense in its last four games.

• Oklahoma State is outscoring its opponents by a 82-33 margin in the first quarter of games this season.

• Oklahoma State's defense has forced at least one turnover in 16 of the last 17 games.

• Oklahoma State holds a 62-28 advantage in points off turnovers through six games this season.

• Dating back to 2005, the Cowboys have won 27 of their last 28 games when not committing a turnover.

• Dating back to the 2008 season, the Cowboys have won 47 of their last 51 games when winning the turnover battle.

• Quarterback Mason Rudolph has thrown 25 touchdown passes against just four interceptions in his last 12 games, dating back to the 2015 season.

• Quarterback Mason Rudolph has thrown just two interceptions in 231 pass attempts this season.

• Receiver James Washington has at least one catch in each of his last 25 games.

• Receiver James Washington is averaging 157.0 yards receiving in his last four games.

• Of Zach Sinor's 31 punts this season, 19 have been downed inside the opponent 20-yard line, with only one touchback. Sinor's 31 punts have yielded only 26 punt return yards for the opponent.

• Running back Justice Hill has rushed for at least 100 yards in two of the last three games. The only Cowboy true freshmen to rush for 100 yards or more three times in a season are Thurman Thomas (three times in 1984) and Andre Richardson (three times in 1994).