I wrote about Dez Bryant in today’s Oklahoman, and no doubt the Oklahoma State Cowboys miss their all-star receiver. Some say Dez would be a Heisman candidate, had he not missed those three games, and when you look at the lack of contenders for the award, they could be right.
Sam Bradford is out, Colt McCoy has slumped, Tim Tebow is playing OK but not spectacular. Jimmy Clausen of Notre Dame might be the favorite. If Dez hadn’t missed those three games and was reeling in touchdown catches and returning punts for touchdowns — and there’s no reason to believe he wouldn’t be — then he would be in the discussion.
And the Cowboys have missed Dez, no doubt. But here’s what’s interesting. They haven’t missed their other all-American, tailback Kendall Hunter. Backup Keith Toston has always been a solid player (well, since that fumble-marred performance at Troy in September 2007 that allowed Hunter to ascend up the depth chart) but has become a force in Hunter’s absence.
Toston is running hard and catching well. Against A&M, Toston had 26 carries for 130 yards and two catches for 74 yards, including a 40-yarder. Against Missouri, Toston had 24 carries for 87 yards, plus seven catches for 54 yards. He was a big-play man vs. the Aggies and a workhorse vs. Mizzou.
Toston does not have the home run ability of Hunter. But Toston is tougher; he can produce the rugged yards in tight games that sometimes are needed.
OSU is best when it has both tailbacks. It would be great for the Cowboys if Hunter can return soon — coach Mike Gundy says Hunter has practiced for two weeks, it’s just a matter of when he can make full cuts and handle the hurt of a sprained ankle — but until he does, the tailback position is in good hands with Toston.