OSU football: Excellent victory in a rough spot
Impressions of Oklahoma State’s 24-14 victory Saturday at Kansas State:
* Excellent win in difficult situations. Solid opponent, road game, no Justin Blackmon, rough start. And yet the Cowboys win going away. Very impressive.
* Mike Gundy comes out looking very good. He made the self-admitted “easy” decision to suspend Blackmon after his early-Tuesday arrest for a DUI in Carrollton, Texas. Easy to know what to do, still hard to pull the trigger.
But Blackmon’s absence didn’t cost the Cowboys a victory, and it provided a great lesson. All in all, a good week.
“I’m very proud of our football team,” Gundy said. “They overcame some adversity. Tough loss last week. There was a hangover for a couple of days. We were a couple of players short. Our defense really played well. Made big plays in the end. And offensively, we made enough plays to win the football game.”
* This was Brandon Weeden’s best game. Let’s be honest; a lot of Weeden’s success has come courtesy of Blackmon, who has made big plays out of lobbed balls and short passes. There was no Blackmon against K-State, so Weeden was on his own and performed very well. Weeden completed 22 of 39 passes for 298 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Good throws, smart decisions.
* The receivers did not adequately step up in Blackmon’s absence, especially early. Colton Chelf, Bo Bowling and Josh Cooper all had first-quarter drops, which explains the Cowboys’ early struggles. Bowling eventually became Weeden’s go-to receiver, and Michael Harrison returned to provide a big touchdown catch.
* Bowling had eight catches for 92 yards. A guy who knows all about trouble was able to step into the spotlight because of Blackmon’s troubles. Bowling, whose career seemed over when he was indicted on drug trafficking charges 18 months ago, had to enjoy this day as much as anyone. After pleading guilty to a lesser charge, sitting out last season and petitioning to return to the squad, Bowling had to wonder if he would ever have the chance to shine such as this.
* OSU penalties were ridiculous. Ten for 96 yards, some of them personal foul types that only extended drives. And the penalty against Brodrick Brown for targeting above the shoulders could have repercussions. The Big 12 suspended for one game Nebraska’s Eric Martin for that blindside block on OSU’s Andrew Hudson last week. Brown didn’t stand and gloat like Martin did, neither did Brown laugh on the sidelines as Martin did (while Hudson was wheeled from the field).
* Safety Johnny Thomas seemed to play well even before his superb sequence early in the fourth quarter, when he tight-roped along the goal line and downed Quinn Sharp’s punt at the 1-yard line, then a few plays later intercepted a pass and returned it 26 yards for a touchdown.
* Kansas State’s future is not bright if it keeps allowing players like Joseph Randle of Wichita to leave the state. The OSU freshman was sensational again, with 64 yards on seven carries. Kendall Hunter had 143 yards on 28 carries, as the Cowboys ran for 213 yards.
Dana Holgorsen should have run the ball even more. OSU tailbacks averaged 5.9 yards a carry.
* Quinn Sharp was as valuable as any player on the field, other than Weeden. The Cowboy punter continually pinned the Wildcats deep in their own territory. He averaged 41.3 yards on six punts, but four of them were downed inside the 20-yard line. Sharp also kicked off well, as always, and OSU’s kickoff coverage was much better this week.
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