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Balance on Offense a Lethal Combination for Oklahoma State



Mike Gundy craves balance on offense the way a groundhog craves fresh air in early February. The pinnacle of this desire came in 2007 when Oklahoma State notched the exact same number of yards on the ground as it did in the air. Gundy likely considers that one of the crowning achievements of his career.

That same elixir was present on Thursday in Stillwater where Oklahoma State tallied 308 yards through the air and 332 on the ground. Not a perfect game, but maybe a perfect formula. The Pokes threw it 26 times and ran it 37 which you know delights Gundy more than a Labor Day weekend duck hunt.

And this is what makes Oklahoma State’s offense so vile to opposing defensive coordinators. It’s not one guy or even one position. Triple James Washington, fine, Justice Hill will pound his gavel for 25 yards. Hill gets tired and you bracket Washington and Tyron Johnson. Cool, there goes J.D. Elliott King for another 12. Oklahoma State may be stopped on offense this season, but it’s going to take a Herculean effort to hold them under 35 points in a game.

“I liked our explosiveness when we started the game,” said Gundy. “We have a lot of explosiveness and we have a lot of guys that can make plays. We’ve got receivers that can catch it and running backs that can run it pretty good. That’s not a secret.”

If it was before Game 1, it certainly isn’t now.

I just cannot get past the fact that Oklahoma State averaged over 10 yards a play against a top 50 defense last year in Tulsa (granted, they were racking up stats in a non-Power 5 conference, but this is a far cry from Directional Louisiana).

In the last two seasons — pretty good offenses by anybody’s standards — OSU has had just six games of 8+ yards per play and only one that touched 10 (against Kansas State last year). Of course the path to a hefty yards per play mark is long strikes from the line of scrimmage, of which the Cowboys had plenty. Tyron for 44, President for 77, J.D. for 71, LD for 73. It was a slash-and-gash fiesta.

Mason Rudolph talked after the game about how tough it is to double up his receivers and how that opens the field for him to distribute dimes.

It wasn’t all sunshine and mullets, though. There were fumbles and dropped passes and there is tweaking to be done.

“By no means did we play a perfect game,” said offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. “We’re going to chase that perfect game and can’t turn the ball over. Just minor things that actually turn into big things. We have to make sure that we get better every day. I don’t think you can sit here and gloat about anything. You have to learn how to improve and that’s the process and that’s what it’s all about.”

How much better can it get, though? Oklahoma State scored 4.33 points per drive on Thursday which is a comical number. And it didn’t look difficult at any point. It all points back to the equilibrium of its scales, both out wide and up the middle. You’d expect little else than integrity of balance with a kid named Justice heading up one side of the equation, I suppose, but it was still stunning to watch.

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