A Few Thoughts On OSU's Victory Against KU

After starting the game by allowing Kansas to go 80 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown and then quarterback Brandon Weeden being sacked on the first offensive play of the game for the Cowboys, wow, how the next 25 and a half minutes went.

Oklahoma State scored touchdowns on the next eight possessions and the defense really helped with that scoring run with two fumble recoveries and two interceptions. Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken has a saying for what happens in that situation with an offense and defense working so well together.

"It's like make-it, take-it in basketball," says Monken. "You feel on offense like you get the ball right back."

The Cowboys tied a first quarter scoring record with 35 points, broke the single half record with 56 points, and then tied the modern day single game scoring mark of 70 points for the game.

I promise you there will be some fans that point out that the Cowboys defense gave up 28 points. They did and there is no relief here. Weeden didn't throw any pick sixes in the game. Kansas scored 28 points on the defense, but which Cowboys defense?

After that first drive, 80 yards, in the game, Oklahoma State allowed Kansas just 106 yards the rest of the half. In the second half the offense went three and out to start the third quarter and then KU blocked the Quinn Sharp punt to set up a 31-yard scoring drive. The next possession of the second half the Jayhawks went three-and-out gaining eight yards. At that point, 49 offensive snaps had yielded 217 yards. Not bad and the score was 56-14. That was when the starters and most of the top backups on defense retired for the day.

"I really would have liked to play the whole game, I always want to play the whole game," said senior defensive end Jamie Blatnick. "I know we have to play the younger players and let them get some experience."

Yes, and playing a quarter and a half does a world of good for players like freshman defensive tackle James Castleman, defensive end Jimmy Bean, linebacker Nico Ornelas, and all the other young pups that manned the defense for OSU in most of the second half. You honestly never know who you will need at some point in the season to play a critical play. This is what gets them ready. I will gladly give up the other two touchdowns and the 243 yards of offense in the last 24:26 of the ball game. That experience gained is what keeps us alive.

The head coach understands and gladly gives up the yards and points.

"I really like seeing the other players get in there," said Gundy. "They work hard and go through all the training the starters do throughout the year and then they get to play in front of the mothers and dads, and girlfriends. Somebody brings it up all the time, 'you gave up 28 points.' But those kids are out there playing hard and tackling and running around they will get to watch tape on Sunday with all the other players."

I'm with Gundy on this. You need to play all those guys. The more those young defensive players play then the better they will get sooner because they have an idea of where they need to be. Not to mention that there was plenty of time to play for linebacker Tyler Johnson and safety Lavocheya Cooper, both coming off injuries and both needing to get back in the flow. Chance are, points given up in games like this against Kansas could help prevent points later in the year in key games like Kansas State, Baylor, and OU.

Sims Plays

What happened in the open week as Herschel Sims, wearing No. 18 because of a number conflict, went into the game as the third feature back having moved past already played freshman Desmond Roland. Gundy said Herschel earned it.

"All those guys are going to be good players and Herschel has worked his way back into being in the mix the last two or three weeks," said Gundy. "It is just part of the maturation process that you go through. He has worked extremely hard and given us what we needed and deserves to be in the game. We had discussions with him and that we felt he was ready to contribute some and did he want to play and contribute as a role player or did he want to redshirt? He said he wanted to play. There may be a point in the last seven games that we may need him. He wanted to play and be ready for that. He's earned that right and that is why he is on the field."

Interesting, but that is not the latest I have seen a player break a redshirt. It is usually for a need, but I agree with Gundy and one OSU sports medicine professional told me with running backs you are better off playing them and letting them learn how physical it is.

Sims not only broke in on the kickoff team, but he was playing running back most of the third quarter and fourth. He rushed seven times for 22 yards and a one-yard touchdown run.

Injuries

This was a pretty good situation today. Going into the game, center Grant Garner was suited up but was not going to play with a high ankle sprain left over from the Texas A&M win. Garner could have played in the case of an emergency, but the good news was that senior Casey LaBrue and back-up Evan Epstein handled the center position just fine throughout the day. LaBrue said after the game that he thought he had played well when asked if he measured up to the "100" that offensive line coach Joe Wickline said he received for his one series at Texas A&M when Garner was first injured.

Freshman special teams performer Isaac Maselera injured his shoulder in the first half on a kickoff and was held out the second half. There is no firm word on how serious his shoulder injury is.

Fullback Kye Staley came out in the second half favoring his left shoulder, but it was not serious and Staley returned to the game.

Head coach Mike Gundy also told the Cowboy Radio Network that Jonathan Rush, the senior offensive guard, did join Devin Hedgepeth by having surgery on his knee for an ACL tear, so Rush and Hedgepeth are out for the season. Both were injured at Texas A&M, Hedgepeth a ruptured Achilles. Gundy said Hedgepeth has his red-shirt season, and Rush, who has missed two previous seasons with shoulder injuries is expected to be granted a sixth-year of eligibility.

That was it on injuries.

Recruiting Visitors

We counted 29 high school athletes there as unofficial visitors for the Oklahoma State-Kansas game. Among those on hand were recent commitment Zac Veatch of Broken Arrow, Okla. The 6-5, 255 pound tight end just committed a little over a week ago. Heritage Hall running back Barry J. Sanders was at the game as well. He did not go as a recruit, but we were told was there with friends as he often does at the Oklahoma State games. Just this week Sanders was officially welcomed into the 2012 U.S. Army All-American Game in San Antonio. An assembly was held at Heritage Hall to honor Sanders.

Some other interesting prospects on hand included a pair from Lawton MacArthur High School. Michael Thomas is a highly regarded safety that committed early to Tulsa, but may be having second thoughts. Thomas is 6-1, 195 and very physical. His teammate, kicker Daniel Schwarz was there too. Schwarz is regarded as the best kicking prospect in Oklahoma in the 2012 class.

Out of Texas came Texas Football Super Team wide receiver De'Vante Lacy out of Grand Prairie. Lacy is 5-9, 175 pounds and speedy at just under 4.5. He is first-team Super Team after catching 95 passes as a junior for over 1,200-yards and 14 touchdowns. Lacy is also a kick and punt returner. Jarell Crenshaw is a 5-10, 175 pound defensive back out of Pearland Dawson High School.

From Arkansas came Colton Jackson out of Ozark. The 6-5, 260 pound offensive linemen is getting steady action but looking for offers from some bigger schools in Division I.


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