Let's get right to the crucial issue that so many fans have been focused on and driving home week after week even with win after win and that is the Oklahoma State run game and whether it is improved at all. It is worth mentioning that OSU's offense showed ingenuity, imagination, and skill with moving the ball around for 266 yards and 35 points in the first half.
The first play call and the subsequent execution of the jet flip on the first play set the tone as it went for 21 yards and a good start. Even with Kansas countering for 10 points to make it possible that the Jayhawks could crawl back into the game in the second half, the early interception by linebacker Seth Jacobs and some Kansas gifts in the form of penalties made it easy for the Pokes offense to tuck the game away with two quick touchdowns to start the second half.
The run game accounted for 28 of the 70 yards on the opening drive. Your jaw just dropped, but I count the jet flip opener with Chris Lacy as a run play and not a pass as it is accounted for by official statistics. Chris Carson had a four-yard gain on the second play of the possession and the offensive line had the left side walled off, and if Carson it appears had cut the run back he might have had much more than the four yards. The last three yards were courtesy of J.W. Walsh on the touchdown. By the way the pass protection was very solid and the five-yard sack was the result of Kansas completely covering the designed screen on the play leaving Mason Rudolph to wisely eat the ball.
The second drive had four carries for 17 yards with a 10-yard reverse being the big gainer. Again, Carson had a chance on an early run but the hole that was there closed. The reverse was blocked well and the other run by Carson was a poor job by left tackle Victor Salako as his man came loose.
The third drive and second scoring drive had 32 rushing yards out of the 47 yards covered. There was no push and center Brad Lundblade lost contact with his defender on the first play which was no gain by Rennie Childs. Childs came back with seven yards on a draw play.
The talk of some different schemes in the run game turned out to be a lot of designed double teams on plays with more single blocking on the delayed runs, mainly draws, and some reverses or jet flips. Carson came in and made five yards on a good tough run and then Walsh cashed in with two runs before garnering the touchdown on a wide run to the pylon.
In the end the Cowboys had 202 rushing yards, and averaged 4.3 yards a carry. That is better, but it wasn't demonstrative. Kansas came in averaging allowing 252 rushing yards a game.
There is really no need to review anymore. The blocking was good at times. At other times there wasn't enough push, but there were less offensive linemen losing their target on plays. There were also some holes that didn't get used as the back or the ball was late and disrupted the timing on the play.
The pass protection was excellent with two of the three Kansas sacks the result of coverage. First, the Jayhawks had that screen covered well and then there was a flat out coverage sack. The third was a poor choice in protection call and Rudolph paid for releasing the tight end as a blitzing safety came clean off the edge and plowed the Cowboys quarterback late in the first half. You learn from those mistakes.
I think you have to consider the run game for now as just a way to keep defensive from being honest. OSU fans should consider the run game as a compliment to the pass game and hope that the threat of running the ball will keep defenses honest, and prevent them from either playing a two high safety in coverage or blitzing the heck out of the quarterback, or both.
Next week is Texas Tech and they average allowing 281.5 rushing yards a game, so it is another chance to improve some and pick up some confidence rushing the football as Oklahoma State is now averaging 146.7-yards a game rushing.
Now, the run game is better when Walsh is in and poses the threat of the quarterback run. In case you noticed, Rudolph had a 12-yard scramble for a first down and that is not a bad play on occasion as it will keep the defense honest.
In fact, the combination of those two playing quarterback, trading off in situations, and doing it without issues and so completely successful for the team is not just fantastic but also unusual. Quick, name the great two quarterback situations in football history? Noting comes to mind real quick, huh?
It is because it so rarely happens and is able to take place as egos and locker room politics can get in the way. Not with Rudolph and Walsh, and not at Oklahoma State because the two quarterbacks get along so well. They are respected by each other and by their teammates. Before you question how well that works, think and just appreciate it. It is a major reason for this team's success.
"I've said from day one this year that I've just been around, seen a lot and my role is just to continue to lead with experience and to help the team out anyway I can," Walsh said. "Whatever they need me to do, I'm going to do. When they ask me to go in the game, I'm going in. If they ask me to do something else, I'll do that."
"I think you look at situational football and you look at how productive we are in those particular situations," offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich analyzed. "For the most part, we feel we've been productive, always trying to track efficiency to see where we're lacking and where we need to improve. And as far as his package goes, we feel like it’s been productive."
The total offensive numbers were outstanding with 583 yards and 7.0-yards per play in a game that was over for all practical purposes with 10 minutes to go in the third quarter.
In the passing game you have to look at three players outside of the quarterbacks that really stood tall on the afternoon. That was the sensational catches made by James Washington, the consistency of inside receiver David Glidden in moving the chains and making clutch plays, and the emergence of Chris Lacy, who is also a very talented receiver among the many on the Pokes receiving corps.
"We worked hard all week, and my number was called in the game so I came out and made plays," Lacy said of his four catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns. "I put my team in a position to win."
The bench was emptied and a lot of players got playing time, including third-team quarterback Taylor Cornelius, who showed to be quite the scrambler. There was a reason he was scrambling. For all the inquiries as to whether there is anybody on the depth chart ready to jump in and take over on the first team offensive line the fourth quarter should have provided a definitive answer to that question.