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Mason Rudolph’s Efficiency the Driving Force behind OSU’s Fast Start



Oklahoma State is off the to the best start of Mike Gundy’s tenure both statistically and in dominance of its opponents through three games.  A big reason for that is its offense’s ability to not only outscore teams but to do it at an historically efficient clip.

And the conductor of that high-speed bullet train is Mason Rudolph. Through three games, he’s shown even a better grasp of the offense than in years prior and at times almost seems to toy with defenses. It helps to have probably the best receiver group in college football and an improved run game. But make no mistake, this juggernaut operates because of a through the senior behind center.

Rudolph’s put the nation on notice and Oklahoma State right back on the College Football Playoff map while quietly sliding emphatically shoving his resume across the Heisman Trophy discussion table in the non-conference portion of the schedule.

It is only Week 4 and it’s only been against Tulsa, South Alabama and Pitt. But we can only gauge Rudolph’s progression and play based on what he’s done on the field. He has been better and so has this offense. If we look back at his previous performances against non-Big 12 competition, the picture is even more clear from a numbers standpoint.

Rudolph Non-Con Numbers (Weeks 1-3)
Year Att Comp Pct. Yards Yds/Att TD INT QB Rating
2017 94 68 72% 1,135 12.1 11 1 210.3
2016 114 71 62% 1,017 8.9 6 1 152.8
2015 90 62 69% 947 10.5 5 1 173.4

Rudolph’s been more accurate — a 10 percent jump from last year — and has put the ball in end zone almost twice as many times.

ESPN’s Total QBR Rating or “QBR” goes even deeper into a quarterback’s play and how it contributes to winning. It adjusts for factors like pass protection, catches and runs after the catch and includes a “clutch index.” We don’t know exactly what the formula is because ESPN owns it and would like you to come to them for that info.

After posting Week 3’s fourth-best QBR of 96.5 against Pitt, Rudolph sits at No. 2 nationally with a total QBR of 92.7 for the season — behind only, you guessed it, Baker Mayfield. The top two in that category (and in current Heisman odds) will get at least one chance to drop the other down a peg in the near future.

But the Heisman winner isn’t decided in Week 3 or 4. Neither is a Big 12 championship. We will learn even more about Rudolph and this offense’s potential on Saturday when OSU welcomes a No. 16 team in TCU with a more than capable offense and an apparently-improved defense.

If Rudolph and Co. continue their level of play or even get close, OSU will be 4-0 for the second time since 2011 and have all its goals still in front of them. And that’s all you can ask for at this point in the season.

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