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How Good Was Mason Rudolph on Saturday Against Kansas State?

That’s a rhetorical question.



I mean, that’s a rhetorical question because obviously he was unbelievably good … I simply wanted to ask it so I could show you how good No. 2 actually was.

“We had a feeling that we would have to throw the ball about 50 times,” said Mike Gundy after the game.

“One, we were playing with a true freshman at running back. Two, we were playing arguably the best run defense in this league, maybe even top 10 in the country. We just didn’t feel like we could beat our heads against the wall, and we knew we had to throw it.”

This is all music to my ears because hey look, Mason Rudolph is one of the three best QBs Oklahoma State has had since Mike Gundy was slinging it past Barry Sanders and winning 10 games a year in the 1980s.

Rudolph threw it 55 times on Saturday for 437 yards and three touchdowns. It was the fourth-most passing yards in a single game in OSU history. It was an historic performance.

But even those stats sort of belie how remarkable his performance was. Coming off a bumpy landing in Austin last week, No. 2 knew he needed to bring the goods against Kansas State.

“I knew that I had to have a great week,” Rudolph told Kyle Fredrickson. “I feel like I underperformed last week and had to respond.

“A lot of people in this organization came around me and encouraged me to say, ‘hey, screw everybody else. Work hard this week. Every throw, every rep, get the most out of it. Prepare to the best of your ability.’

“That’s what I tried to do.”

He did that and more against a stout Kansas State defense on Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium. Everybody knew he was going to throw it nearly every time, and it didn’t affect him at all. He still completed over 60 percent of his passes and collected first down after first down on 3rd and 4th downs.

Average yardage to go on these 10 3rd and 4th down plays: 8.4 yards. That’s basically the opposite of our 3rd down defense in the mid-2000s.

I was talking to my dad on Saturday night about J.W. Walsh and Mason Rudolph. He asked me what I thought OSU’s record would be over the last eight games (since Baylor in 2014) with Walsh as QB1 instead of Rudolph.

I thought about it for a while and said, “probably 5-3 … maybe 4-4.” Rudolph has OSU at 7-1 and has reeled off seven straight.

That’s not to take anything away from Walsh. This team is far better than it would be because he’s playing a central role on offense. But Mason Rudolph, man, Mason Rudolph is the real deal.

He had defenders in his face all night and just kept stepping into every throw and delivering strikes. His acute pocket awareness really shines against teams (like KSU) with great defensive lines. It’s probably his best attribute.

It wasn’t just the stats and the lead-taking and game-winning drives either. Mike & Mike basically looked at him and said “do you have the goods? Do you have what it takes for us to put this whole thing on your young shoulders and deliver and keep us undefeated?”

He did.

“The youngster did a nice job of throwing the ball, and the receivers did a nice job getting up for it,” said Kansas State coach Bill Snyder about Rudolph. This is the equivalent of Snyder saying, “give that man the Heisman.”

And he did it every way you could possibly do it. As my buddy Matt Amilian pointed out, he still makes mistakes (and they are mistakes of the highest magnitude), but he also delivers in a way that few in the country could.

Rudolph currently ranks No. 10 in the country in yards per game (335 yards) and 11th in yards per attempt (9.4 yards). And he’s doing it all with a running game that basically doesn’t exist (105th in the country in yards per attempt).

“He has the ability to get the job done,” said offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. “Don’t get me wrong, we’re not saying he’s a finished product and the next coming. There’s still a lot of work and we’re going to work come Sunday, but he’s a great kid to be around. He accepts a challenge, and obviously you saw him today perform very well.”

Mike Gundy said in July at Big 12 media days that one part of his three-part for winning the Big 12 is getting good QB play. He’s got it in spades right now with Rudolph captaining the ship and Walsh coming in to deliver body blows.

The former put on quite a show late on Saturday afternoon in Stillwater. It’s fun to watch these things develop and have the distance from college necessary to see exactly how they’re developing. Rudolph likely doesn’t realize it right now, but he’s growing into being one of the all-timers in OSU QB history.

It’s blatantly obvious that this team is his and he is theirs. The shackles are off now (with a little help from Chris Carson and Rennie Childs). Let’s see what he can do, Yurcich.

Let’s see what he can do.

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