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The Morning After: Final Thoughts on West Virginia

The Cowboys were simply the better team on Saturday.

NCAA Football: West Virginia at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Well that was a lot of fun.

The Oklahoma State Cowboys out-classed the West Virginia Mountaineers on Saturday. I’m not talking about class in the Baylor sense of the word ... I’m talking about X’s and O’s.

OSU fell behind 10-6 at one point, but it didn’t take long for OSU to come back and assert themselves in the game. OSU forced a Skyler Howard fumble inside West Virginia’s 10-yard-line, and the Pokes capitalized with a touchdown. They would never look back.

The Cowboys outscored the Mountaineers 31-10 after that turnover, and put their foot on the West Virginia offense’s proverbial throat. The defense forced three turnovers, all from the hands of Skyler Howard. Howard threw two interceptions (could’ve been three or four) and also had a fumble. The Cowboys held a West Virginia offense that typically averages 496 yards to 421 total yards.

Quite simply, the Cowboys looked like the better team, and they are the better team.

Let’s move on to some thoughts:

  • This is my favorite thing from yesterday. Without a doubt.
  • I feel like every Oklahoma State outlet has talked about it at some point this season, but how polarizing is Ramon Richards? The guy is infuriating on one play and simply brilliant on another. I can’t think of another player in the Mike Gundy era that embodies those characteristics of the last 11 years more than Ramon Richards.
  • Speaking of Ramon, you have to give credit where credit is due, and I’m going to do that. He showed up to play on Saturday. With a team in West Virginia who loves to attack the perimeter of the field, Richards had to be on his A-game. I thought he was. Sans the dropped interception, Richards held his own against a pretty impressive group of West Virginia receivers. The Mountaineers threw for only 212 yards, and Richards had a ton to do with that.
  • I wasn’t in love with the uniform combination as a whole, BUT THE HELMETS! “Please, sir, can I have some more?”
NCAA Football: West Virginia at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports
  • The offense, while being held to only 358 yards, was very good. There were some head-scratchers here and there, but they did exactly what they had to do against the best defense in the Big 12. Any time you put up 37 points in a Big 12 game, something is going right. From Yurcich’s game plan, all the way down to the offensive line, the Pokes did everything they needed to do to pull of the upset.
  • It didn’t take a TCU 2015 performance, or a Baylor 2013 performance for OSU to get another Top-10 win. They were just better. I’ve been waiting to see what this team is capable of, and I think we are beginning to scratch the surface. Can they lose to the Central Michigan’s of the world? Absolutely. Can they beat the Oklahoma’s of the world? You bet your bottom dollar they can. I’ve talked a lot about the upward trajectory that this program is on, and dominating a Top-10 team without flinching is just another example of that.
  • Mason Rudolph is elite. 26/36 for 273 yards and 4 total touchdowns. Straight fire. And this throw... are you kidding me? Somebody bring me some water.
  • Let’s talk about the Oklahoma State receivers. They were tremendous on Saturday. From Jalen McCleskey’s 11 catches, to James Washington’s 117 yards, on top of Chris Lacy’s two touchdowns, they have established themselves as the best group of receivers in the Big 12. And they are doing it without Marcell Ateman. Can you imagine what they would be with him?
  • Speaking of Chris Lacy, let’s give the man some props. Rasul Douglas is one of the best corners in the Big 12, and Lacy went toe-to-toe with him for 60 minutes yesterday. He only had three catches, but two of them were absolutely clutch. Lacy was just more physical. Even on this touchdown grab, Douglas has great coverage. It looks like you’re going to need a little more than that to slow down Lacy in the red zone, though.
  • Boone Pickens Stadium was rocking yesterday. I sat with some friends in the student section, and it was filled to the very end. It was a fantastic environment in Stillwater.
  • The running game isn’t great, but it is all that it needs to be. The Pokes ran for 85 yards on 31 carries, but they were able to effectively begin drives with the run early in the game, and it established the tempo of the offense for the rest of the day. 2.7 yards per carry is not good, but it was more than good enough yesterday.
  • Mega-kudos to Mike Gundy and Co. for putting together a masterful gameplan and crushing Dana’s hopes at a road win against his former boss. I don’t think he took it well.
  • OSU had to win that game. There’s no other way to put it. We can get disappointed about not winning by enough, not looking sharp against teams that they should destroy and all of the things in between. But when it comes down to it, I have no doubt that Mike Gundy can win the big game. Oklahoma State is alive and kicking in the Big 12, and they’re getting hotter each week. That’s important, too. Oklahoma has a one game lead in the conference, but their toughest games are in front of them. Look at their remaining schedule and tell me they go undefeated. I won’t believe you.

This OSU team can accomplish whatever it wants. Yesterday’s showing should prove that to you. It’s time to start believing in this team. Win in the Little Apple on Saturday, and it’s full speed ahead to a potential Big 12 de-facto championship against Oklahoma.

First things first, though.