1. Outside of Iowa State, there might not be a Big 12 team playing worse football than Oklahoma State right now. Losers of four straight games, the Pokes have lost those four games by an average score of 38-10. They have not surpassed 14 points in any of those games as well. This is a team that is lost on both sides of the ball.
The Cowboys, fresh off of an almost Big-12 championship season last year were expected to be in a rebuilding year. However, Coach Mike Gundy had moved the program forward so much, 7 or more wins were still expected of the Cowboys. They had to replace most of their defense, and a good chunk of their offensive line. After a closer than expected loss to open the year against defending national champion Florida State, the Cowboys won five straight games and were even ranked 15th in the nation at one point. The troubles started in their last win, a lackluster performance against Kansas in a 27-20 road win. From then on though, it has been all down-hill for the Cowboys.
2. With starting quarterback J.W. Walsh injured after 3 games, Daxx Garman entered the starting lineup and has gotten worse as the year has gone on. Behind an offensive line that has seen turmoil all season, Garman’s big arm and risky throws have resulted in 12 interceptions and an under 55% completion rate. Oklahoma State is averaging just 182.7 passing yards per game over their last three contests and is 75th overall in passing yards on the season. They have also given up the 122nd highest sack percentage allowed in the nation, with 9.42% of all drop-backs resulting in a sack.
Their yards per pass has also plummeted the longer that Garman has been under center. He is a big-time thrower that wants to stretch the field, but he has very little accuracy on the short or intermediate routes. Simply put, teams are playing well off of the Cowboy receivers, and making them beat them short. That has resulted in an awful 5.9 yards per attempt over their last three games. The Cowboys offense has just been awful the past few weeks, highlighted by the fact that they only had 2 first downs through three quarters last week against Texas. This is simply a very bad offense right now.
3. While the Cowboys running game have been better, the lack of good play from their offensive line has hurt them. This is a very young and inexperienced line, even 10 games into the 2014 season. Their best player is junior Tyreek Hill, possibly the fastest player in the Big 12. A little undersized, the Cowboys have limited Hill’s touches this year to save him. His season high in rushing attempts came 2 weeks ago against Kansas State when he carried the ball 18 times. Before that, he never carried more than 14 times. He is slightly involved in the passing attack, but is a game-changer on special teams as their punt and kick returner.
The main running back for the Cowboys is senior Desmond Roland, who has struggled in a larger role this year. He is averaging under 4 yards per carry and even sat out the Kansas State game. The Cowboys leading receiver is David Glidden, who has 34 catches for 450 yards and 1 touchdown. Freshman James Washington has 4 touchdowns on the year to lead the team.
4. The Cowboys are also struggling to defend the pass, as they have allowed 7.7 yards per attempt on the season (100th) and have seen that skyrocket to 8.6 yards per attempt over the past three games. They have an average pass rush and little coverage skill in the back-end to hold up against good passing attacks. Texas Tech threw for 394 yards against them, while TCU blistered them for 415 yards through the air. Even Texas threw for 305 yards against them last week.
Cornerback Kevin Peterson is a good cornerback, but the Cowboys have struggled to find a guy on the other side of the ball. Teams have attacked freshman Ramon Richards repeatedly and have also taken advantage of any situation where a safety or 3rd corner back is covering a wide receiver.
5. Overall, this is a Cowboys team in disarray, looking at two difficult road games to close the year against 6th ranked Baylor and 23rd ranked Oklahoma. There is a very good chance the Cowboys will end the 2014 season on a 7-game losing streak and be searching for a lot of answers to some big questions his offseason. The offense has been slipping the last few years under coordinator Mike Yurich, who took over for Todd Monken, who left to be the head coach at Southern Miss.