Saturday was another game where the Cardiac Cowboys were out in full force. It took some last game heroics to win in the tough environment that is Jack Trice Stadium. Justice Hill continues to prove he’s one of the best running backs in the nation, and he has really stolen the show the last couple of weeks. The defense, while it has struggled a lot the last couple of weeks, continues to get turnovers when it counts, giving the offense a chance.
Despite the overall success of the team this season, there has been a ton of criticism. A lot of that criticism has fallen on the quarterback, Mason Rudolph. At any incomplete pass, bad throw, or sack taken, people call for him to be benched or taken out. Then the minute he throws a pretty deep ball for a touchdown, everyone is back on the hype train. Saturday proved once again how lucky Oklahoma State is to have a quarterback like Mason Rudolph.
The bottom line, he’s still really, really good.
On Saturday, Rudolph methodically picked apart Iowa State, who have one of the better defenses in the Big 12. He went 25/31, 376 yards, and 3 touchdowns, including two in the final 5 minutes. For the most part, Oklahoma State did not push the ball down the field in this game. A lot of throws were in the short to intermediate, where Rudolph has struggled at times during his career. This was not the case on Saturday, he was on the money with nearly all his throws. Most of his incompletions were drops, so he was not forcing the ball or misfiring high or low to his receivers.
I was watching this game with my roommates, and on the second touchdown throw to Marcell Ateman, I about fell out of my chair. Rudolph just has this uncanny ability to put the ball where only his receiver is going to get it.
His pocket awareness was really good on Saturday too, he was able to improvise and make schoolyard throws outside the pocket, which is an improvement in his game as he has progressed as a player. His downfall at times is holding onto the ball for too long, but for the most part he was able to get the ball out on time to his receiver.
Shoot, on Saturday he was even throwing pancakes blocks.
MASON RUDOLPH SAID SIT DOWN pic.twitter.com/hVaBtOwZfm— Barstool OSU (@BarstoolOKST) November 11, 2017
When Rudolph has a clean pocket, he can absolutely pick you apart. Saturday was proof of that. Whatever injury he was alleged to have, there were no signs of lingering effects in Ames.
Against Iowa State on Saturday, Oklahoma State's offensive line kept QB Mason Rudolph clean from pressure on 26 of his 34 dropbacks, and he made the most of those attempts. pic.twitter.com/Ug5iPI0GY1— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) November 13, 2017
The video below shows every completion Rudolph made on Saturday, it’s about seven minutes long but completely worth the watch. On quick throws, he got the ball out on time. When the pocket collapsed, he escaped, improvised, and made the throw needed. He looked confident, his release was quick, and his mechanics were crisp.
Mason Rudolph is one of the best quarterbacks in school history. To me, he is #2 behind Brandon Weeden. He has been scrutinized for the majority of his career, sometimes rightfully so. But, there is no denying that Mason Rudolph is a fantastic quarterback that is going to go and have a career in the NFL. He turned in one of the top 3 games he has played in his career on Saturday, and that needs to be appreciated. We’ve had a good one in Stillwater for the past 3+ seasons, and next year will feel weird without #2 under center.