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Five Takeaways: OSU’s Offense Proves Unstoppable Against Pitt



Oklahoma State came out firing on all cylinders Saturday against Pitt and improved to 3-0 in non-conference play with a 59-21 win at Heinz Field.

Mason Rudolph looked every bit the part of a Heisman contender, the OSU defense created more turnovers than a McDonald’s happy hour, and Justice Hill once again assumed his role as the lead back in a convincing win over the Panthers.

“Obviously we had a good game today,” said Mike Gundy. “Our players were really focused and they did a really nice job in preparation. As a coach that’s so gratifying. To see guys get ready to play a game, prepare and execute.”

Here are five key takeaways from OSU’s win to remain undefeated on the season.

1. OSU’s offense was truly unstoppable

Mason Rudolph was trending nationally by the time OSU-Pitt reached the halfway mark because of his role in a record-breaking first half for the Cowboys. He tossed for 5 TDs and 423 yards in the opening 30 minutes — the most yards through the air in a half against an FBS opponent since 2013 when San Jose State’s Dave Fales passed for 451 vs. Fresno State.

Rudolph found any receiver he wanted — Stoner, McCleskey, Washington, didn’t matter — as the team racked up a total 676 yards of offense.

Through 7 first half drives, the offense was averaging 7 points per drive. Everything was so good high fives were being distributed like hot cakes in the press box.

Lost in all this is that the high-flying offense has seen a very small sliver of Rudolph late in games. According to Mark Cooper of the Tulsa World, Rudolph has only played in 8.5 quarters of a possible 12 this season due to blowouts. But when he’s in the game …

2. Justin Phillips has a nose for the football

For the second straight week, linebacker Justin Phillips scored off an interception. And for the second straight week, it was a “lookie what I found in my hands” style pick-six.

Phillips continues to be in the right place at the right time, and he’s been as impactful as any linebacker on the team this season. With an Edison-McGruder-less, Kevin Henry-less position group Saturday, he held it down like a grown man when they needed it most. Phillips finished with four tackles and a pass breakup on top of his score, and for the third consecutive week, the defense scored a touchdown. That has to make Glenn Spencer all types of warrior-poem happy.

3. Justice Hill is All-American good

Like Porter noted in his 10 thoughts from the game, Hill’s performance against USA a week ago might be the head-scratcher of the season. He looked like he was trudging through quicksand in Mobile. But that was, uh, not the case Saturday. Jump cut city was alive and thriving and boy was it a thing of beauty.

Look at this!

OSU finished with 104 yards on the ground, which is far from the 332 mark it opened the season with. But Hill was an elite playmaker when he had the rock which QB1 attributed to an improvement in protection this week.

“We were protecting our butts and making that block for Justice [Hill] today,” Rudolph said.  “That one-two punch with J.D. [King] was something serious and it’s cool to watch.”

4. OSU’s weapons are plentiful

If your palms were sweating ahead of the game when you learned Tyron Johnson wouldn’t be a part of the offensive attack at Heinz Field, you weren’t alone. Missing a playmaker of his caliber isn’t typically a good omen unless you’re Florida, in which case it wouldn’t matter anyway.

But as it turns out, his absence didn’t much matter in the grand scheme for OSU either. The receivers hauled in a ludicrous 572 yards on the day and four of them went for 100+. Here’s Dillon Stoner getting loose with his first career TD reception. A second-teamer!

McCleskey led the way with 162 yards and 3 TDs, followed closely by Washington (124), Ateman (109) and Stoner (100.) Johnson was surely licking his chops watching this one from Stillwater. It’s pretty incredible (and somewhat fortunate) that the offense didn’t seem to miss a beat without him.

5. Mason Rudolph is gaining Heisman steam

Last week we asked the question: Could Mason Rudolph’s Heisman campaign start any better?


It got a whole lot better after Saturday. Rudolph had just shy of 500 yards of offense, 5 TDs, and one Heisman-esque moment with this slip and sling TD to Marcell Ateman.

“I think making that throw was something that worked out,” Rudolph said of his 69-yard dime. “I’ve always been one to get out of it. It’s about making it count. So that’s something I try to highlight in my offseason work, and then see it in those guys.”

Big 12 play starts next Saturday inside Boone Pickens Stadium at 2:30 p.m. I think Oklahoma State is ready for the challenge.

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