I started this series two weeks ago after a shocking home loss to Texas Tech. I wasn’t able to watch the game at Kansas and thus Six Things We Learned (apologies for the late installment) was put on hold until this week where I’ll write all the words on yet another shocking home loss. We’ll start with three positive things followed by three negatives / things to fix.
Positive One— We’re Halfway Through The Regular Season
(Cries internally,) yes this is a positive. It’s been a long season and the Pokes have only played six games, including three “gimmes.” Take out wins against Missouri State, South Alabama and Kansas and the Pokes are essentially 1-2 this season. For the record, Kansas is the highest ranked team other than Boise State that OSU has beat this season, clocking in at (checks notes) 105th in the nation according to Athlon Sports. That same poll has Oklahoma State ranked 38th and Boise State 39th. Note that this is different from the AP Poll.
The season has already lost most of its gleam amid losing two games at home as double digit favorites, Gundy media antics and roster decisions and more. I don’t know about how everyone else feels, but Gundy seems determined to not play Spencer Sanders or Dru Brown which leaves me looking forward to next year. Not that Corn Dog doesn’t deserve the job, but at this point in time OSU isn’t playing for anything other than getting to a bowl game. Might as well see what the youngins’ can do.
The most demoralizing thing for Oklahoma State fans, you can't even call this a rebuilding year. You're not building anything with a 5th year senior walk-on quarterback. You're simply losing and wasting a season.— Bryan Keating (@KOCOKeating) October 6, 2018
Positive Two— OSU Has Some Serious Talent At Wide Receiver
This one seems blatantly obvious but here is the point: The Pokes graduated James Washington, Marcell Ateman and Chris Lacy and lost Jalen McClesky to transfer. I don’t know the exact numbers, but it feels like those guys made up more than 80 percent of production at that position over the last two seasons. So naturally OSU throws out Tylan Wallace, Tyron Johnson, Dillion Stoner and Landon Wolf.
Wolf is a walk-on and finished with six catches for 63 yards and a score last week. And he might be the last option among all of those guys. Tylan Wallace fell 18 yards short of his fifth 100-yard game of the season. Swaggy T caught four for 79 yards and a score. Oklahoma State hasn’t even played highly touted four-star receiver CJ Moore yet. The Cowboys are fairly loaded at receiver just about every year and the prospect of a mobile four-star gunslinger getting those guys the ball for the next three-to-four years is exciting.
Positive Three— Some Of The Young Guys Played Really Well
The young guys playing well is very very important. I love that Gundy has thrown several freshman into the fire early this year. There are a handful of guys that you could say are the future of this team that have played really well this year, several of whom put up good numbers against the Cyclones on Saturday. Here are some of the top performances from the freshmen and sophomores.
For the offense, Tylan Wallace continued an impressive pace with five catches for 82 yards and a touchdown. We’ll overlook that drop late in the fourth that OSU could’ve taken the lead on had he caught it. He’s still just a sophomore and is only getting better. I already talked about Landon Wolf’s impressive day above and Chuba Hubbard only ran the ball twice, but gained 22 yards on those two carries. He also finished with 102 yards on four kick returns.
On the defensive side of the ball, true freshman Kolby Peel finished with a team high seven tackles. Sophomores Rodarius Williams and Malcolm Rodriguez were right behind him with six tackles each and Williams came away an impressive interception as well. That INT was a huge momentum swing at the time, but the offense proceeded to go out and fumble the ball away as an unblocked defender blindsided Taylor Cornelius (more on the offensive line below).
Negative One— The Offensive Line
The offensive line was... really bad last weekend. Taylor Cornelius had a fairly good game but he had to run for his life the whole time. Iowa State finished with more sacks in this game than they had for the whole season (four games) coming in. The Cyclones had seven sacks and 16 (sixxxteeeeen!!!) tackles for loss. Justice Hill finished with his lowest rush yards-per-carry in a game since his freshman year at 2.75. The line hasn’t been great this year but they certainly hadn’t been this bad all season. This group will have to improve for OSU to have any kind of success.
Negative Two— Spencer Sanders And Dru Brown Aren’t Playing
This one, like I said above, has nothing to do with Corn Dog’s performance. I think Corn has been perfectly fine— doesn’t really do anything special but you can get by with him at quarterback. The problem is (stated in the tweet embedded above) is the two other guys aren’t getting any run. When you’ve lost to Texas Tech and Iowa State at home as double digit favorites and you face the murderers row of the Big 12 in the last four weeks, you’re really just playing for a bowl berth.
If Oklahoma State was undefeated at this point, or even had just the one loss, things would be different. But it is hard at this point to imagine this team losing less than five games. At this point I don’t see why you wouldn’t get the younger guys some valuable game reps.
Negative Three— Gundy Seems Stuck In His Ways
Outside of upping Justice Hill’s usage in recent weeks, not much has changed to improve on a couple of embarrassing outings for the Pokes. The entire program gives off an uninspired feel. Last year when Mike Boynton’s hoops squad would drop a game that it shouldn’t have lost (to Kansas State, injured TCU, etc.) it didn’t feel like this. They always bounced back.
That situation is a little different, but the team often played inspired basketball, leading to huge upsets. Gundy’s football squad doesn’t play like that. He has let sloppy special teams mistakes go on for far too long. His teams are notorious for playing up to better competition and down to lesser competition.
Apologies again for the late installment of Six Things We Learned. Rehashing last weeks frustrations on Thursday isn’t ideal but sometimes being a college student gets in the way unfortunately. Time to look ahead to Kansas State.