Well, that sure was fun.
Oklahoma State jumped out to a monstrous lead on TCU early in Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday afternoon and hung on late to cruise to its 11th straight victory overall and move to 9-0 on the aging season. For the first 30 minutes, Oklahoma State looked like
a SEC team one of the four best squads in the country, pressuring Trevone Boykin and exacting a suddenly-surprising explosive attack on offense. Mason Rudolph put up 270 yards and four touchdowns in the first half and OSU leapt to a 28-9 advantage.
It wasn’t as pretty in the second half thanks to Mike & Mike trying to wind down the clock (more on that later), but four Boykin turnovers turned an “I’ve got the nervies” lead late into a decisive victory. 10 thoughts on a spectacular afternoon-turned evening inside Boone Pickens Stadium.
1. James Washington, not a fluke
Four of James Washington’s five 100-yard outings in his career have come over OSU’s last five games this season. We have suddenly turned the corner from “that’s a bunch of average to above average wide receivers playing for OSU” to “wait, that dude is elite, isn’t he?” Rudolph went to him over and over again and No. 28 delivered every time. From double moves to leaping, spinning catches, James Washington has officially arrived as one of the handful of best receivers in the Big 12.
He finished with five catches for 184 yards and three TDs which means in the last three games he has 15 catches for 487 yards and six TDs (that seems good). So does this.
2. Glenn Spencer’s agent bathes in hundred-dollar bills
I have no idea if Glenn Spencer has an agent, but if he does, that man is a very happy man. TCU’s point totals so far this season coming into Saturday’s game in Stillwater.
They hadn’t been held to less than 40 by any Big 12 team all season. They hadn’t been held to less than 30 by any Big 12 team since November 2013. They ran 110 (!) plays and could only muster 29 points (there have only been three Power 5 games since 2000 in which a team has run 105 or more plays and been held under 30 and OSU has been involved in two of them — 2011 Baylor and today).
Glenn Spencer is the Prince of Stillwater.
Yes, Glenn Spencer is the Prince of Stillwater.
TCU came into today averaging 3.54 points per drive, 3rd in the country. Today they scored 1.7 points/drive, which would be 96th. #Spencer
— Dave Hudson (@okc_dave) November 8, 2015
3. Mason Rudolph figured out how to stay on the field
Just throw deep ball TDs to James Washington. That will keep J.W. Walsh at arm’s length. One of my friends here in Dallas is a pretty heavy OU fan. He texted me after that first Rudolph to Washington TD: “Wow, that’s an NFL throw.”
It was. I mean that is a boss throw. Chris Leak thinks that was a pretty deep ball.
Rudolph finished 16/24 for 352 yards and five TDs. I was pretty disappointed in the second quarter when Gundy went to his NHL-style QB line changes. You could almost visibly see Rudolph willing himself into The Zone with 20-yard pass after 20-yard pass. He was lighting the Heisman frontrunner on fire in the biggest game of the season. He was playing as well as he’s ever played in his career. And Gundy was like, “yeah, I think we can do better than this.”
It’s tough to complain about the way Mike & Mike have handled those two all year (though part of me thinks it’s all just randomly drawn out of Pistol Pete’s head on the sidelines during games), but that wasn’t their finest moment. It didn’t matter today. It might in the next three weeks.
4. OSU’s turnover margin is real
Coming into today, Oklahoma State and Baylor were the only two Big 12 teams with a turnover margin per game better than one. OSU turned TCU over four times and didn’t turn the ball over itself a single time. Oklahoma State is basically never going to lose if it wins the turnover battle 4-0 at home. Like, ever to any team in the last 25 years. Certainly not to a Josh Doctson-less TCU team.
5. Trevone Boykin’s Heisman hopes got flushed
This was basically a straight up carbon copy of the 2011 Baylor-Oklahoma State game. OSU rolled early, tucked it away late and the Heisman-hopeful QB from a team in Texas looked like his chances to touch the most famous trophy in sports ended in excruciating fashion. If you’re a TCU fan, this is great news! Bob Griffin somehow still exited NYC with the stiff-armed lump of bronze which seemed the most improbable outcome after Baylor got thumped in Stillwater that year.
The bigger story here to me is how difficult it’s going to be to go on the road in November in the Big 12 and get a win. That’s, uh, great news if you’re an Oklahoma State fan and just ignore the face that OSU has to go to Ames next weekend where nothing exciting ever happens and yeah I’m totally just skipping that game. I haven’t told Kyle Boone yet, but I’m not even going to watch. I’ll just log off the Internet until Monday morning. He will be covering everything for you.
