The hangover from the emotion of the homecoming tragedy was bound to show up. Always does with stuff like this.
So when my son's favorite Saturday morning pancakes showed up in the snazzy new icy white helmets for the first quarter in Lubbock, I wasn't surprised. What also didn't surprise me was how Glenn Spencer and his troops clamped down (relatively speaking) on Tech's high flying antics enough to let the Cowboys get their own offensive wheels rolling.
What did surprise me, though, was the genius offensive switch OSU made in the middle of the 3rd quarter, going to an offensive scheme featuring Walsh at QB and Raymond Taylor as the feature back. Combined, Taylor and Carr had 6 carries in the 2nd half for 69 yards (8.6 ypc). Carson and Childs had 3 carries for 10 yards, and neither touched the ball after the 2nd series after halftime.
That may not sound like a lot of carries, but when you consider that OSU ran only 28 plays in the 3rd and 4th quarters, and three of those were kneel downs, then six carries becomes 1/4 of the meaningful action.
Some takeaways from this week's stress test...
- Rudolph needs to tuck it and run at least a couple more times a game, but not more than that. He has enough legs to have an impact, and it will keep the defense honest. Between zone reads and scrambles, just two more runs per game, that's all.
- Walsh doesn't need to pass it more. How they're using him right now is perfection.
- Raymond Taylor should be our starting RB. He's the only one we've seen this season with the ability to create yardage where there is none, and is definitely the only one that makes me pay attention each time he touches the ball.
- I told you all that living with the stress of McCleskey returning punts would eventually pay off. We MUST have that big play ability on special teams. Carr actually had a couple of decent looking returns on kickoffs.
- Somebody said there is no shame in using a glove. The Reindeer needs to embrace this.
- Was it just me, or did Ogbah's only sack look like he was unleashing all his pent up frustration at not being able to get to Mahomes on that one play? I honestly thought he was going to eat him.
- Jakeem Grant is scarier than Tyreek Hill.
- Speaking of Walsh passing, how about him launching it off his back foot on the bomb to Washington? He's got more in that tank that we give him credit for.
- For those of you who think this is Yurcich's offense to run with...it's now been publicly admitted (more than once, I should point out) that Gundy tells Legos how to call the game, and every play call goes through Gundy's headset (he gave his blessing to the bomb to Washington). If what we saw Saturday was Gundy allowing Yurcich to be his own man, then we need to let Dana Holgorsen have a few seconds with Gundy's headset. The game was called brilliantly, and I'll repeat...the move to Walsh in the 2nd half was genius. Mike Yurcich is a damn fine OC...there, I said it.
- The defense was very undisciplined in there pass rush. Mahomes is very mobile, and Ogbah/Bean constantly allowed themselves to be run upfield leaving huge gaps for Tech's QB to wonder through. Also, the three man rush needs to go to the same place as Gundy's headset. I don't care how uncomfortable you feel about the secondary, we need a four man pass rush. Oh, and stop blitzing so damn much. Don't need it. The occasional DB off the edge is plenty.
So here we are, right where many had predicted OSU would be with TCU headed to Stillwater, but by no means was this the path we thought the Cowboys would take to get here. Luck, clutch play, Grogan nailing game-winners, and Gundy giving Yurcich permission to use the entire playbook.
Now that we are here, let's take a look at the resumes of the contenders... (and I'm including OU in this)
- The Sooners are the only team to defeat any ranked opponents (2), although those teams were #17 Tennessee (now 4-4) and #23 West Virginia (now 3-4 and 0-4 in Big 12 play).
- OSU is the only team to defeat a non-conference opponent that currently has as winning record (Central Michigan, 5-3). All four have played and beaten Texas Tech in conference play, which is the only team outside of these four with a winning record. Hello backloaded schedule...
- Opponent's winning percentages?
Baylor has definitely looked the most dominant, having no close shaves on their list, although now they have to do it with a five star freshman QB. TCU had to work harder than expected to beat Kansas State, and of course the tip against Tech. We all know what OSU has had to do to get here undefeated, and OU needed to dig out of a hole against Tennessee, then shit themselves against Texas.
Here's the schedule starting this coming weekend:
- Nov 7...TCU at OSU
- Nov 14...OU at Baylor
- Nov 21...Baylor at OSU and TCU at OU
- Nov 27/28...Baylor at TCU and Bedlam in Stillwater