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Stat of the Week: Comparing Ollie Gordon’s Conference Numbers vs. Nonconference Numbers

If Gordon touches the football, good things happen.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

An offense with Ollie Gordon should be as simple as Nike’s slogan: just let Ollie do it.

Oklahoma State’s offense has seen a tremendous uptick in production since Big 12 play began three games ago. Mike Gundy sticking with one quarterback, Kasey Dunn’s more innovative play calling the past two weeks and a much improved offensive line all deserve credit, too, for the recent offensive success, but there’s one glaring outlier. Sophomore running back Ollie Gordon is now touching the football.

The Cowboys averaged 20.3 points a game during nonconference play against FCS Central Arkansas, currently 1-5 Arizona State and the Sun Belt’s South Alabama. Against much stiffer competition in its first three Big 12 games, OSU is averaging 31.7. The Cowboys last week just surpassed 30 points in a game for the first time since Oct. 22, 2022.

With three games apiece for each slate to make an even comparison, here are Gordon’s nonconference and conference numbers compared:

Rushing yards109425534
Yards per carry5.76.36.1
Rushing TDs224
Receiving yards45135180
Receiving TDs011

The most glaring stat is the one that’s actually not much different — yards per carry. That number has upped slightly since conference play, but Gordon has always hovered around six yards a carry. That stat points out that Gordon’s production might not have much to do with better blocking or individual performance (though those are benefitting), but the obvious difference is opportunity. The skill to produce has been evident since Week 1, when Gordon averaged 6.3 yards on only seven attempts.

Marshall pointed out earlier this week that in every game Gordon’s gotten at least 15 carries he’s ran for more than 120 yards. That’s happened the past three games and once last season against West Virginia.

Nearly 80% of Gordon’s rushing total for the season has come during conference play despite comparing the same amount of games. The difference is carries, though, as he rushed the ball 19 times the first three games, compared to 68 the last three. You saw the difference in production because of that.

Gordon is coming off the greatest game of his career against Kansas and one of the most impressive performances we’ve ever seen from an OSU running back, so those stats will obviously bolster his recent numbers. But the fact also is, Gordon touched the ball more than he ever has before in that game, and that’s the point. A career-high 29 carries resulted in a career-high 168 yards and a touchdown for Gordon. He also had career-highs in receptions (6) and receiving yards (116).

Before the season, I predicted Gordon could not only be OSU’s best offensive player, but even the top running back in the Big 12. He just had to get the touches to do so. And that’s not tooting my own horn — the talent was just that obvious.

With essentially a three-game handicap, Gordon is sixth in the Big 12 in rushing yards. However, every player above Gordon has more carries and three of the five have one more game under their belt.

The Cowboys’ first half of their season could be divided into halves itself — like we did with Gordon’s stats. The second half of the season ahead could mirror what OSU has done the past two weeks. Just let Ollie do it.

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