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What We Learned in the Oklahoma State-West Virginia Game



As has become a Monday tradition around here, it’s time to look back on Saturday’s game and talk about what we learned. A lot took place

1. J.W. Walsh is paramount (KP)

I had Walsh ranked No. 13 on my preseason list of which player was most important to this year’s team. Turns out that might have been a little (or a lot) too low. Walsh closed like a boss in Morgantown and has been helping OSU’s red zone offense bolster its touchdown percentage all season (from 50 percent last year to 60 percent this season).

I’ve thought Walsh to be important as a backup and spot-player all year. Now I just see him as an extra part of the offense (like another running back).

2. This defense has no apparent weakenesses (KB)

Despite the fact that the Cowboys lost Vili Levini, the projected starter at one of the defensive tackle positions, the run game has been superb. The run defense doesn’t rank in the top 50, but the red zone defense has been its saving grace, ranking T-29th in the country.

3. Chad Whitener is adequate (KP)

That sounds like a dig, but it’s not. To say someone is an adequate fill-in for Ryan Simmons is to say that player is really good at football. He finished with 11 tackles, a fumble recovery and this forced fumble.

4. McCleskey is the permanent red zone decoy

I didn’t go back and watch the film on this, but how many times did McCleskey go in pre-snap motion but never actually get the ball in the red zone? The Walsh package provides McCleskey as an option in the red zone, and obviously, last week at K-State proved he’s got some wheels. But stretch plays with the current state of the offense are going to be few and far between moving forward, especially until the offensive line settles in.

5. Marcell Ateman feels like the go-to guy (KP)

I’m not sure if this is a reality or just what I feel compelled should happen during a game, but Ateman seems like the dude I want Rudolph going to if he has to have 15 yards. I could also be talked into Brandon Sheperd, but it’s impressive that No. 3 has worked his way into the conversation after a career of unfulfilled expectations.

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