Here are some quick observations after Oklahoma State’s 24-10 win against TCU on Saturday in Stillwater.
- Josh Stewart takes over: In the same game as potential first-round defensive back Jason Verrett of TCU, OSU’s Josh Stewart was the best player on the field. Scoreless in the first quarter, Stewart had no business fielding a punt at the OSU 5, but he changed the game with a 95-yard punt return touchdown that lifted the Cowboys’ sputtering attack. He had a highlight-reel reception on each side of halftime and finished with 265 all-purpose yards (141 receiving, 124 on returns).
- Defense, defense, defense: OSU’s defense was an all-orange crush. It needed to be with the Cowboys continuing to struggle on offense. The Cowboys’ “D” forced four turnovers to offset the four the offense committed. The OSU defense didn’t give up much to a TCU team that came in as one of the worst offenses in the Big 12.
- Special teams … again: Stewart was lethal on special teams, but the kicking game struggled again. Ben Grogan missed two field goals before halftime in what should have at least been a 23-0 halftime lead for the Cowboys.
- What to do about the running game: Rennie Childs showed some promise in the second half, so it remains to be seen what will happen to Jeremy Smith going forward. Smith came into the season as the lead back but has struggled and continued to on Saturday with just 14 yards on 12 carries and a lost fumble. Childs, meanwhile, had the highest per carry average of all the OSU backs (5.0) and scored his first career touchdown to give the Cowboys some cushion in the fourth quarter.
- Quarterback quandries: There were more quarterbacks used in the game (four) than touchdowns thrown (zero). Both teams’ offensive woes led to quarterback changes before halftime. TCU pulled Trevone Boykin for Tyler Matthews in the second quarter and OSU yanked Walsh for Chelf in the same period. The changes didn’t help either team much, as each quarterback who played had at least one turnover. Matthews fumbled his first snap for a turnover and Chelf threw a pick on his first pass attempt. After his interception, Chelf had glimpses of attacking the TCU defense, but was erratic. The QB questions will continue in Stillwater.