Oklahoma State has had a few notable special teams blunders this season — particularly on field goal tries and punts. But one area where the Cowboys have excelled is on covering kickoffs, ranking fifth in the nation in that category with 16.31 yards allowed per return.
That figure even includes a 66-yard return given up against Mississippi State in the Cowboys' opener.
Coach Mike Gundy attributes part of the kickoff coverage success to Kip Smith's ability to “sky kick,” which often forces the returner to take the ball deep in his own territory rather than letting it go for a touchback. But health may be what's most helped that unit.
“In past years, we've had some guys that were on that unit that got hurt and we had to sub young guys in,” Gundy said. “There's an art to the return game and the kick coverage game and those players get considerably better through experience.”
GUNDY'S FAVORITE UNIFORMS? ALL BLACK
OSU has been part of the college football uniform phenomenon for three seasons. But the topic bubbled up locally again last week, when Oklahoma and Texas debuted jerseys with gold trim around the numbers for their Red River Rivalry game.
What's Gundy's favorite look for the Cowboys? OSU traditionalists who love orange won't like it.
“I've always been fond of the all-black look,” Gundy said, “and when you mix in a little bit of the silver.”
He's referring to the combination worn against TCU last season, where the Cowboys wore black jerseys and black pants, along with the black helmet with the silver Phantom Pistol Pete logo.
OPPONENT WATCH: TCU HOLDS ON TO BEAT KANSAS
On a wild Saturday of college football, TCU was fully on upset alert before finally pulling away late against Kansas, 27-17.
The Horned Frog offense continued to sputter, turning the ball over five times while the receivers struggled to consistently catch the football.
“At some point in time, if we want to win more games than we lose, guys have to make plays,” coach Gary Patterson said of his receivers. “Good DBs are going to knock them away. You have to come back to the ball.”