After Further Review: Looking back at Oklahoma State’s 65-24 victory over Louisiana-Lafayette
After each game, we’ll revisit my three questions and three goals in the Pokes Preview pregame blog. I’ll also provide some random thoughts after re-watching the game.
Let’s look back at OSU’s 65-24 bounce-back victory over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Will the Cowboys clean up their act?
After 15 penalties for a school-record 167 yards and four turnovers in the loss to Arizona, the Cowboys were flagged five times for 45 yards and turned the ball over once on a interception by Clint Chelf when the starters were out of the game. Huge improvement in both areas.
Will the pass defense improve?
The overall defense was much better, holding the Ragin’ Cajuns scoreless in the first half. But the pass defense still remains to be seen, to a certain extent. ULL quarterback Blaine Gautier completed just 16 of 31 passes for 236 yards (73 of them coming on the touchdown pass where Hedgepeth tore his Achilles again and fell down), but he was, frankly, not accurate. Arizona really took advantage of the short and intermediate passes in the middle of the field, which the linebackers and safeties really struggled with, but ULL didn’t throw there as much. Some of that has to do with better coverage, and some of that has to do with simply not going to that area of the field. The Cowboys did get a good rush up the middle, and a heck of a sack on a blitz from Daytawion Lowe. The Ragin’ Cajuns may play a similar style as Arizona, but their players aren’t nearly as good. We’ll see how this defense handles Big 12 offenses.
How much depth is used?
Plenty, with a 51-7 lead in the third quarter. The starters were out of the game before the fourth quarter began. Guys like defensive tackle Christian Littlehead, who did not play against Arizona, saw the field. Desmond Roland got 13 carries for 56 yards and a fourth-quarter score. OSU didn’t empty the bench like it did against Savannah State, but it broadened the rotation and rested the starters.
Hold onto the football
No issues here at all. The Cowboys did not fumble. I also only counted two borderline drops, one by Tracy Moore in the end zone (the ball was a bit behind him) and one by Charlie Moore in the third quarter (the ball was low and he had to slide). They were balls that could have been caught, not should have been. Again, major improvement from the week before.
Force at least two turnovers
This is still puzzling, as the OSU defense has only forced three turnovers in three games. I should say “forced” loosely for ULL’s fumble in the final seconds of the second quarter, as Alonzo Harris wasn’t even touched when the ball popped free from his grasp. Expecting a repeat of 44 turnovers like last season is asking a lot, but this defense needs to make more big plays to be successful during the Big 12 season.
Again, no issues here. No bad snaps from Jake Jenkins, who appeared to fill in nicely for starter Evan Epstein, who missed the game with a foot/ankle injury.
Other random observations
Tracy Moore did not have a big receiving day (three catches for 22 yards), but he threw a couple excellent blocks. One game on a bubble screen to Josh Stewart in the first quarter, and the big one sprung Kye Staley’s 52-yard touchdown catch and run. Charlie Moore also had some solid blocks on the outside, though he did get called for holding, a foul that negated a Jeremy Smith touchdown run. Charlie was the guy running down the sideline with Staley and got the last block before the end zone.
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