The first 11-win season in the history of Oklahoma State University football.
Sounds rather nice doesn’t it?
Unfortunately, the trek from 10 to 11 was a little choppier and not as pretty as some would have liked. That’s what it’s come to though, we aren’t even satisfied with winning anymore, now we have to win “pretty.”
In typical Oklahoma State fashion the defense was on the field for 37 minutes worth of action because the offense “sustained” scoring drives of 1:47, 0:12, 2:33, 3:45, 1:40, and 4:42 (!). I don’t think Dana Holgorsen is going to be invited to attend the Bill Belichick school of ball control this offseason.
As it turned out, controlling the clock mattered little though. A big 1st quarter overwhelmed an uninspired Arizona squad. The offensive output from OSU was actually rather lackluster as they gained only 312 yards, and a mere 72 on the ground, but when you only give up 4.2 yards per play and force 4 turnovers you’re going to win a lot of games against unranked opponents with bad defenses.
OSU wasn’t crisp either, but did appear far more motivated than the Wildcats. Our special teams were sharper (no pun intended), our defense was far deeper (I don’t know if I’ve actually ever typed that sentence), and our offense had a bigger bag of tricks to turn to when the normal stuff wasn’t working for either squad. The difference was that OSU was playing for something (11 wins) whereas Arizona was just playing, kind of.
It definitely wasn’t a case of the big-play Pokes running over a team like we’ve become accustomed to seeing this entire year. There was more grinding than normal. Bailey hit a lot of FGs and we just punched it in when we had to. In a strange way it reminded me of the Louisiana-Lafayette game. I know scoring 54 (as we did against UL-LA) isn’t usually considered “grinding” but this offense has to be measured against different metrics than most other offenses in the country.
Blackmon, though, was a man. The man. He set the single-season catches, yards, and TD catches records for OSU which, when you think about it, is insane considering all the all-world WRs we’ve had come through here. He also set the national Sophomore record for yards (and got a shout-out from the guy he took it from) as well as the consecutive 100-yard + 1 TD catch games record at 12. These would have happened a long time ago if it weren’t for that fateful night on I-35 but it was still nice to see him get them.
The secondary was fantastic too. And everybody got in on the action. Markelle Martin (defensive MVP) had 4 tackles, 2 break-ups, and a pick 6, Johnny Thomas had 5 tackles and a pick, Broderick Brown had 7 tackles, and Andrew McGee had 6 tackles (one for a loss) and a pass break-up. The stats, in this case, don’t really tell the whole story though. Those four guys were all over the field. They were smoking anybody who even thought about coming over the middle. They really affected the game beyond what their stat lines say. I know they accumulated a few penalties and made some dumb mistakes but I’ll take that type of play over the bend but don’t break garbage we’ve seen over the last decade.
It’s been a while since we’ve won a bowl game so beating anybody in December/January is nice even though Arizona isn’t really the caliber opponent this team deserved in the postseason. Plus, the OSU portion of the crowd turned the Alamodome into Boone Pickens Stadium Remote so it was good to reward them with a solid W on national TV.
I don’t know if that was Blackmon’s and Weeden’s last game but if it was, well, it’s been a blast. Blackmon’s greatness has become so commonplace that it almost fails to register on the “oh, yeah, he broke 3 OSU records and a 2 national records tonight” scale. He’s going to be terrifying for teams if he comes back next year. Single coverage against him is a joke and double coverage is starting to look that way. He’s literally going to be triple-covered in a few games if he returns. We’re getting ahead of ourselves though.
A few more notes:
- I thought we were going to miss the first couple of drives because ESPN wouldn’t cut away from the shellacking Baylor was receiving from Illinois. As much as I enjoy watching Baylor get torched by a terrible program from a below-average conference, I was going to be livid if it meant cutting into our game. Then Art Briles called a timeout with 5 seconds left and I cursed under my breath and hope we hang 80 on them in Stillwater next year.
- Considering the 312-yard output from OSU I think Oregon is probably going to regain the national yards lead.
- It was disappointing to see Kendall Hunter end his career on such a mediocre note but he’s given us so many 150+ yard games I can’t hold anything against him.
- Jesse Palmer’s voice makes me want to gash my eyeballs out.
- I was watching the game with Mrs. Pistols and my sister (Pistols Sis?) last night and I told Pistols Sis that Quinn Sharp had failed out and Dan Bailey had never punted before. Her response 10 seconds later: “I think his first one was a success.”
