A few quick observations from Oklahoma State’s 58-27 win over Iowa State in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday.
1. Roland rolling in run game: Change was necessary for the Cowboys’ offense and Desmond Roland got his chance to start at running back, as did Clint Chelf at quarterback. Roland had two touchdowns before halftime and Chelf used his arm (at least in the first quarter) and legs to keep the chains moving for the Cowboys. But Roland was a force throughout, particularly in the second half. He finished with 219 yards rushing and four scores, including a 58-yard touchdown run that put Iowa State away in the third quarter. Roland became the first 200-yard rusher for the Cowboys since Kendall Hunter in 2010, and Jeremy Smith didn’t even get into the game until late in the fourth quarter.
2. Best offense? A good defense: Oklahoma State continued its sterling year on defense with two defensive touchdowns and another recovered fumble. Justin Gilbert put OSU ahead 14-0 on a 31-yard interception return in the first quarter, and Tyler Johnson scooped up a fumble for a 58-yard touchdown. Paced by the active and often unblockable Caleb Lavey at middle linebacker, the OSU defense made life tough on ISU quarterback Sam Richardson early.
3. More quarterback questions: As good as Chelf was in the first quarter, he regressed as the game went on. It looked as if Chelf and Richardson switched bodies at the beginning of the second quarter, as Richardson continued improving until leaving the game with injuries on two separate occasions. Any semblance of quarterback consistency shifted from OSU to Iowa State as Chelf struggled beyond the first quarter. J.W. Walsh didn’t get in until the game was well in hand.
4. The run game works for quarterbacks, too: J.W. Walsh is known for having the best legs of the Oklahoma State quarterbacks, but it was Chelf who doing the running on Saturday. Chelf may have struggled passing (71 yards), but he had plenty of running room, finishing with 86 yards on nine carries. The OSU offensive line was outstanding in the run game, which took pressure off of Chelf as ISU closed the gap before halftime. The same package of quarterback keepers worked for Richardson, too (11 carries, 64 yards).
5. Where’s Stewart?: It was a relatively quiet day for Josh Stewart after last week’s performance against TCU. Stewart finally got loose in the third quarter, scoring on a punt return, but it was called back on an illegal block by the Cowboys. In the passing game, the senior finished with just three receptions for 10 yards, which can be attributed more to Chelf’s struggles than anything. Fortunately, the Cowboys had a throwback day with their rushing attack.