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Don't say OSU's Joseph Randle didn't see breakout game coming

BY JOHN HELSLEY, Staff Writer, jhelsley@opubco.com Published: September 9, 2011
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photo - Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle scores a touchdown during the first half of the Cowboys game against Arizona on Thursday in Stillwater. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, The Oklahoman
Oklahoma State's Joseph Randle scores a touchdown during the first half of the Cowboys game against Arizona on Thursday in Stillwater. PHOTO BY BRYAN TERRY, The Oklahoman

Joseph Randle saw his breakout game against Arizona coming.

He always sees it coming.

“Oh, yeah,” Randle said after he ran for 121 yards and two touchdowns and caught a career-high nine passes for 99 yards. “I envision making plays when I go to sleep every night. I try to set some time aside to think about that every night. Monday night. Tuesday night. Any night.

“That's what I like to do, because I love football. And I like to make big plays.”

Like the 41-yard run on Oklahoma State's opening possession, setting up his first score — a Thurman Thomas-like dive over the top — to get the Cowboys off to a 7-0 lead.

Like the 63-yard romp on a screen pass, after he and quarterback Brandon Weeden read blitz in the fourth quarter, carrying all the way to the Wildcats 6, setting up a statement score that pushed OSU's lead to 34-7.

“If the ball is in my hands, I'm going to try to make a play,” Randle said.

And Randle is getting every opportunity, at least all he can handle. The Cowboys seemed headed for a time share at running back, with Randle and Jeremy Smith due equal billing. And Smith continues to produce, rushing for a touchdown in a sixth straight game Thursday night.

But Randle is the clear No. 1, and not just because of the number on his jersey.

And why not? Through two games in the run game, Randle is averaging 6.8 yards per carry, netting 250 yards with four touchdowns. And there's more — much more — with Randle a natural receiver, ranking only behind Justin Blackmon with 11 catches.

“I've probably played every skill position on offense through my life,” Randle said with a shrug. “It really ain't no different. Just catch the ball and run.”

Said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy: “He's very versatile. We can split him out and he runs routes.

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