Oklahoma State jumped out and impressed in Austin for the entire first quarter last Saturday. Mason Rudolph had more than 100 yards in the first and a touchdown pass that many thought was very impressing.
Here's that crazy Rudolph TD. pic.twitter.com/hl6ZfDhXoK— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguy) September 26, 2015
Then he goes and drops the ball on one of the uglier fumbles you'll ever see. Things go down hill and some fans, media and others are calling for J.W. Walsh to take over. Sure, Rudolph didn't play well, but there's a reason for that. He got hurt on the fumble play (allegedly), while trying to tackle someone hurting his hand, giving him a numb feeling, or what some may call a stinger. Not exactly fun or easy to play with.
Mike Gundy said QB Mason Rudolph had something happen to hand that had a "small little numbing effect."— Jake Trotter (@Jake_Trotter) September 28, 2015
Was that the only problem? Probably not. We've never seen Rudolph intimidated, but we've also never seen him play with such high expectations on the road. People were just happy to see him on the field for his first three games, sure the wins were great, but there were no real expectations. The team had lost five games in a row, just to have excitement for a football game was great for some.
This year, in his first conference road game of 2015, when he had 50/1 odds as a Heisman contender going into it with a chance to put OSU at 4-0 for the first time since the infamous 2011 season, all at the age of 20 in his seventh game as the starter. Who wouldn't be nervous?
This doesn't answer the question as to why Rudolph was substituted in and out for J.W. Walsh near the end of the game. No one has the answer as to why, but I believe it was because Gundy thought the defense could win. In this weeks press conference, he said as much. "We got to a certain point in the game where I wanted to win the game with defense," Gundy said. "And I can be wrong. But, those are the calls that I make. There was just a point in the game I felt really good about the defense."
Do I completely buy that? No, and neither should you. However, had Gundy or anyone else said they knew the offense wasn't going to do anything, so they put it on the shoulders of the strong defense, that's what you should have bought (had it been said). The offense wasn't moving after Rudolph got hurt. Not with J.W. Walsh, not with Tyler Cornelius, not with anyone on that sideline. Now the team stands at 4-0, and that's all that really matters.
That and Mason Rudolph is still QB1 and J.W. Walsh will still be QB2.