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Five Best Stats: Rudolph’s Best Start and Third Down Improvement



Despite what was, at times a sloppy game, OSU demolished South Alabama 44-7 on Friday night in Mobile, Alabama. There was a lot of good in the game (defensive line play) and some “meh” (run game), but after combing through the numbers, there were five stats that stood out to me.


Through the first two games of the season, quarterback Mason Rudolph has completed 45 of 62 passes for a completion rate of 72.6 percent.

Thru 2 games Comp/Att Percentage
2015 45/67 67.10%
2016 44/68 64.70%
2017 45/62 72.50%

That’s his best completion rate through the first two game of the season. Before you tell me ‘oh well they’ve just played Tulsa and South Alabama,’ let me remind you that both of those teams are FBS teams. The last two seasons OSU faced an FCS opponent in one of the first two games of the year.

Also, if you look at the numbers, that’s his fewest attempts through the first two games. That’s what happens when you sit out the fourth quarters of both games.

Not to look ahead, but those are the kinds of numbers you need through college to be a succesfull QB in the NFL. It’s not guaranteed, but every successful NFL quarterback had at least one season with 60 percent completion or higher in college. (I’d show you you the math, but I lost the excel document from when I researched that stat months ago at my previous site, and I’m not spending 8 hours putting it back together.)


What’s funny, is like TU’s offensive line in week one, this might be one of the better defensive lines OSU will see this season. It’s got a lot of former Power 5 players on it. You also have to add in the fact that USA completely sold out to stop the run. It worked through the first half. They held the OSU run game in check allowing just 46 yards on 17 carries for 2.7 YPC.

The second half though? OSU racked up 117 yards on 20 carries for an average of 5.9 yards per carry.

I realize this is nit-picking as OSU finished the game with a 4.4 yard-per-rush average, but OSU has to run the ball to be successful. I would like to see the offensive line and Cowboy Backs get a better push moving forward.


I want to throw up some major props to the Oklahoma State defense. They didn’t allow South Alabama to record their first first-down until 22:57 into the game, or 8:03 remaining in the second quarter.

I don’t care if it’s South Alabama. They put up 27 points on Ole Miss. The Rebels aren’t great this year, but they’re still an SEC defense.

Do you know the last time OSU held a team without a first down until the second quarter? Me neither, but I went back through 2010 and couldn’t find an example. Even against FCS teams the past two years, OSU didn’t hold an offense in check that well for that long.

Bravo to the defense, especially the defensive line, on a fantastic performance.


A week after Tulsa completed 61.5 percent of their third down attempts (including some long ones) the Cowboy defense held South Alabama in check. They completed one of their 10 third down attempts (or 10 percent). Granted it was a 3rd-and-10, but that is major improvement over last week.

It certainly didn’t hurt that USA faced five third downs of six or more yards.

I’m not sure we should expect OSU to be a shut-down defense on third downs, but I also don’t think they’re as porous as they were against Tulsa last week. Usually, the truth is somewhere in the middle.


Props to Hayden Barber on his piece breaking down the success of the defensive line. The name that stood out to the most to me was Enoch Smith Jr who beat his man six of the ten times he was on the field. That’s impressive. Add to that the fact that he went into the game as OSU’s top-graded player by pro-football focus.

Preseason, I don’t think we talked a lot about the redshirt-junior, yet two games into the season he might be one of the best players on defense. His stat lines from the first two weeks won’t blow you away… 5 tackles (5 solo) including 2 TFLs, 1 quarterback hurry, and 1 sack… but for a defensive lineman, that’s a haul.

Smith is going to be a guy to keep an eye on as the season continues and the level of competition rises.

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