It’s hard to believe that Oklahoma State is coming into the halfway point of the season. It’s been an eventful five weeks to say the least. Here are three things to keep an eye on as we head into a Week-6 matchup with Iowa State.
State of Rudolph
Mason Rudolph is halfway through his junior season. Now that’s hard to believe. Rudolph has always shown poise and definitely has the skill set to start on any team in the country.
Is he the best quarterback in the conference? Maybe, maybe not. But he can be the best in the country on any give Saturday.
They may sound like excuses but still bear repeating: Rudolph has been this good while he waits for his offensive line and running game to catch up. Hopefully for OSU fans, they will catch up in enough time to see how good he really can be.
He’s done this human battering ram impersonation a time or two too many for my liking and Mike Gundy’s, I’m sure. I love that he can make plays with his feet but every time I see one of these it makes me nervous.
The off-season questions about Rudolph have mostly been answered. It’s obvious that he’s the leader of this team and has been for some time. I always thought that was kind of a silly question.
He’s had issues with accuracy and some head-scratching fumbles but overall has been fantastic. He and the offense still need to be better in the red zone, which leads us to our next point...
Red Zone improvements
The Cowboys scored on all four of their trips to the red zone with two touchdowns and two field goals. But they are still ninth in the conference with an 80.77% scoring rate and ninth in touchdown rate with 57.69%.
As the running game continues to improve, you would hope the red zone numbers would as well.
Also, I’m now openly campaigning for Zac Veatch to get wild-cat touches on the goal-line. We’ll have to come up with a name for that... Maybe the “Veatch-Train” or “86 this tackle!”. Okay, so that will be a work in progress. Let me know if you have any suggestions. We’ll make up some t-shirts.
Another thing to note from the Texas win, no turnovers. That was huge. This team has made too much of a habit of giving the ball away. Hopefully this is a sign of improvement in that stead.
Can you “Gundy”? He can... and does.
As the clock hit zero, Mike Gundy prepared to cross midfield and gracefully shake the hand of second-year Central Michigan head coach Jon Bonamego. It’s a sign of respect that every coach takes part in with few exceptions. It’s automatic.
If I had to speculate, I’d say Mike Gundy’s mind was probably occupied by the mistakes his team made against the Chippewas, what he was going to do that night and probably looking forward to Pitt. Just when the sense of relief for being able to survive those mistakes was setting in, his attention was drawn to the officials on the field.
Whether he knew the rule or didn’t or thought he knew the rule, it doesn’t matter. The Cowboys were dealt their first loss of the season a lot earlier than most predicted and the majority of the blame falls on those officials.
So in the fourth quarter against Texas, when the officials seemingly did not heed to Gundy’s demand to have the clock reset after what appeared to be an incomplete pass which could have been called a late hit on Rudolph, frustration spilled over as the Oklahoma State head coach had to leave the sideline to call a timeout.
The man had had enough. A couple of losses that should not have been, followed by the perceived badgering of a super donor would frustrate anyone. I’m speculating as to Gundy’s state of mind here.
As Gundy chewed out the refs. something magical happened. The crowd got involved with even Mason Rudolph motioned to the stands to for the crowd to get louder. I’m not going to lie. I got chills.
Of course what happened in the locker room is always a welcomed sight if you’re an OSU fan.
Mike Gundy showed some emotion and his team and the fan base got behind him. I don’t want to make too much out of a little exchange with some refs, but I like a Mike Gundy who coaches mad.
This 3-2 team still has some flaws, but if they can improve in a couple of areas and continue to grow, I think we will see a much better team at the end of the season than at the beginning.