OSU football coaches switch it up, turn to the running game
OKLAHOMA STATE OFFENSE — The Oklahoma State offensive coaches figured Oklahoma wouldn't be expecting them to run the ball as much as the Cowboys did. It was a gamble that paid off as OSU put up 278 yards rushing.
STILLWATER – The Cowboys committed to running the ball against Oklahoma.
Partly because they thought it necessary.
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Partly because they thought the Sooners wouldn't expect it.
“That's because we don't run it,” said Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Todd Monken. “And usually we're not very good at it. So that's a pretty good plan.”
Monken typically comes down hard on his group, often over the top. The Cowboys actually average 161 rushing yards per game as part of the nation's No. 3-ranked offense.
But his point plays more to the fact that OSU's identity is tied directly to its aerial assault, putting up 400-plus yards a game as the No. 2 passing offense in the country.
And the last time out, in a 37-31 double-overtime loss at Iowa State, the Cowboys managed just 60 yards on the ground.
Against OU, the Cowboys gashed away, totaling 278 yards and producing two 100-yard rushers, with Joseph Randle going for 151 yards and two touchdowns, Jeremy Smith 119 yards and two scores.
On 33 carries in the game, Cowboy rushers were never dropped for a loss.
“Guys did a great job up front,” Monken said. “And I thought our running backs really took to heart what we talked about, which was running downhill. And if they got touched, it was arm tackles.
“The bottom line is when you play a team like that, you have to be balanced. You go one dimensional, they start pinning their ears back and coming after you. They've got good coaches. So we tried to be balanced.”
For Randle, there was redemption, after back-to-back games with two lost fumbles brought down the criticism and even got him benched for a good while at Iowa State.