"It's Boone. I have six B12 employees tied up. 11 a.m. in Ames, you hear?"
"We don't have a night game."
[Fires shotgun in air]
— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) November 8, 2015
By the way, I did think the way OSU ended it on Boykin was pretty much perfect. 35/57 for 445 yards and 73 yards rushing plus three total TDs is good. It’s just not good enough. Not tonight. Not in Boone’s house. Not on this defense.
6. It seems like OSU always has one lights out game at home every season
Boone’s house was incredible on Saturday. As an at-home consumer, I couldn’t ever get away from the noise. Gundy said it right after the game (as he did his “look into the camera like I’m auditioning for The Office even though it’s been off the air for a long time now” thing). Mason Rudolph noted it as well.
Mason Rudolph on BPS tonight: "I think our fans were incredible — just the best they’ve been all year." #okstate
— Nathan Ruiz (@NathanSRuiz) November 8, 2015
James Washington said it was the loudest he’s ever heard the staduim. That place knows its role and plays it to perfection. They can taste 12 more quarters until paydirt. I could not have been more impressed.
7. The Josh Doctson thing
Doctson looked like he broke his wrist (or worse?) in the first half after OSU was already up big. That’s a huge bummer for him (and TCU), and I’m not sure it didn’t change the entire attitude of TCU’s team as well as their offensive philosophy. Think back to the end of that game. Boykin was dinking and dunking his way up and down the field. But he didn’t have a home run threat to go to when he needed a quick score. I’m not going to sit here and say TCU would have won if Doctson hadn’t gotten hurt, but OSU’s string of luck (refs, schedule etc.) keeps on rolling.
While we’re here — are we sure Boykin isn’t a slightly above-average QB who looks like an All-American simply because of Doctson? Is this the rich man’s version of Zac Robinson and Dez Bryant? Boykin is great, don’t get me wrong, but Doctson takes him to another level altogether.
8. It’s so tough to finish off blowouts against elite teams
I know some people are aghast at how conservative Oklahoma State got late. The problem? You would do the exact same thing if you were coaching. It’s strangely difficult to finish off blowouts against big boy teams. You don’t want to get cute and start throwing pick sixes when you’re going for the jugular, but you also don’t want to go Fox News and sit in the corner while No. 2 is trying to perform his heroics.
Mike & Mike played the percentages and said, “look, this comeback will happen one out of ever 200 games, but we aren’t going to accelerate destiny for them.” That’s frustrating as a fan, but it’s almost never not smart to deliver teams to the hands of Emmanuel Ogbah and Co. (even if they were on the field for almost 110 plays).
There’s an odd lull when you go up big in games like this — as if you’ve already won them and you don’t know what to do next. The part I thought was poor was that OSU had a real chance to drive the dagger in early in the second half. They got the ball back with almost a minute left in the first half and Rudolph in NBA Jam catch fire mode and knew they were getting it first in the second half. They showed out poorly on those two drives which sort of set the tone for the rest of the second half offensively (save James Washington).
9. That was the first time OSU looked like a playoff team
I texted Carson at halftime (per the usual) and told him OSU looked like a playoff team in the first 30 minutes. TCU is good. Really good. With Josh Doctson, they’re awesome. Without him, they’re still awesome. You don’t win 16 straight playing in the Big 12 and light Ole Miss on fire in a bowl game without being an elite team. And OSU dressed them down like they were a middling Big 12 squad trying to simply survive until the bowls roll around.
Don’t let the national narrative be, “well Doctson got hurt and maybe TCU isn’t as good as we thought they were.” No. Oklahoma State came out and straight punched a top five team in the mouth over and over for 60 straight minutes. OSU has been an above average team surviving on timely officiating and a couple of QBs who won’t let them lose for eight straight games. On Saturday in Stillwater, they grew up. Which leads us to …
10. It’s November 7 and Oklahoma State hasn’t lost
Are you feeling that yet?
Iowa State, Baylor and OU for the Big 12 title and a berth in the College Football Playoff. I know the College Football Playoff committee is probably going to change the criteria for teams this week to “how many games have you won in conference against SEC teams?” but 12-0 is 12-0. I didn’t truly believe it was possible until today.
It’s within reach, you guys.
Baylor and OU will probably show out better than TCU did (and we’ve already discussed Iowa State), but college football’s Final Four is very much lingering now and OSU has proven it has the crowd, the QB and the defense to enter it.
On to the final three.