1. The young Cowboys defensive tackles, specifically redshirt sophomore Vincent Taylor and true freshman Darrion Daniels, showed on several occasions Thursday night that with continued improvement the position may go from being a major concern to one that Glenn Spencer can count on to hold their own in 2015. Taylor finished with five tackles, including one sack, and Daniels registered three tackles and a sack.
2. The combination of running backs Chris Carson and Rennie Childs is a one-two punch that will be tough to stop by the middle of the season. Carson showed why Mike Gundy made it a priority to flip him from Georgia to OSU last January. He rushed for 89 yards on 21 carries in his Cowboys debut, but Childs (five for 36 yards, including a team-best 26-yarder) also showed signs that he’s bigger, stronger and faster.
3. It’s only the first game of a long season but could the Cowboys’ five-play, 74-yard drive for a touchdown to regain the lead early in the second half be the most important of the season? The Chippewas opened the second half by driving the length of the field to take a 13-10 lead. Who knows what would have happened if Central Michigan had forced a three-and-out by the Cowboys and then driven down the field to score again? But Mason Rudolph directed the five-play drive – connecting with David Glidden (20 yards), Jhajuan Seales (5) and Glidden again (25) – and capped it off with a 21-yard scramble into the end zone for the touchdown. It was a big answer by Rudolph and the offense.
4. Who else wants to see more J.W. Walsh? We all know that offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich has more in the playbook for the fifth-year senior. I’m anxious to see what that is, but don’t be surprised if it’s not shown until Big 12 play starts.
5. The Cowboy backs position contributed on Walsh’s touchdown run in the second quarter. Both Jeremy Seaton and Zac Veatch both stood up Chippewas defenders as Walsh jogged untouched into the end zone for the Cowboys first touchdown.
6. Congratulations Marcell Ateman on your first career touchdown catch! It’s hard to believe that his impressive 18-yard touchdown grab early in the fourth quarter was the first of his 26-game playing career. He also was on the receiving end of a 49-yard pass from Rudolph. Let’s hope the junior from Dallas is going to be another weapon for the Cowboys offense.
7. Let’s hope that Ben Grogan, who missed on two of his three field goal attempts, is getting all of his misses out of his system before Big 12 play begins in three weeks.
8. The crowd inside Kelly/Shorts Stadium was estimated to be less than 20,000. Hasn’t the OSU program reached the point where it should not have to go on the road to play in front of crowds that are smaller than that at a Union-Jenks high school game?
9. Where was James Washington? He caught two passes for 19 yards but the receiver who led the team in touchdown receptions a year ago should be more of a focus for Rudolph. I’m expecting him to touch the ball at least five times a game, and preferably about 8-10 times.
10. What about Kevin Peterson? His streak of 16 consecutive starts came to an end as the senior cornerback did not play after having arthroscopic knee surgery just a few weeks ago. It was probably a wise decision to sit the standout from Wagoner, Oklahoma. The Cowboys are going to need him against TCU, Baylor and West Virginia more than Central Michigan.
11. (Bonus) Do you know which two Cowboys are tied with the most consecutive starts following the Central Michigan game? Both defensive end Jimmy Bean and middle linebacker Ryan Simmons started their 27th consecutive games Thursday night.