Could Oklahoma State quarterback J.W. Walsh's role expand Saturday?

If Oklahoma State follows the blueprint that Texas used to hand Oklahoma its only loss this season, quarterback J.W. Walsh's role may expand Saturday night when the Cowboys take the field against the Sooners at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Last week in the 45-35 loss to Baylor senior specialty quarterback J.W. Walsh was not himself. Oh Walsh threw for a touchdown on a jet flip to Jalen McCleskey and also ran for a touchdown in the second half but with a 102-degree fever and sore throat, among other flu-like issues, he wasn't the buoyant and fired up leader we have grown accustomed to seeing. He tried but with those symptoms it is hard to bounce all over the place. 

Oklahoma State is lucky because both of their quarterbacks are tough. Walsh once played most of a game against Iowa State as a redshirt freshman with a cracked knee cap. Mason Rudolph hung in there last Saturday despite an ankle that was bothering him. Both will answer the bell for Saturday and Rudolph has the been the primary guy all season. No doubt his passing ability will be needed against the Sooners. His first win as a college quarterback came against OU in Norman last season. 

Rudolph's 21 touchdown passes and his 63 percent completions and average of 326.5 passing yards a game are the catalyst for the offense. 

Last week in the loss to Baylor the Cowboys saw their troubled ground game screech to a halt by the Baylor defense as they only rushed for eight yards. All season offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich and his staff have found creative ways to get the defense to respect the first 10 yards of real estate in front of the offense. Make them defend that and then they can't drop eight into the passing lanes. Several schools have tried that like West Virginia and Iowa State. With their odd-man front defense Oklahoma could also easily jump into that crowded situation in the secondary. 

How can Oklahoma State keep the Sooners honest? They can come up with some more imaginative material. I'm sure they have some and there is no sense saving anything at this late date. However, another way would be to use Walsh more. Expand beyond short yardage and score zone situations and bring him in to start some possessions and mix up the offensive blend even more. 

Oklahoma's only loss came in the Cotton Bowl to Texas 24-17 with Texas quarterback Jerrod Heard rushing for 115 yards on 21 carries. Tyrone Swoopes scored a touchdown and rushed for 14 yards on four carries. As a team, Texas rushed for 313 yards on 58 attempts. 

Could it be that Texas showed a road map to beating Oklahoma or at least having offensive success? Texas sure struggles throwing the ball and maybe they had no choice and maybe they got lucky.

On the season, Walsh has 55 carries for 235 yards and 11 touchdowns. He can throw the ball and that keeps the defense honest. It's just a hunch, but maybe the old man quarterback has the young legs that can help keep OU from doubling up on the Cowboys receivers on Saturday.

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