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Receiver Production: Washington, Others Showed Out In TCU Loss



A week after four receivers caught at least 100 yards worth of passes, the group as a whole finished with 371. That sounds a lot better than it looked if you watched the game.

TCU’s game plan was to force the underneath throws, and it was successful. Although Mason Rudolph missed a couple deep balls, the Cowboys didn’t connect on a pass of more than 30 yards until late in the fourth quarter other than James Washington’s 86-yard score in the first.

Rudolph said there were a few forced throws downfield that just weren’t there and fell incomplete because of the depth the Frogs’ defense was deploying. That meant much of the underneath and intermediate routes would be available. And to the Cowboy receivers’ credit, they thrived as well as they could in the 44-31 loss Saturday.

Here are a few reasons that final score had virtually nothing to do with the guys catching the passes.

Limited Drops

As OSU was trying to make its comeback, Rudolph went deep to Marcell Ateman. The ball hit the basket, and ripped through.

Earlier in the game, true freshman Tylan Wallace came in for Washington for a drive that culminated on a first and 10 from the TCU 14. Rudolph fired a little in front of Wallace, but it touched his fingers and went through. It was a play Washington probably ought to have been in for.

Those were the only drops that mattered Saturday, and there probably should have been at least five more. Rudolph was slightly off at times against TCU, but for the most part, like this play, the Cowboys’ receivers closed the gap.

Uninspired Play Calling

All right, to a certain extent, I understand taking what the defense gives you. If the defense runs quarters, or Cover 4, it’s probably not wise to hurl it deep.

But if this has been dubbed as the best receiving corps in college football and TCU is throwing man coverage at you, I am putting more confidence in Washington and the guys downfield. It was frustrating to know that the TCU defense was going to dictate the game simply by how it lined up. Imagine next week against Texas Tech if a seemingly improved Raider defense gives the Cowboys’ the same looks.

Will Mike Yurcich not dial anything up to go deep?

Watch the 86-yarder again. Washington had a step, and that’s all Rudolph thought he needed. The ball neared double coverage, yet it didn’t even come close to mattering.

There wasn’t enough of that ambition in Yurcich’s play-calling, coupled with too much double pass.

No Chris Lacy

After the Pitt game, Mike Gundy said he thought Lacy would be good to go Saturday. He was not, and that had a trickle effect throughout the receiving group.

Maybe if Lacy was available, Tyron Johnson could have split reps more effectively with The President and not Ateman. Maybe Washington wouldn’t have gotten so tired for the drive Wallace came in for that drop in the end zone.

Maybe Washington would have caught it for a touchdown instead of a Matt Ammendola field goal.

It’s not Lacy’s fault he got injured, and it’s definitely not his fault OSU lost Saturday, and in fact, that’s the point. Because Lacy was unavailable, it’s hard to put blame on Washington or any of the other receivers. Everyone’s reps went up considerably.

Receiver Snaps
James Washington 61
Marcell Ateman 49
Jalen McCleskey 48
Dillon Stoner 42
Tyron Johnson 17
Tylan Wallace 3
*Best Estimates, Based on Data Keeping
Their Performance

This might be the easiest point to make, but the receivers put on the best showing of any OSU position group Saturday.

Although Ateman dropped the deep one that forced a punt, he was arguably the Cowboys’ best ball-catcher. On the Dillon Stoner touchdown drive, Ateman caught three passes on three targets for 52 yards and three first downs. Those are numbers you expect from Washington.

There aren’t any record-breaking stats I can throw at you this week, but at some point, you have to question (with only three drops), how can the nation’s No. 2 scoring offense put up fewer points at home against TCU than SMU did on the road?

I would argue it wasn’t because of these guys.

Receiver Targets Catches Yards TDs
James Washington 7 6 153 1
Marcell Ateman 10 6 100 0
Jalen McCleskey 9 4 79 0
Dillon Stoner 4 3 39 1
Tylan Wallace 1 0 0 0
Tyron Johnson 0 0 0 0
Total 31 19 371 2

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