After a couple days to digest and re-watch the game, let’s look back at Oklahoma State’s 36-14 victory over TCU, starting with my questions and goals from the Pokes Preview blog.
Lunt or Chelf?
The answer was Lunt, of course. And as we’ve already noted several times, Lunt was clearly rusty early, but found his rhythm as the game went along. He had a very solid second half, moving around in the pocket well and stepping into his throws. He took a couple shots, including a helmet-to-helmet rushing the passer hit, and never appeared physically or mentally shaken. His 20-yard scoring strike to Charlie Moore was his first touchdown inside Boone Pickens Stadium. Overall, Lunt 18-for-33 with 324 yards.
Can Joseph Randle run on TCU’s defense?
Randle was the workhorse again, tallying 126 yards on a career-high 32 carries. His longest run was only 12 yards, but he only lost two yards all day, something running backs coach Jemal Singleton told me last week would be the biggest key against the Horned Frogs. Randle is displaying a great combination of shiftiness and power right now, which is making him very difficult to bring down. It’s also important to note Jeremy Smith finally appears healthy again, getting seven carries, including the third-quarter touchdown on fourth-and-goal that was probably the turning point of the game.
Which secondary limits the big play?
OSU absolutely won this battle, as TCU’s longest pass play was 22 yards. It happened twice, with one of them coming on a trick play, a pass by Matt Brown after getting the ball on a reverse. OSU had four players record a catch of 20 yards or more — Josh Stewart (35 and 38), Blake Jackson (46), Austin Hays (41) and Moore (20-yard TD). TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin finished with just 185 yards passing.
Force three turnovers
The Cowboys’ goal is to force three turnovers every game. In Game 7, it finally happened for the first time. Daytawion Lowe and Zack Craig tallied interceptions, while Nigel Nicholas forced and recovered a fumble in one of the wackier plays you’ll see–because no one knew the ball was still alive for a good 3-5 seconds.
Get pressure on the QB
Another fairly solid day here, especially against an athletic quarterback in Boykin. The Cowboys tallied two sacks and five quarterback hurries and knocked him to the turf another handful of times.
Win special teams
Definite win for OSU here, with Quinn Sharp drilling all five of his field goals and Jaden Oberkrom missing both of his tries. TCU speedy weapon Skye Dawson was given only two chances to return a kickoff and gained 14 total yards, and then muffed and recovered his only punt return attempt. OSU did have a significant special teams blunder, though, when Justin Gilbert fumbled on a kickoff return.
Other random observations
Have I mentioned I love the Phantom Pistol Pete logo on the ? If not — I love the Phantom Pistol Pete logo on the black helmet.
Big hits: Ashton Lampkin on Dawson on the opening kickoff, Lyndell Johnson on B.J. Catalon on the third down on the drive following Gilbert’s fumble, Caleb Lavey on a Boykin keeper.
Nice play by Craig in the first quarter to track down Boykin on the keeper. As I’ve mentioned several times before, he just seems to show up on a couple plays per game.
On TCU’s first punt, Ryan Simmons nearly got the block. But a great recovery by Perry after bobbling the snap to deliver a 57-yard punt.
Randle got a great hole up the middle on the Cowboys’ first offensive play, helped by a block by Kye Staley. But he was stuffed on the next two plays on second- and third-and-short. I was not surprised to see OSU go conservative on Lunt’s first series back from injury, and Mike Gundy said the Cowboys have to be better in short-yardage situations. Jonathan Rush got beat on the third-down play, and spent a lot of the game on the sideline. Not necessarily connecting the two, but an observation. Brandon Webb played a lot Saturday, though Rush did get snaps in both halves.
Sharp’s first punt may have been the worst I’ve personally seen from him.
Cooper Bassett lined up a fair amount at tackle, then looped around to the outside after the snap. One of those plays resulted in a pass break-up at the line of scrimmage when he jumped up to knock down the ball.
Lunt’s throw on the pick-six was a tad high and a tad late, but Stewart needs to make that catch. Even so, it was a heck of a play by Elisha Olabode. He never stopped or adjusted to the ball. Snagged it and scored in one smooth motion.
Gilbert nearly made up for his fumble on a kickoff return by being right there when Dawson fumbled that punt.
