Justin Blackmon wanted to add returning punts to his repertoire—and his head coach obliged.
Blackmon fielded three punts in the second half against Texas on Saturday. But he did not get to showcase his return skills, as he called for a fair catch on all three chances.
Using Blackmon in the return game also helps give Josh Cooper, who has eight punt returns for 43 yards so far this season, a rest from time to time.
“We'd like to take some reps away from Cooper — he plays a lot in the game,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “Blackmon's asked to be involved in the return game some, so we've worked on it and we'll try to bring him along slowly as the season progresses.”
Josh Stewart and Andrae May have also returned punts for the Cowboys this season.
STILL ROAD WARRIORS
OSU recorded its eighth consecutive road victory Saturday in Austin to move into a tie with Oregon for the nation's second-longest active road winning streak.
Virginia Tech leads the nation with 11 straight road wins after Saturday's 38-17 victory at Wake Forest.
The Cowboys will continue to be tested on the road, as trips to Missouri, Texas Tech and Iowa State remain on the schedule.
“I don't think there's any question or any doubt about the strength of this league and the schedule that all of us, and particularly us, are going to play on the road this year,” Gundy said. “Each week is a challenge.”
STAT WATCH: POKES SECOND NATIONALLY IN TURNOVER MARGIN
After winning the turnover battle against UT 3-0 Saturday, OSU is now tied for second in the nation in turnover margin (2.00). The Cowboys have 20 takeaways, which ranks third nationally, compared to eight giveaways.
“We try to talk about it all the time and coach it,” Gundy said of the emphasis on turnovers. “And it's worked in our favor in the last few weeks and certainly at a big point in the game.”
Additionally, OSU ranks second in the nation in total offense (551.17 yards per game), while quarterback Brandon Weeden ranks sixth in passing yards per game (349.67).