Well after another week of football, the Big 12 just seems to be more and more unpredictable. Texas continues its freefall while Baylor continues to be at the top of the South. OSU only puts up 17 offensive points despite gaining over 500 yards. A&M pummels Tech while their "Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year" quarterback sat on the bench. Heading down the homestretch, there is still no clear favorite for the South and the three leaders (OU, OSU, and Baylor) all look at their toughest games still remaining. With all of that said, OSU did their part to stay in the hunt. And in true odd fashion, they did so with their most productive play coming from the least likely unit: Special Teams. Click the jump to see the recap from last Saturday's game.
If anyone wants to know how much Justin Blackmon means to this offense, all they had to do was watch the first half of last Saturday's game. OSU moved into K-State territory six times in a row and came up with zero points. Credit dropped passes and turnovers for that stat. Those are the instances where a team needs its number one go-to guy. The offense was productive all day but couldn't finish. As said before, 500 yards with only 17 offensive points. Some other odd occurences include mulitple dropped passes and a fumble by OSU's most sure handed receiver, Josh Cooper. Kendall Hunter had his first lost fumble of the year...in fact, he hadn't lost a fumble since the Colorado game last year. Weeden actually scrambled for a nine yard gain! This was truly Halloween weekend. Still, the offense did what they had to and continued their trend of dominating the second half.
The defense came out and played like they were pissed about how they performed against Nebraska. In doing so, they may have had their best game yet. Only 289 total offensive yards were allowed along with snagging three interceptions--one of which was taken back for a TD. If there is one criticism it was the amount of penalties the defense committed (10 for 100 yards was the team total). A lot of these penalties enabled KSU's offense to extend drives. In fact, six of KSU's first downs were gained because of an OSU penalty. That is ridiculous and needs to be fixed. The defense must play with better discipline especially in situations where unforced mistakes can cost them to stay on the field for another series. Other than penalties, the OSU defense played focused and with intensity. They rarely let running back Daniel Thomas run free and also put a consistent amount of pressure on quarterback Carson Coffman all game.
Cincy Joe owes us all some PBR (delicious!). Talk about stepping up when it matters most. Kansas State came into this game ranked as the best kickoff return unit in the nation. OSU came in ranked as the second worst kickoff coverage unit in the nation. However, on Saturday the stats didn't matter. OSU covered the kickoffs extremely well when they weren't downed for touchbacks. Even more impressive was OSU's punting game. On four separate occassions, Quinn Sharp's punts were downed within the KSU 10 yard line. Credit Johnny Thomas for catching a bouncing punt at the one, walking a tight rope to stay out of the endzone, and then throwing the ball back onto the two yard line before stepping into the endzone. And then of course you have to continue to give credit to Dan Bailey. Another perfect day from the man in orange shoes. Overall, the OSU special teams showed up in a big way against a team that everyone was sure was going to take advantage of the statistical mismatch. Hopefully this becomes a trend rather than a fluke.
Player of the Game
Johnny Thomas. I almost gave it to Quinn Sharp for his outstanding kicks but it was Thomas that helped Sharp in that area on one occassion by racing down the field and keeping a punt in play. Other than that, Johnny had a solid game on defense as well. 6 tackles, 2 passes broken up, a forced fumble, and an interception returned for a touchdown. It's pretty hard to argue with those numbers.