Catalon’s 46-yard run was TCU’s longest offensive play. He got past Nicholas at the line, and right guard John Wooldridge had a solid block on James Castleman. Shaun Lewis was blocked by the fullback. Lowe and Shamiel Gary both missed the tackle — by running into each other — and Gilbert took a poor angle on the play.
That drive was by far the worst tackling OSU had all day. Kevin Peterson whiffed after LaDarius Brown’s catch, which allowed Brown to score.
Hate to pick on Gilbert, but he had another subpar game. Late in the second quarter, Boykin threw right at Gilbert three times on the same drive. Gilbert was playing soft coverage, and it resulted in catches for Brown, Cam White and Dawson. Then on that same drive, Peterson entered the game and made a fantastic play to jump up and knock a long ball away from Brown. Peterson started the second half.
In the second half, Gilbert did not recognize when Dawson got the ball on the reverse. Then on the reverse pass, Gilbert went to double-cover the receiver way downfield, which helped leave Josh Boyce wide open. But in Gilbert’s defense, the pass interference called on him in the second half was questionable at best.
The formation with two fullbacks that starts in the diamond before Staley motions behind Jeremy Seaton really worked. It got Randle a first-down carry in the first quarter, then opened the hole for Smith’s touchdown run.
Chris Hackett and Jason Verrett were both completely fooled on the flee flicker, which left Hays wide open.
I’m not even sure who Lunt’s pass that was nearly intercepted in the end zone by Sam Carter was intended for. Hays, Moore and John Goodlett were all in the vicinity.
Moore on punt returns is still an adventure.
Lunt’s best throw of the game was the 38-yarder to Stewart over the middle than was dropped in absolutely perfectly. Executed off the play action.
After that throw, Lunt started to let it rip. Two long balls to Hays and Moore drew defensive holding calls.
For the second consecutive game, the Cowboys tried to run the fade to Moore. Not quite the same as to Blackmon. But I’d like to see Lunt try this with Jackson. It didn’t work with Walsh on the two-point try against Texas, but Lunt has more touch and accuracy.
Johnson continues to be a guy that coaches and teammates rave about as a backup linebacker. And he keeps showing up on film. Showed good speed in the second quarter to get to Boykin when he got outside the pocket. Then in the third quarter, he overpowered an offensive lineman and got Catalon by the ankles in the backfield on third-and-short.
Has to be noted again that Randle was really, really good Saturday. On one play, he made a safety miss in the open field, then stayed on his feet against potential tacklers to churn out a couple more yards. The next play, he spun off a tackle.
Millwood High product Davion Pierson had one of TCU’s best defensive plays when he shot through to get Smith in the backfield in the second quarter.
After the pick-six, when Lunt missed on his throws, the ball was usually low.
Gundy has called Ryan Robinson one of the Cowboys’ more underrated players. He had a nice pass break-up in the third quarter.
Lunt made a variety of throws on OSU’s first touchdown drive. It started with a nifty play, where he faked to Randle, then to Stewart on the reverse, then threw to a completely open Randle on the screen for a first down. He really stepped into the 46-yard throw to Jackson over the middle. Then he hit Smith in the flat. Around that time, Lunt had completed five consecutive passes.
On Boykin’s best run play, he broke a tackle from Tyler Johnson in the backfield, then ran to his left and broke a tackle from Brodrick Brown before Gary brought him down.
I haven’t seen Jackson make catches on much more than the seam route down the middle, but if he keeps gaining a lot of yards and dragging guys with him on those plays, then I guess that’s OK.
There were a few snaps when Devin Davis lined up at left tackle, which switched Parker Graham to right tackle.
Isaiah Anderson’s best play in his return from injury was a block that helped spring Stewart on a wide receiver screen.
I missed Lowe’s interception because I was in the elevator going down to the field. It was an easy grab, but he did a nice job of reversing field and nearly scoring. Also, that pick gave OSU more interceptions from the safety position than it had all of last season. Kind of a wacky stat with the turnover decrease this season. Craig also had the interception to end to game.
According to the official game book, Andrae May made his season debut after sustaining a torn anterior cruciate ligament during spring football. I didn’t catch him on the screen, but probably just missed him on a special teams play.