As I watched the second half of OSU’s 34-10 loss at the Red Bull-soaked hands of Dana Holgorsen and West Virginia I thought “it hasn’t been this bad since 2005.”
That might just be me hyperbolizing the moment but it’s hard to remember a time since then (maybe the final two games of the 2009 season) that I’ve wanted to euthanize a season and move to the next one as much as I want to with the one we’re currently in.
Let’s get to the 10 Thoughts (I’ll try to keep it positive).
1. Kevin White was shut down: If you’d have told me on Thursday that Kevin White would have three catches for 27 yards and one TD I would have told you OSU would be bowling on Saturday night.
Alas, it was nearly the only bright spot for the Pokes on Saturday. Other than White’s “welcome to the Big 12” move on Ramon Richards in the first quarter Kevin Peterson shut him down in full. Color me impressed.
And if you’re wondering why Ramon Richards was covering Kevin White in the first quarter to begin with, it doesn’t sound like WVU has ever lined White up on the left side of the field.
West Virginia touchdown pass to WR Kevin White was the first time I've seen him line up on the left side all season. WVU has rigid roles
— Chris B. Brown (@smartfootball) October 25, 2014
2. The difficulty OSU has in scoring TDs right now is incredible: In the last 10 quarters OSU has one offensive touchdown and it was courtesy of Teddy Johnson (Teddy Johnson!)
Here’s how the last 44 drives have gone (end of ISU and then all of Kansas, TCU, and WVU):
Missed FG: 2
You aren’t going to beat many Sun Belt squads with those numbers.
#OKState scored 20+ points in 58 consecutive games. Cowboys have since strung together 19 total in two.
— Mark Cooper (@mark_cooperjr) October 25, 2014
3. Daxx Garman is not good at football: Mike Gundy can talk all he wants about OSU’s offensive line — and he’s certainly correct to a degree — but when Garman is standing in the pocket unencumbered and sailing passes seven feet over the heads of Marcell Ateman and Austin Hays that’s not Paul Lewis’ or Zac Veatch’s fault.
It looks like he’s playing whack-a-mole with his passes — either they’re not one centimeter off the mark or they’re 15 standard deviations away from where they should be.
His interceptions are like when you choose to play WR in NCAA ’14 (RIP NCAA Football, by the way) and break off a route that your QB was trying to throw thus leading to a pick and the defensive back (your buddy) walks into the end zone just to taunt you.
I thought one of Rudolph or Garman would be better than JW Walsh — I might be regretting that statement.
4. The offense is good when it revolves around No. 24: It was pretty clear that OSU’s game plan in the first half was “get Tyreek as many touches as humanly possible” and so (maybe by accident) it opened up the field a little bit for everyone else.
Getting Tyreek Hill involved has opened up the field for the Cowboys. His speed has the Neers on their heels.
— Bryan Keating (@KOCOKeating) October 25, 2014
Mike Yurcich twice ran the “fake the swing pass to Tyreek and throw it upfield” play as was smartly detailed here on Cowboys Ride For Free.
They also, gasp, hit him on a couple of screen plays which worked perfectly.
Of course West Virginia adjusted in the second half and Yurcich was more lost than a Republican at an NPR-sponsored tweetup in a fair trade coffeehouse but still, that first half game plan was strong.
5. OSU is still grotesque in the red zone: OSU is now 13/31 on scoring TDs inside the red zone. That’s going to get you ranked around 120th in the country (out of 128) alongside the likes of Kansas and SMU.
It’s a microcosm of OSU’s running woes as a whole — there still hasn’t been a single 100-yard rusher for the Cowboys this season — and just one on a long list of things they must fix.
6. Jordan Sterns, have mercy: No. 13 had 20 tackles (the school record for tackles in a game, by the way, is 27!) and was seemingly all over the field int he second half. He’s a sophomore, by the way, which (along with a few other things) is why I wrote this on Friday.
Sterns and Emmanuel Ogbah (who almost decapitated Clint Trickett in the first half) will anchor a defense that is going to be really, really good over the next two years.
The bummer about all of this is is that this OSU defense has been decent enough against teams not named TCU to be the defense on an 8-4 or 9-3 team. The offense doesn’t even give it a chance though.
I thought what Carson said about WVU’s last TD was apropos:
That was the defense giving the middle finger to the offense. #okstate
— Carson Cunningham (@KOCOCarson) October 25, 2014
7. Why is OSU so slow at running plays now? I did a quick and dirty calculation on what OSU’s snap speed progression is this season and it’s about 24 seconds which would be one of the slower years in recent memory and the slowest since Gundy switched to the air raid in 2010.
One of the cornerstones of the past four (or at least three) OSU offenses is that they always went fast, always got plays in quickly, and consistently kept defenses on their heels. I haven’t seen that much this season outside of a handful of quick Tyreek plays.
I’m not sure if it’s Daxx not being able to grasp what’s being called or Yurcich playing around in the pressbox like a kid but it’s not what I’ve grown accustom to as an OSU fan.
8. Those helmets though: Since we don’t want to talk about the game, let’s talk about the best single piece of equipment OSU has ever worn. We have a new GOAT helmet.
— Oklahoman Photo Dept (@NewsOKPhoto) October 25, 2014
Two things about them real quick because Carson, Southwell, and I will cover them extensively in our Uni Roundtable on Tuesday.
First, the “Okla A&M” on the back was incredible.
I love how it says Okla A&M on the back of the helmet. Perfect. pic.twitter.com/TBlW1OvMm9
— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) October 25, 2014
Second, the AGGIES on the front was equally amazing. A true throwback to the past and I loved that they were unveiled on Homecoming. Just perfect.
— Carson Cunningham (@KOCOCarson) October 25, 2014
9. A game of third downs: Don’t let your children around to look at this number.
Seriously, put them to bed or something.
Okay. OSU was 2-15 on third downs on Saturday and didn’t hit its first one until about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter.
West Virginia, on the other hand, was 9-18 which is pretty average but when compared to OSU is world class.
And the Mountaineers picked up a couple of daggers in a third quarter in which they directed 26 of the 33 plays that were run. Coming out of the locker room down seven and running seven plays in a quarter is no way to win games.
10. The Texas game will be to go to a bowl: I wildly underestimated how much this team would struggle offensively after what I thought was a one-off game in Lawrence. Thankfully there’s one team left on OSU’s schedule that struggles just as much on offense.
The other three (Baylor, Kansas State, and OU — all on the road) are unfortunately three of the four most efficient offensive teams in the conference.
So yeah, in addition to the Joe Wickline drama and the usual excitement of a Horns-Pokes matchup the game in Stillwater in two weeks will probably decide whether OSU plays in the Liberty Bowl in December.
Totally Tickets is your source for Oklahoma State football tickets.