OSU vs. KSU Report Card

Whoa. What a game. OSU needed key performances from some of its best players to escape with a 52-45 thriller in Stillwater on Saturday night. The national title hopes are still alive and well but the Cowboys get a mixed bag in grading how they accomplished it.

Weeden and Blackmon — A

All four of Oklahoma State's turnovers were coughed up by the heralded tandem. Weeden threw two picks, one returned for a touchdown, and Blackmon muffed a punt return and fumbled what appeared to be a touchdown into the end zone for a touch back. But did that bother either of them? Hardly. They responded in a big way, as Weeden threw for a school record 502 yards on 36-of-46 passing with four touchdowns. Blackmon tied his career-high with 13 receptions and had the second best yardage output of his career with 205 yards and he had two key touchdowns, including a 54-yarder from Weeden that gave the Cowboys a 45-38 lead in the fourth quarter, which was capped by a successful two-point conversion by Blackmon. The biggest players showed up at the biggest time and didn't let mistakes from earlier in the game affect them. That says a lot about them and the team.

Ball hawking — B

It took OSU's defense all of two plays to force the Wildcats into their first turnover but they only forced one more the rest of the game. Kansas State is good at holding on to the ball and a few more turnovers could have been a huge help but the initial turnover turned into a quick seven points and got the Pokes off on the right foot.

Ball security — D

This was one of the major issues the Cowboys had on Saturday night. The four turnovers, as detailed above, were costly and really allowed the pesky Wildcats to claw their way back into the game. Had the Cowboys not pulled it out, there is no doubt this would have been a major focal point.

OSU football — A+

The Cowboys improved to 9-0 for just the second time in school history and the first since 1945. The Cowboys are assured of being No. 2 in tomorrow's BCS poll and Saturday night's crowd of 58,895 was the largest in OSU football history. Special things are happening in Stillwater.

Tracy Moore — A+

How huge was Moore Saturday night? He played lights out and set a career-high for yardage with 123 — in the first half. Moore finished with 146 yards and a score on nine catches, also a career-high. It can't go unmentioned how timely some of his catches were, as well. He extended drives and took huge chunks out of the middle of the KSU defense that opened up options all over the field.

Joseph Randle — A-

Statistically speaking, that was a step back for OSU's sophomore running back from the past two weeks. But that wouldn't really be fair after back-to-back four touchdown showings. Randle did the most with the touches he received and, despite being held to 79 yards on 4.6 a carry, he still found a way to score three more touchdowns, one of which was a reception, and his 23-yard scamper with 2:16 remaining proved to be the game winner. Also, Randle had to shoulder the load alone tonight without sidekick Jeremy Smith, who was held out with an injury.

OSU run defense — F

It's hard to think of a reason (other than winning the game) to rate this any higher. Kansas State, especially quarterback Collin Klein, ran all over the Cowboys. It was methodical and unstoppable. KSU finished with 276 rushing yards, although it felt like a lot more than that, on 5.4 yards per carry with four touchdowns. That certainly wasn't a good sign but the Wildcats are a different animal than any other team OSU has played or will play the rest of the regular season.

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