Offense, defense, kicking game. It all was fabulous for Oklahoma State in the Cowboys' 66-6 win over Texas Tech in Lubbock on Saturday. The only grades below an A are reserved for some guys who have set the bar pretty high.
WIND TREATMENT: A
A mighty south wind blew in from Odessa, but it seemed to have no affect on the Cowboys. Against the wind, quarterback Brandon Weeden completed 17 of 21 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Tech QB Seth Doege against the wind was 10-of-17 for 48 yards. But the real wind star was kicker Quinn Sharp, who kicked off six times against the wind. Three of those six were touchbacks, including two that went out of the end zone. Another went into the end zone and was fumbled twice by Tech returners, recovered by OSU for a touchdown. The other two kicks reached the Tech 1- and 5-yard lines.
Tech's spread offense requires good tackling – witness the Red Raiders' two slip screens that went for big-play touchdowns against OU. The Cowboys were up to the task. OSU's defense played aggressive and physical, rarely letting Tech receivers get yards after the catch or tailbacks bolt for extra yardage.
Receiver Josh Cooper returned from a hamstring injury and had a huge first half – six catches for 106 yards. Defensive tackle Cooper Bassett snagged an interception when he dropped in a zone blitz and tipped Seth Doege's first-quarter pass, setting up OSU's fourth touchdown.
Another excellent look – white helmet, white jersey, gray pants. Nike designer Tinker Hatfield apparently knew what he was doing with the new OSU duds. And while we're at it, Tech's Wounded Warrior tribute uniforms were cool – Old Glory inside the double T on the helmet, plus some patriotic fatigue striping on the uniforms.
JOSEPH RANDLE: C
The only thing close to a troubling development was the two lost fumbles by the sophomore tailback. Randle played well otherwise – 78 yards rushing on 18 carries, three touchdowns, six catches – but a team that has set a standard for turnover ratio can't afford to stop dropping the ball.
The Tech crowd did not create a frenzied atmosphere. Tech announced 57,205, but Jones Stadium probably numbered in the low 40,000s. Still, the Cowboys showed remarkable discipline for a road game. They had just three penalties. All came after OSU took a 56-6 lead. An illegal formation, a false start and a chop block.
The second unit played solid in mopup duty. Tech never scored an offensive touchdown, and Clint Chelf's No. 2 offense produced 122 fourth-quarter yards in three possessions, including 109 yards rushing by Herschel Sims. Even better, backups playing early made a huge impact on the game. Isaiah Anderson (playing for the injured Hubert Anyiam) and Josh Stewart (playing because he's too talented not to) combined for eight catches for 156 yards and four touchdowns.
PASS COVERAGE: A
OSU's secondary was superb. Tech rarely had receivers running free. And the Cowboys broke on the ball superbly. Justin Gilbert had two pass breakups; Markelle Martin and Brodrick Brown one each.
JUSTIN BLACKMON: B
The all-American had another big game, with six catches for 103 yards and two touchdowns. But Blackmon missed a 36-yard TD catch late in the second quarter when Weeden's long, on-target pass went right through Blackmon's hands.
FULLHOUSE BACKFIELD: A
The Cowboys used their three-running back formation seven times. Those plays produced three touchdowns and two first downs. One of the TDs came on Weeden's 2-yard fade pass to Justin Blackmon.