We saved the best and maybe the most influential matchups for last. There is no doubt, that even with a renewed running game and a receiver corps very capable of completing big plays, that Mason Rudolph is in charge on the field.
In the past two months Rudolph has improved in two huge areas. He is capable of being his own quarterback whisperer and he can fix his game in the middle of a game if that is what is required. Rudolph has had games where his passes are off and he is inaccurate and then all of a sudden he snaps to and the passes go right into the hands and the offense explodes.
The other area of improvement is an influence of head coach Mike Gundy, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich, and I'm going to throw in the other former quarterback on the coaching staff in Marcus Arroyo. I think Arroyo, by the way, may be the new head coach at his alma mater, San Jose State, by the middle of next week. Arroyo is capable of being a good head coach and like Gundy said when he hired the young but veteran coach, "We'll be lucky if we have him for two years."
The trio of coaches have all had an impact in taking Rudolph's decision-making to another level. Rudolph more than ever sees disguises and has a better, faster and safer grasp of where the ball needs to go and that will make a big difference on Saturday.
Rudolph has won in that stadium, he has won in a lot of stadiums. In his 27 games he has played in, he has started in 26 of those and he is 10-2 on the road. That's pretty impressive.
I've matched the quarterbacks against the free safeties, for Oklahoma that is veteran Ahmad Thomas, who is a 6-0, 215-pound senior. He has 53 tackles this season, a sack, and a fumble recovered. He is one of the more trusted defenders on the back end for Oklahoma, but that secondary has been beaten up so much.
It's like the little kid that was trying to cover all the holes in the dam and they just kept springing up. Oklahoma has allowed a lot of long scoring plays this season. This is a matchup I feel safe in saying Oklahoma State wins but do they win to the degree necessary to win the game, and none of us will know what that degree is until Saturday.