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10 Thoughts on Oklahoma State’s 70-53 Win Over Texas Tech




Oklahoma State’s football team didn’t have to dress up for Halloween this year. They’ve been dressed as 2014 Florida State for about a month now. And you know what, it keeps working.

The Pokes went down 31-14 early in the second quarter on Saturday against Texas Tech before outscoring the Fightin’ Kingsburys 56-22 the rest of the way for a not-as-easy-as-it-looked 70-53 win. The 123 combined points are the most scored in a FBS game so far this season.

It was a pair of JWs who led the charge in the second half as Glenn Spencer’s defense locked up Kingsbury’s offense, only allowing 15 points after intermission. J.W. Walsh took the reins from Mason Rudolph early in the second half (more on that later) and threw for 167 yards on five (!) passes. He also ran for 80 yards on just eight carries and added three total TDs.

James Washington added 200 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns in a homecoming of sorts to Lubbock. Ramon Richards (!) sealed the deal with a pick six late on Patty Mahomes, and Oklahoma State is 8-0 for just the third time in school history. On to the 10 thoughts!

1. The QB “controversy” is anything but

As much as we want to make it about who “the guy” is, it’s really not. Mason Rudolph is the starter and will be (barring the “I word” for the rest of his career). J.W. Walsh isn’t even really the backup. He’s a running back who runs trick pass plays when Mike & Mike feel like calling them. The dude played more or less half the game and threw five times! That doesn’t work for long stretches but against one of the worse run defenses in college football history? Sure, fine.

I was wrong about Gundy needing to ride Rudolph during the second half (I was swayed by his 260 and a TD in the first half, stupid me!), but it’s also silly to take up sides here without recognizing what both actually are. It does feel like Gundy is getting a tad liberal in the way he uses them. He even praised the system on Monday at his presser.

Have I loved No. 4 inside the red zone and No. 2 everywhere else? Yes. Does it seem like we’re trending towards Gundy trading them out on every single play? Also yes.

I trust what Mike & Mike are doing (I can’t believe I’m typing that) and J.W. takes OSU’s average to above average offense and makes it really, really strong. Maybe strong enough to escape November with a trophy. Let’s just not forget who brought you there.

2. The RB controversy on the other hand

Uhhh … has Gundy’s anti-Midas touch extended to RB1 as well? I get that Tech’s run defense is borderline TV-MA but Raymond Taylor ran like a man who wants a starting job. Gundy even acknowledged as much in his post-game presser.

I don’t want to make too much of him coming in against a gassed Tech defense (which is like playing video games against a 3-year-old kid whose eyes you just gouged out), but Ray Tay ran for 58 yards on five carries and had a pair of touchdowns on rushes like this.

He’ll play more. And he should.

3. It felt like OSU forced more than three turnovers

When the second half started, I thought OSU needed to win the turnover battle by two or more in the second half. It got three and it felt like five. Two Mahomes picks (one by my dude, Ramon) and a fumble that effectively sealed the deal. But there was also the turnover on downs on the botched punt and the turnover on downs on the fumbled fourth down.

The numbers won’t come out until Sunday, but Oklahoma State is flirting with the top spot in the Big 12 in turnover margin. You guys know what that means.

4. Glenn Spencer is going as magician for Halloween

It’s not like OSU exactly shut down Texas Tech, but they did what they needed to do and held Tech scoreless for a quarter (the third) for just the third time all season (36 total quarters). Tech’s second-half drives:

TO on downs
TO on downs
End of game

OSU has become a second half team (which is just atrocious for the blood pressure of those of us watching) and the main reason why is Glenn Spencer.

5. Tre Flowers is a beast

When you give up nearly seven hundy on defense, there aren’t a ton of bright spots, but I thought Tre Flowers was tremendous. Jakeem Grant was Tyreek 2.0 for most of the first half and No. 31 lit him up a couple of times in the second.

Is he out of position a lot? Yes. Does he get beat deep every once in a while? Absolutely. But he and Jordan Sterns bring it every single game at the safety position.

6. How awesome was the Jalen McClleskey punt return?

All year we’ve all been like, “what was Mike Gundy thinking rolling this freshman out there to return punts? WHERE IS DAVID GLIDDEN WE MISS TYREEK WHY DOES MCCLESKEY TRY TO CATCH EVERY SINGLE PUNT NO MATTER IF IT’S IN THE THIRD ROW?”

Joke’s on us, it turns out.

While we’re here, I feel like the punts alone in this game could have their own 10 thoughts. Did you guys smell the panic wafting from Camp Kingsbury after he faked one at the end of the third quarter? They scored on it, but you could tell he knew they needed something special late to hang with OSU. It’s a pretty cool thing to be on the other side of that because I feel like OSU was in that boat for a long time.

I actually got an email from a reader earlier this week asking when the last time OSU ran a trick play was. I couldn’t really remember. They haven’t needed it. (They will need it in November).

7. Have a day, James Washington

As my sister pointed out, he did the Tyreek track star finish on this play here. It was slight but it happened. Washington went for two bills on four (!) receptions and had two touchdowns. Washington had a lot of folks at the game from his hometown, and he performed like it. It was just the 10th 200-yard receiving performance in Oklahoma State history.

Also, he almost completed the greatest flag football-turned-FBS play in history.

8. Mike Yurcich deserves some credit

He should go as smoke and mirrors for Halloween tonight when he gets back to Stillwater because I have no idea how he’s doing this, but he’s doing this. OSU is going to be one of a handful of teams on Sunday averaging ~45 points a game. He’s now gone 25-9 in his stint as offensive coordinator and elevated this OSU offense from “completely unwatchable” to “I have absolutely no idea what they’re doing and I’m pretty sure they don’t either, but we’ve scored 126 points in the last two weeks.”

Granted, you were playing two of the worst defense in the country (if not the two worst), but he’s emptying the tank every single week. Reverses, double reverses, WR passes, the whole thing. Props to Mike & Mike for not going Carson up the gut every play and at least feigning some creativity.

Also, I should point out (as others have), OSU’s run/pass numbers have become a little bit deceiving because that little flip pass to McCleskey that is basically OSU’s new base run play gets counted as a pass but it’s effectively a run. Maybe I’m the only one who cares about that at this point, but it’s worth mentioning.

9. You’re playing with fire, scarecrow

It’s almost like Gundy is mid-2000s Tiger Woods just toying around with things to up his degree of difficulty every week. Change QBs in Austin and have to have your kicker boot two from 40 yards for the win? No issues. Need a pair of monstrous drives at home against Kansas State late for the win? Fine. OT in Morgantown? Got it. Down 17 to Tech on the road in Lubbock on Halloween? Cover the spread by two TDs.

It’s not a brand of football I particularly love, but he clearly trusts his defense and at least doesn’t distrust his offense. Maybe that fire gets you burned eventually. Maybe not …

10. But …

There will be 16 wins and zero losses taking the field in Stillwater next weekend when TCU comes to town. That’s pretty unbelievable, isn’t it? Oklahoma State is three home games and a trip to Ames from making the College Football Playoff (and I don’t know which one I’m more worried about). It will be a miracle if they get through unscathed, but it’s like they say, you can’t win ’em all if you don’t win the first eight.

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