Oklahoma State football: Grading the Cowboys by position
It's finals week at Oklahoma State, which makes it the perfect time to give the Cowboys their report card.
STILLWATER — It's finals week at Oklahoma State, which makes it the perfect time to give the Cowboys their report card.
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OSU finished tied for third in the Big 12 and with a 7-5 record. There's one more contest to go, sure, but bowl games are, more or less, regarded as extra credit.
Here's how the Cowboys grade out by position:
True freshman Wes Lunt began the season as the starter, but injuries forced J.W. Walsh and Clint Chelf into that role. By the end of the season, Chelf was the starter and Lunt was the third-teamer.
And all three quarterbacks, for the most part, kept the Cowboy offense rolling. Each passed for more than 1,000 yards — the first time that's happened in Big 12 history — and played a part in directing a high-powered attack that ranked seventh in the nation in passing (333.42 yards per game) and fourth in scoring (44.67 points per game).
Additionally, by the end of the season, we had seen a real glimpse of the special run-throw package for Walsh that was mostly used in goal-line and short-yardage situations. He tallied four rushing touchdowns and one passing touchdown in OSU's final three games after recovering from what was originally identified as a season-ending injury.
One key area of concern for the quarterbacks? The pick-six. The Cowboys threw four of them — three by Lunt and one by Chelf.
Running backs: A-
Joseph Randle put together another excellent season for the Cowboys, rushing for 1,351 yards and 14 touchdowns and adding 28 catches for 224 yards. He was a first-team All-Big 12 selection by both The Associated Press and the league's coaches.
But perhaps even more important than Randle's stats was the fact that he was such a dependable force for an offense that was banged up at several positions for much of the season.
Injuries limited Jeremy Smith for a good portion of the Big 12 schedule, but he compiled 331 yards and seven touchdowns. Sophomore Desmond Roland also got in the mix at times, finishing with 250 yards and four scores.
Another position that was hampered by injuries — most notably a season-ender to Tracy Moore — but still got solid production.
Josh Stewart became a go-to target because of his versatility and ability to make plays in space after the catch. He finished with 96 receptions for 1,154 yards and seven touchdowns.
No other receiver displayed the same consistency, but veterans Charlie Moore (500 yards, five touchdowns) and Isaiah Anderson (329 yards, three touchdowns) and true freshman Austin Hays (369 yards, two touchdowns) each had their moments. The big-bodied Blake Jackson (565 yards, two touchdowns) could have been an even more dangerous weapon if he could have consistently held onto the football.
Offensive line: A
Offensive line coach Joe Wickline continues to be one of the more underrated assistant coaches in all of college football.
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