- You only have to hit like a 19-foot radius for Blackmon to make catches. It’s unbelievable.
- Is there any way Jeremy Smith isn’t the best third string RB in the nation? We’re like poor man’s Auburn when they had Cadillac, Ronnie Brown, and Brandon Jacobs on the same team. Weeden is a lot better than Jason Campbell though.
- The defense is so much faster and deeper than it has been…maybe ever. We made a strong Arizona offense look very average.
- I laughed out loud on the double-move route by Blackmon for the TD because of how scared Weeden looked to throw it to him. It almost seemed like he didn’t really believe what he was seeing and he was afraid it was too good to be true and somebody was going to come off the sidelines NY Jets-style and just kill JB.
- The first hit Martin had was vicious. I Tweeted it was better than the Snead one from the Cotton Bowl last year but I’d like to recant that. The Snead hit might never be topped.
- Did Holgy (as Mrs. Pistols calls him) get a haircut? Maybe “trim the skullet” was in his lavish WVU contract.
- I almost broke down when we ran the reverse kick return to Joseph Randle. If he’d turned around and thrown it across the field to a wide open Justin Gilbert I would have lost it. I love those guys.
- One of the best texts I got all night was on Arizona’s first TD drive when they ran like eight 9-yard plays in a row. B-Jack texted me and said “our DTs really got a great push on that last drive.” It doesn’t seem as funny now but at the time I laughed pretty hard.
- What’s with the star on the shoulder of Weeden and Lemon? I’m assuming it’s a captain patch but I never saw it close enough to be sure.
- Jesse Palmer saying Brandon Weeden needs more snaps is like Paris Hilton saying Jessica Alba needs to do more acting…
- Weird stat that may only interest me: we scored 41 in both our losses this year.
- Weird stat II that may only interest me: we kept the “every season we’ve won more than 10 games our only losses have come to Nebraska and OU” streak alive, so that’s good.
- Was it just me or did the Alamodome turf seem really slippery?
- Josh Cooper doesn’t get a lot of run (probably because he’s lining up across from the best WR in the nation) but he makes some really great catches and really bails Weeden out on some bad balls that he turns into 6 or 7 yard gains.
- Shaun Lewis is going to be insane. He’s like a rich man’s Chris Collins, except for the whole sexual assault thing. Hopefully.
- I’d pay $150 to have a pair of Weeden’s Nike Hurache cleats (although I guess I wouldn’t have to)
- Arizona’s flea flicker didn’t exactly work out like ours usually do. Speaking of, what were the odds Holgy wasn’t going to run a flea flicker in his last game with this group? 100-1?
- I wrote last night “Arizona doesn’t look as deeply fast…if that makes sense.”
- Ugo Chinasa looks like Jevon Kearse, I think he’s going to have an illustrious NFL career.
- The shot of Holgorsen on the sideline smashing his 6th Red Bull of the day couldn’t have been a more perfect illustration. He might as well just say, “screw it, I’m just going to bust out the Camelbak and load it with Red Bulls so I can down them for 4 straight hours while we run it up on teams like Rutgers” when he goes to Morgantown. What does he have to lose? Also, it looked like he hadn’t slept in about 6 days. I appreciate that even though he’s leaving he’s still staying up nights trying to figure out how to put up half a hundred on the Stoops bros. I’m going to miss him.
- Ubben Tweeted last night that Blackmon really struggles with over-the-shoulder catches. Gotta disagree DU. The one on Aaron Williams in Austin was a work of art and the one on Prince Amukamara in Stillwater was gorgeous as well. I’d say if there’s one thing he struggles with it’s the medium-depth slant route where he has to extend his arms a little bit. He dropped at least 2 of those for TDs this year and maybe 3.
- The late hit call on Gent was one of the worst I’ve seen. Foles still had a foot inbounds when he hit him. Desmond Howard agreed.
- Speaking of Foles, he looks like a strange cross between Lincecum and Justin Bieber.
- And speaking of late hits, what about the shot Blackmon took over the middle when the play was to the other side of the field. That Hall kid who delivered it is dirty, I wish Markelle had Sneaded him instead…
- Congratulations Arizona, you’re the only team (pro or college) I’ve ever seen unsuccessfully run the Tatum Bell flip pitch play.
- Finally, speaking of flips and pitches — I really like the in-motion shovel pitch Weeden ran to Blackmon, Cooper, and Tracy Moore. It reminded me of a flag football play we used to run and it seems to be an automatic 3-4 yards.
Next game: UL-LA — September 3, 2011