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OSU Offensive Positional Power Rankings: Rudolph Reigns



In what was supposed to be Oklahoma State’s most challenging non-conference game, the Cowboys looked most impressive.

Mason Rudolph could have taken a much-deserved nap in the Pokes’ 59-21 win as four of his receivers hit the 100-yard mark, something that hasn’t happened in college football in 12 years.

Most impressive? They did it against a team that beat the eventual champions just 10 months ago.

For the third week in a row, no one played poorly, but some certainly played better than others. Here’s how they fall this week.

5. Offensive Line (Previously: 4)

I’m thinking about re-ranking this series from 1-5 to 1-3C.

Zach Crabtree suffered a toe injury Saturday with about 4:00 left in the first quarter. He didn’t return, but coach Mike Gundy said Crab should be good to go against TCU.

There were only a few snaps that weren’t pretty for the O-line. It almost gave up a safety, and Rudolph or Taylor Cornelius were hurried double-digit times. How can you complain when No. 2 is making plays like this though?

The biggies could have been better in run blocking, too, I suppose. I don’t know. It’s hard to pick apart a performance that started 35-0.

O-Line Stats vs. Pitt
Rushing Yards 104
Rushing TDs 2
Passing Yards 572
Passing TDs 5
Sacks 1
QB Hurries 11
4. Cowboy Backs (Previously: 5)

I took a deeper look at the Cowboy Backs’ role in Week 3. Although the position is seemingly becoming less active and more of a decoy, it still exists, and it’s still effective.

Without Britton Abbott, there was no chance OSU would have scored that first touchdown in the way that it did, and without Sione Finefeuiaki, the Cowboys wouldn’t have gone 7-for-7 in getting to the end zone on every first half drive.

Still, it’s hard to rank a position highly when quite literally they have half the importance of all the others, seeing the field only a hair over 40 percent of the starters’ snaps. When they’re in, though, they’re good. And that should not change, no matter how good the position groups below are.

3. Running Backs (Previously: 3)

I think I speak for a lot of us when I say I’m worried this OSU ground attack isn’t as good as it was against Tulsa.

It was unfair to believe in a young group of backs that just so happened to put up 300+ yards, but it was fun to dream. With that, Justice Hill and the other judges on the court weren’t bad at all against Pitt. In fact, they were fine.

J.D. King is still producing well enough to know he will be a stud sooner, not later. And Hill is still producing at least two jaw-dropping moments every game, like this one.

They were far better than they were in Mobile, Alabama, but the remaining two position groups were way too good to possibly bump the backs up one.

Stat Justice Hill J.D. King LD Brown Total
Carries 11 16 4 34
Yards 91 35 8 107
Average 8.3 2.2 2 3.15
TDs 2 0 0 2
2. Receivers (Previously: 1)

Hard to imagine four receivers rake in at least 100 yards in the same game and they aren’t at least tops on the offense, but that dude throwing it was just so instrumental in making that stat come to life.

James Washington looked as professional as ever. Marcell Ateman was seemingly everywhere. Jalen McCleskey rose from the grave. Dillon Stoner is nothing like David Glidden or Josh Cooper, so don’t compare them. Tyron Johnson stayed home. And Tylan Wallace is still a true freshman.

Here’s one more stat that should make you cry: If every receiver caught just one ball Saturday, the group would have finished with 119 yards, based on their averages.

Stat McCleskey Washington Stoner Ateman Wallace Total
Targets 7 7 6 5 3 28
Catches 7 5 5 4 2 23
Yards 162 124 100 109 49 544
Average 23.1 24.8 20 27.3 24.5 23.7
TDs 3 0 1 1 0 5
1. Quarterbacks (Previously: 2)

An OSU football player (probably) hasn’t had better Heisman Trophy odds since one won it in 1988.

Rudolph is now at 3-1, according to the Las Vegas Superbook, which is second to that other guy in the state. I don’t know about the second part of that sentence, but the first part sounds about right.

Rudolph made play after play Saturday. If not for some of them, especially the one toward the top of this post, there is no chance four Cowboy receivers reach 100.

“He’s worked hard in the offseason on a couple of things – his footwork on different styles of throws, also his ability to protect the ball and move around in the pocket,” Gundy said postgame. “He made some big plays today at crucial times, and you see the importance of having a quarterback who makes plays.”

As Rudolph continues to look more like an quarterback for the Cowboys team four hours south rather than the one in Stillwater, we will try to relish the spoils as each week goes flying by.

He finished 3 yards short of 5 bills, but when you add up all the throws he missed, he could have finished 17 short of 7. I think Rudolph has hit the point in his career where as a fan you just try enjoy it as much as you can every time he puts on an OSU uniform.

He might not have a better performance this season than he put together at that NFL stadium, but even if he had half the game he did against Pitt, OSU still would have won by at least a touchdown.

Stat Mason Rudolph Taylor Cornelius Total
Attempts 23 5 28
Completions 32 3 35
Yards 497 75 572
TDs 5 0 5
Rating 247.7 186 216.9
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