Rest comes at perfect time for OSU

The Ragin Cajuns are headed to Stillwater, and they are bringing their 0-5 record on the bus with them. Another non-conference game, but also a last-ditch effort for the Cowboys to gear up for the brutal Big 12 season...

Oklahoma State's buy week couldn't have been scheduled at a better time.

 

The scheduling, in that regard, was absolutely perfect. After Nebraska, the Cowboys have had three games to build confidence, practice technique and otherwise pad their statistics.

 

OSU ranks in the top 20 nationally in several categories.

 

The Cowboys' rushing offense is 16th nationally with 202 yards per game.

 

Most of those yards came from Tatum Bell, who is 16th in the nation with 495 rushing yards, and Seymore Shaw, who is ninth in the country at 6.4 yards per carry.

 

In the passing game, Rashaun Woods has been impeccable.

 

Woods, even with an idle week, ranks eighth nationally with 502 yards receiving, and his nine touchdown catches leads all receivers.

 

And let's not forget Woods' seven touchdown catches against Southern Methodist to set the NCAA record.
Woods, however, is the only Cowboy that could actually be even better than his statistics show.

 

Bell, Fields, the offensive line in general and the defense are all solid, but the competition OSU has faced does taint their statistics a bit.

 

OSU's offense also ranks 18th nationally with 37 points per game. The Cowboys have racked up almost 400 yards of offense per game. The OSU defense is no slouch either. That unit is 21st nationally in total defense, and is allowing only 12.5 points per game.

 

In the first half of games, they are even more dominant, allowing only 13 total points. At the same time, the offense has scored 97 of its 149 points in the first half, making deficits in three games that were impossible to surmount in the second half. Both of these statistics show decline in the second half due to large leads and starters resting on the sidelines while young players gain experience.

 

The only category that lacks substantial national ranking is the overall pass offense. But it has even made waves with quarterback Josh Fields finally showing some form with 265 yards and seven touchdowns against SMU.

The bye week came around, and the Cowboys rested. Players like tight end Billy Bajema, who sat out the SMU game with an aggravated hamstring injury, got another week to get in perfect health.

 

Then, going back to the field after two weeks, OSU gets the 0-5, pushover Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns.

Saturday's game will give the opportunity to complete finishing touches on the offense and defense so both units are prepared for Kansas State the next weekend.

 

It is also the final opportunity to pad team statistics before entering a brutal Big 12 schedule already tainted for the Cowboys by a 17-7 loss to the Cornhuskers.

 

Needless to say, the Pokes will ride into that game with confidence from good statistical standing, without the potential head-inflating Top 25 ranking.

 

If the Cowboys aren't ready for the Big 12 by the end of this week, they never will be.

 

 

Along with the work he does for GoPokes.com and the O-State Sports Report, Matt Palmer is also the OSU football beat writer for the Enid News and Eagle. You can reach Matt at datguy01@hotmail.com


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