Holgorsen: Baylor Enters With Confidence

Dana Holgorsen has been quick to provide results in his first year at the helm of the Oklahoma State offense but he hasn't been nearly as quick in praising what he and his offense have accomplished. That's what made his statements about junior quarterback Brandon Weeden and the offense following its lowest point output of the season all the more interesting.

In OSU's 24-14 victory against Kansas State the offense scored just 17 points, the final score was a 26-yard interception return by safety Johnny Thomas. It fell well below the Pokes average of 48 points per game heading into the matchup.

But with a depleted receiving corps without Justin Blackmon, Tracy Moore or Hubert Anyiam, Holgorsen was pleased with what he saw from his offense.

"Brandon played well. It was the best game that he's had," Holgorsen said.

"Part of that has to do with the O-line doing their job and there wasn't much pressure at all. We knew that we could protect him; we knew that we could run the ball. Our passing game was different this week than it had been in the past. A lot of other times in previous games it's been play action, throw it deep kind of stuff.

"This game, we knew we were going to have to do a bunch of intermediate routes where Brandon was going to have to sit back there and go through his reads, and if he's got time do that, he's pretty good at it.

"Overall, I was pretty happy with what he did. He took care of the ball and operated pretty good."

Weeden was 22 for 39 for 298 yards and threw two touchdowns. The pass protection allowed Weeden plenty of time to adapt to his new targets, led by an eight-catch, 92-yard receiving effort from Bo Bowling, and Weeden wasn't sacked all game. While the pass protection was excellent, the run blocking didn't suffer either. Kendall Hunter rushed for 143 yards and Joseph Randle added 64 yards on 9.1 yards per carry.

And OSU's ability to run the ball effectively, as well as having Dan Bailey kicking field goals, helped OSU to score on all three occasions when the offense found itself in the red zone. Holgorsen talked about why the team has been so successful in the red zone this season, where they rank second nationally with a 97 percent scoring rate.

"Part of it is a good field goal kicker: Dan (Bailey) doesn't miss," Holgorsen said. "On a lot of teams, you get down there and you just can't make them and it hurts your red zone success. We try to be somewhat conservative with what we call there because we've got such a good field goal kicker, we don't want to screw it up, so to speak.

"Justin Blackmon's been able to finish a lot of drives for us. And a guy like Hubert Anyiam can do it; he did it earlier in the year. Mike Harrison can finish a drive too, as well as Kendall Hunter. Kendall just always typically gets positive yards."

And Holgorsen said having Blackmon and Co. back on the field heading into Saturday's matchup with No. 22 Baylor will be of great benefit to the Cowboys as they take on the vastly improved Bears.

"(Baylor's defense) plays hard, really hard," Holgorsen said. "They've got a lot of experience. They're well coached. Coach Brian Norwood does a great job. He's been around a lot of good coaches; he's been in some pretty good spots. The scheme is good. In general, they're on a role and they're playing hard and they've improved every week. Since game one they've improved every week.

"When you're improving every week and winning games, you've got a lot of confidence, and when you've got a lot of confidence, you play hard."


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