What a way to go out.
The Oklahoma State Cowboys absolutely dismantled the Colorado Buffaloes on Thursday night. It was the Pokes second top-10 win on the season.
We heard a ton about the Colorado secondary, which features three potential NFL draft picks. We were told Chidobe Awuzie and Tedric Thompson would put the clamps on the OSU passing game.
Nobody has done it yet this season, and Colorado would not be the first. Not on Thursday night.
The Big 12’s second-best passing offense showed out against an elite secondary. Mason Rudolph put up a stat line that perfectly embodies his career at Oklahoma State; incredibly effective and poised. He went 22/32 and threw for 314 yards and 3 touchdowns and then something we’ve become accustomed to with Rudolph; he threw zero interceptions.
Rudolph and James Washington paired up as a combo that proved to be the most deadly that Colorado would face all season. In two and a half quarters, he had nine catches for 171 yards and a touchdown (a dropped pass would’ve led to a walk-in touchdown). He left the game in the third quarter with an undisclosed hand injury, but as most noticed, it appeared to be a dislocation of his middle finger.
The offense didn’t steal the show, though. In fact, one could argue that the Oklahoma State defense put on their greatest performance of the season. They held Colorado to 318 total yards, and quite frankly, I’m blown away that it was even that much.
Oklahoma State held a primarily running-oriented offense to an incredibly low total of 62 yards. On average, the Buffaloes run for 190 yards per game, and they didn’t even sniff that.
The defense didn’t even have to do it in their normal way. Aside from one interception that came on a poorly-timed flea-flicker, the Cowboys didn’t turn the Buffs over. They had a chance, though, as they forced three fumbles. Colorado recovered all of them.
It was an incredible performance all around, and it should set the stage for what could be a run at a Big 12 title and more. With an offense that returns its key playmakers, and a team that just thumped the 10th-ranked team in the country, confidence should be overflowing in Stillwater until September.
Let’s get to some thoughts I had on the game:
Mason Rudolph is incredible, but you should’ve already known that.
Seriously. Rudolph might have just delivered his most complete performance of his career. I told Mark Rogers that Rudolph typically is not going to light up the stat columns, but you generally know what you’re going to get from him: 300 yards and 3 touchdowns.
Rudolph’s final stat line tonight: 22/32, 314 yards, 3 touchdowns.
He might not be the quarterback everybody wants (I know he’s not, because I see it in my Twitter mentions), but he is everything that Oklahoma State needs.
Justice Hill is a budding superstar.
He wasn’t exceptional tonight, but he was pretty darn good. He finished with 100 yards on 19 carries, but consistently kept the Colorado defense guessing.
It seems like he is constantly one shoestring tackle away from breaking a run, but the exciting thing about that is; he’s a true.freaking.freshman. Give him another year of Body By Glass, and we could be talking All American status.
I mean, just watch how good he is in the open field. He’s got breakaway speed, and tonight, he got the chance to show it off.
Vincent Taylor is totally going to the NFL.
I mean, it’s pretty obvious, isn’t it?
He had an incredible game. He had seven tackles, leading the team, and a sack. He was the physical force that he’s been all season, and he proved, at least to me, that he’s more than ready for the next level.
He had this to say after being awarded 2016 Alamo Bowl Defensive MVP:
Vincent Taylor on his senior season: "We shall see. I'm gonna talk to God about it, then talk to my parents about it. We'll go from there."— CRFF (@CowboysRFF) December 30, 2016
OSU’s new-found run defense gives me life.
We saw it against TCU. We saw it against OU (for three quarters). We saw it all night tonight.
OSU has dramatically improved at the point of attack. On multiple 3rd-and-short situations for Colorado, OSU had guys swarming the play. Holding Colorado to 62 yards rushing is salty. But it’s not an anomaly. They’re doing it consistently.
They bring back pretty much everyone next season, too. It should be awesome.
You can’t stop Oklahoma State’s offense. You can only hope to contain it.
OSU dissected Colorado in so many ways tonight. Rudolph2Washington was the main entree, but much like a Thanksgiving feast, the side dishes are where you find your groove.
Yes, Rudolph and Washington were on an extraordinary level tonight, and it happened against 3 NFL guys. But it wasn’t just them.
Once Washington started to get double-covered, Rudolph found McCleskey (4 catches, 50 yards) underneath. When they keyed on McCleskey, Rudolph found Jhajuan Seales (3 catches, 43 yards, 1 TD). If the pass wasn’t there, they gave it to Carson and Hill, who combined for 161 yards and two touchdowns.
This was a brilliantly-called game from the OSU coaching staff. They dove into their bag of tricks ad nauseam, and kept the Colorado defense guessing all night long. They manipulated a far above-average defense.
It also begs the question: If an elite secondary can’t stop OSU, then who can?
Look at what comes back next season... Every key cog in the offense comes back, and then you add Marcell Ateman and Tyron Johnson to that mix? The Oklahoma State offense may be as good as ever next season. It will carve up Big 12 secondaries.
Looking forward to 2017.
This was the perfect way to end the season. After starting the season 2-2, OSU rattled off an 8-1 finish. I don’t care what conference you’re playing in; that’s salty.
This team could’ve folded after getting royally screwed against Central Michigan.
They could’ve shelled up after getting bombarded against Baylor.
Instead, they rattled off seven straight wins and played for a Big 12 Title. No, that didn’t end up how we had hoped, but they got there.
And they even could’ve mailed it in for a lackluster bowl game. They didn’t do that either!
For the fourth time in six season, Oklahoma State won 10 games, and if you told me that they would do that after September 10th, I would’ve thought you were crazy.
The future is as bright as 2011 in Stillwater, and might be even brighter. If everything goes as planned, we could be celebrating an even larger win in a year. Hang on tight ... 2017 is going to rock.