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Has the OSU Running Game Really Been THAT Bad?



This narrative that the OSU run game is as bad as its ever been is getting a little bit out of hand. Certainly, it hasn’t been great, but like Mike Gundy said on Saturday, teams are loading up to stop Chris Carson and Rennie Childs. We knew this going into Saturday.

“They were in a defense that was focused on stopping the run,” said Gundy. “In the end, we threw the ball down the field with the style of defense we were seeing.”

But still, you should be able to move a FCS defensive line around a little bit. OSU was unable to for long stretches on Saturday evening in Stillwater.

I wanted to take a look at how this year’s run game (so far) compares to the rest of the Gundy era both in and out of conference.

In the 130 games of the Gundy era, Oklahoma State has rushed the ball 5,123 times and has averaged 4.81 yards per attempt.

That’s a pretty good number. Gundy has cited five yards even as a sort of target for really good offenses before. In 2011, for reference, OSU averaged 5.3 a pop.

This year, despite all the noise to the contrary, OSU has averaged 4.5 yards per carry. It’s not an elite number, no, but it’s also not terrible.

I broke the stats down a little more and noted that in the Gundy era OSU has averaged 4.67 a carry in the Big 12 and 5.05 a carry outside of it in nonconference games. So you’re currently about 0.5 yards per carry off of your normal pace in nonconference games.

It’s not ideal, but it’s certainly not the rushing apocalypse everyone seems to think. Make an OL move here, slide some formations around there and all of a sudden you’re at that 5-yard number that has so benefitted OSU offenses in years gone by.

Mike Yurcich noted this on Saturday night.

“It’s concerning and we have to do a better job of coming off of the football and making sure that we’re reading the right things, making sure we’re making the right adjustments on the calls that need to go in and making sure we give our guys a chance,” said Yurcich.

“That’s everything. It’s not just one person. There’s a lot of things that fall into that and I think when we look at the film [Sunday] we’ll learn a little bit more about ourselves from a run game standpoint.

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