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Oklahoma State over K-State: The Most Impressive Win of the Season?

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Most of the time we just sit around the CRFF offices, drinking PBRs, giving each other legal advice (we have a surprisingly high number of ongoing lawsuits for some reason), and daring each other to write something that is kinda coherent. But every once in a while, a topic comes up that I actually want to write about, and if the good folks over at Sonic want to sponsor it... I won't stop them.

We have seen the trend all season. The week leading up to a game, Oklahoma State's opponent is built up by media, opposing fans, and in national perception as a team that will challenge the Cowboys, and very well beat them. Coming into the Washington State game the talk was about how improved the Cougs were, Tulsa was a prolific offense that we would not be able to stop, A&M was much improved, ULL was a good road test, K-State doesn't lose many at home, etc... then once the Pokes find a way to beat said team, the talk the following week shifts back to how OSU hasn't played anyone. It is mostly a product of pre-season expectations... that since the Cowboys were not projected to be contenders, then their wins must either be flukes, or their opposition is much worse than everyone assumed. I mean we are EIGHT games into the season and still seeing articles devaluing the K-State win, and what the Pokes have accomplished (I linked to these earlier in the week... so take that, straw man!). Well I wanted to quickly explain why I thought the K-State win should be viewed as impressive, and should serve as an indicator of future success.

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Let' switch to bullets:

  • Yes Justin Blackmon was out, but the losses in the receiving corps actually went much deeper, yet this offense still put up over 500 total yards and almost 300 passing. Few, if any, teams could dominate on the road like that with 3 of their top 4 WRs out of the game.
  • The performance proved that OSU is not a one, or even a two, dimensional team. Take away 3 great WRs, we will throw it to different guys; stack the box, we can still run it; the game turns out to be low scoring, then I guess the defense will go ahead and step up. On Saturday this team proved that it can do something very few Oklahoma State teams before it have been able to do, and that is be versatile. We seem to finally have a team that has the ability to find a way to win.
  • Get ready to see an even more explosive offense. The performances of Bo Bowling and Joseph Randle will not go unnoticed by DC's that are gameplanning for Oklahoma State. If you were Baylor's DC, would you be comfortable shading 2 or 3 guys to Blackmon after seeing what the other WRs did last week?... (minus the drops of course :)
  • The Oklahoma State defense found more depth, and put their stamp on a game. They made an offense that had just put up 42 the week before (against our next "dangerous now, terrible next week" opponent btw) look slow and ineffective. K-State could only manage 289 yards, and were forced into turnovers on 4 of their last 5 possessions. We have known all season that this Bill Young led defense has the talent and the leadership to be an elite unit, they have just been lacking depth and experience. Well with the recent emergence of more depth at the LB spot (thanks to Shawn Lewis and Tolu Moala), and the secondary improving every week (most noticeably Johnny Thomas), this unit is now capable of winning games for us if need be... and that is exactly what they did in Manhattan.

In all, this K-State game was a standout performance because it proved that the Pokes can win in a variety of ways, and showcased their new-found ability to adapt. If the rest of the Big XII was only concerned about the firepower of the O-State offense, now they have a whole new worry... this team has proved that they can win without it.