Three Reasons OSU Will Finish 10-2 Or Better

Defensive line, quarterback play and team chemistry are among the reasons that Oklahoma State has a chance to win 10 or more games

To close out the bye week activities as we get ready to move into Homecoming week and the preparation and preview of Kansas for next Saturday here are three areas or developments in this football team that make us believe that the Oklahoma State Cowboys are potential Big 12 champs and at the least deserving of finishing 10-2 or better this regular season.

1. Defensive Line
Emmanuel Ogbah has been awesome and after his West Virginia performance, which earned him two national defensive player of the week awards, he could be easily considered a candidate for All-America teams and awards such as the Lombardi, Bednarik, and Hendricks. 

"He's an important part," defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer said of the star defensive end. "The front seven as a whole has done a good job of pressuring the quarterback. Sometimes it's him alone, sometimes it's other guys feeding the quarterback to him and sometimes it's him feeding the quarterback to someone else. It all works together."

The attention on Ogbah is individual and while he is fifth in the nation in sacks and eighth in the NCAA FBS in tackles for loss, as Spencer alluded to the team numbers on defense are outstanding with the Cowboys ranking highest in red zone defense and 29th in total defense. The defensive line is pulling its weight in a big way with Ogbah and fellow defensive end Jimmy Bean both being standouts and then new defensive tackle Vincent Taylor has been a major force in stopping the run as well as doing well in pass rush with sacks. The defensive line is a force. 

2. "Walsh(ing) Machine" or "Walsh and Wear"
Some people might abdicate J.W. Walsh for the starting quarterback job because he can run but most of us including the coaching staff realize that Mason Rudolph is the best starter for this team as the Cowboys rank 20th in scoring offense averaging 37.3 points and 25th in total offense averaging 463.0 yards a game and that is with a paltry rush offense. The Cowboys are third in the nation in red zone offense with .966 effectiveness in the red zone. You can chalk a lot of that up to Walsh, who specializes in short yardage and red zone offense. 

Absolutely, Walsh is a key to the success of Oklahoma State this season and amidst all of the fussing, bickering, and complaining over the inadequacies of this team (run game, O-line, drops, interceptions, etc.) Walsh is a component that comes in and evens the numbers in the run game as a run/pass quarterback and makes the offense go and be successful in crucial short yardage and score zone situations. OSU is outstanding, without the benefit of a prolific ground game, in red zone offense. Go check the numbers.

Despite some, I repeat some and not as much as usual, quarterback opinionating that could cripple some teams and cause a problem, Mike Gundy, Mike Yurcich, Rudolph, Walsh, and the entire team have created the rarest of rarities in major college or professional football, a two-quarterback system that works and supports both quarterbacks without jealousies, backstabbing, and breakdown of team chemistry. 

It is so unique that I can not recall anything like it that I've seen or certainly anything like it that I have been around.

3. Team Chemistry
The team is 6-0, 3-0 in the Big 12, and while many fans bicker and moan over what the team struggles with, the players do not. There is no finger pointing, just encouragement and support. Also, the constant preaching of Gundy to players, coaches and even support staff and team broadcasters of attitude and body language plays a part. When a team is down the other team likes to look at them and sense they are down, wounded, and ready to be beaten. This Oklahoma State team never shows that, never gives the opponent the satisfaction of knowing they have the Cowboys on the ropes and therefore opponents never get the confidence boost that comes with that. It may sound small but it is really rather large in the competitive environment. 

"They're resilient. The two places where we won close games on the road were not easy places to win so we're very proud of them for that," Gundy said.  "We've told them that. We had meeting this week and told them everything and the way we feel. We're very open with our team and the areas we need to improve on. They were able to stay calm and absorb information, had a great attitude and they played really hard at the end of the game so we benefited from that."

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