There are two HUGE differences between this year's Cowboys and 2014's version.
1...the defense is drastically improved. The line might actually be better, which is quite a statement.
2...Mason Rudolph can avoid the rush, and manages to go through his progressions.
There are also two HUGE similarities.
1...the play calling, plus the actual play designs, are questionable at times.
2...the offensive line (and the cowboy backs, for that matter) can't run block and struggle sometimes in pass protection (so thank heavens for #2 above).
For those who didn't watch, OSU may not have scored a ton of points, but the stats show domination. As a team, OSU passed for 414 yards on 25-39 with 1 interception. Completions went to 12 different players, and accounted for 3 TD's. The running game amassed a respectable 164 yards on 35 carries for 4.7 ypc. The defense was expectedly stout, holding UCA under 100 yards rushing (2.4 ypc) and only 128 yards passing on 14-25. David Glidden had a career night with 145 yds receiving and 2 TD's on 4 catches. McCleskey would have had close to 100 and a TD had it not been for a holding penalty. JW Walsh made his usual appearances, and accounted for 1 TD through the air.
But if you watched the game, only the defense passed the eye test.
Granted, it only took the offense one series before they started throwing the ball downfield, but the score through 3 qtrs was only 20-8, and the running game had only 73 yards on 21 carries (3.5 ypc). If not for plays like these, it would have been worse...
How about #41 for UCA...he's awful. He could have jumped on Carson well before the goal line on this play, and on Glidden's TD he could have easily tackled him, only to bump him with a shoulder and watch him run in for the score.
Golden boy Rudolph struggled in the first half with timing and accuracy, and receivers dropped a couple. Combined with non-existent run blocking, Cowboy fans were staring at a 10-0 lead at the break. Victor Salako was responsible for two holding penalties, and the offensive line as a whole got whipped most of the night. The Cowboy backs need to go back to blocking class as Seaton and Jarwin both whiffed more than once on the edges. First and goal on the UCA 1 yd line turned into an ugly 4th and goal as OSU twice had to settle for Grogan FG's after good drives.
Speaking of our much maligned place kicker, he got back on track with a couple of chip shots, but had to gift us two blocked PAT's that wouldn't have cleared the back of the snapper's head regardless (I think the first one, which I'm pretty sure Grogan "topped," hit the snapper in the ass).
Of the 91 rushing yards in the 4th quarter, over half (48) came on the last drive that ended the game.
Mason Rudolph came out much better in the second half and finished with 401 yds on 23-35 with 2 TD's and 1 interception. His average of 11.5 ypa shows that the Cowboys were definitely throwing vertically, as well they should have, given what FCS Samford did to UCA last week. BTW, remember the score of that game?
Samford 45, UCA 16
Despite the struggles in the run game, combined with a concerted effort by the Bears to stop the run, OSU never used any misdirection until the first play of the last scoring drive in the 4th quarter (a reverse to Sheperd for 14 yards). They ran one jet sweep, and it was one of the worst designed plays ever.
Most jet sweeps are run as part of a misdirection type of play, meaning you are keeping the backside DE, LB's and DB's honest. The receiver is usually running away from the flow of the play. It's basically a reverse, except because it counts as a pass, it's safer. If the receiver drops it, it's just incomplete, not a fumble 10 yards behind the line.
Well not OSU's jet sweep. No, the one we pull out looked like this...
How about we look at this in slow motion...
Carson and Jarwin don't touch anyone, but it didn't matter because they ran the damn play right into the defense. At least they got the ball to right player in this situation, which is more than I can say for the fade that was thrown to Glidden in double coverage earlier in the game.
Robert Allen asked Mike Yurcich earlier this week about drastic improvement from the 1st to the 2nd week. Our esteemed OC said he didn't buy into that, all he wanted was for the team to improve each week. They should be playing their best ball in November.
Well, between the offensive line and the Cowboy backs we heard so much about, ya'll better rally the troops, because if they don't start playing better now your best in November won't mean shit, and Kansas will be the only guaranteed win left on the schedule.