We’re nine days away from the start of the 2018 season. During Gundy’s 13 years at the helm of the the Oklahoma State program, the football program has enjoyed one of their most successful periods in school history. With that comes a number of positive stats and numbers that seem worth highlighting ahead of the season opener.
There’s a reason we all know the Oklahoma State team as the Cardiac Cowboys; close-games that often come down to the wire. Luckily for Cowboy fans, the Cowboys more often than not come out on the winning side.
In the last five years, Oklahoma State’s record in one-score games is 15-3* (16-2 if you count Central Michigan in 2016). That’s a better win-percentage than teams like Alabama, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Clemson.
Yes, it would be nice to enjoy more 14+ point victories, but I’ll take the “W” over the “L” any day of the week, no matter how they come. Though, my cardiologist might not agree.
We might as well call the Cowboys “Road Warriors.” Since the beginning of the College Football Playoff in the 2014-15 season, the Cowboys have racked up 16 road victories, tied for the fourth most in FBS.
Overall, the Cowboys are 16-5 on the road in that time period. Combine that road record, with their ability to win close games, it’s no surprise they’ve been so successful the past three seasons.
Speaking of stats since the College Football Playoff started, OSU has the fifth most 20+ point wins in FBS with 23.
It’s a weird contrast to OSU high number of close games, but also speaks to the Cowboys’ offense. You know most of these wins weren’t 20-0, they were more likely 45-24 victories.
After a record 9-game winning streak over Texas Tech, Oklahoma State has the opportunity to reach winning record a in the series with the Red Raiders for the first time. As of now, OSU is tied 21-21-3 with Tech, the closest they’ve been to getting over the hump since 1945 when the series was tied 4-4.
*in 30-For-30 voice
What if I told you..
...that after Mike Gundy’s first season, the Cowboys overall record was 476-500-47. That’s 24 games under .500. Today though, the Cowboys are 40-games over .500 with a winning percentage of 51.7%. It would take more than three straight win-less seasons for the Cowboys to return to a losing record.
If you want to know why OSU’s non-conference schedule for 2018 has been considered by many to be the worst in the Big 12 this year, here’s all you really need to know; 18-19. That’s the combined 2017 records of OSU’s three opponents.
That’s 3-8 for an FCS opponent and 4-8 for a South Alabama team who will have a new coaching staff this season (albeit a potentially good one).
Yeah, Boise State is going to be a solid test, and probably the best OSU will face in the first half of the season, but you can’t just hang your hat on that.
When Oklahoma State’s season hits week three, it will have more to celebrate than just a likely 2-0 record. It will be quarterback Taylor Cornelius’ birthday.
The man under center will turn 23 in September. With age comes wisdom and experience. 23 years old and four years in a program isn’t something to balk at.
His two back-ups are both younger and far less experienced in Oklahoma State’s system.
Maybe Cornelius isn’t the most talented, or the strongest arm, or the most exciting of the Cowboys’ options. But he’s got experience and age on his side, something none of the other QBs on the roster can boast. It’s no surprise Mike and Mike feel comfortable handing him the keys to the kingdom.
This will most likely be Justice Hill’s final season in an OSU jersey. But after three seasons in Stillwater, he could end up as one of the five best running backs in school history.
After just two seasons at Oklahoma State, Justice Hill sits with 2,609 career rushing yards. While he currently sits just outside OSU’s top-10 career rushing leaders, this season could bolt him all the way up into the Top-5.
If Hill merely repeats his 1,467 yard sophomore season this year, he’ll end up 4,076 career rushing yards. That’s enough for him to finish 5th all-time and just five-yards behind Kendall Hunter. With 1,473 yards this year, he’ll finish fourth.
There’s been a lot of talk about the new defense and the benefits it will have for the team. The style of play will, in theory, give the offense more possessions because it’s designed to either stop defenses quickly or, more often than the bend-don’t-break, give up quick scores, thus giving the ball back to the offense
Last year, Oklahoma State’s offense was on the field for the same number of possessions as the defense; 179.
Time of possession however, was weighted on the defensive side of the ball. The defense spent 6:54:33 of game clock on the field, as opposed to the offense which spent 6:05:27.
Yes, that’s only a difference of 49:06, which may not seem like a lot of time, but think about if this defense does what it’s supposed to do and gets the ball into the hands of a high powered offense like OSU’s more often?
What if OSU had three more offensive possession this season, and the defense was on the field less? You think OSU wouldn’t have nabbed a couple more wins the past few years?
It’s not perfect science, but in theory, it only makes me more excited to see this what Jim Knowles has cookin in Stillwater.
No. 14 - The Changing of the Guard at OSU with No. 14 Taylor Cornelius
No. 13 - Ranking Gundy’s 13 Season Openers
No. 12 - The 12 toughtest players OSU will face from the 12 teams they’ll play this season
No. 11 - Let’s talk #11 Zac Robinson
No. 10 - Why OSU will and won’t reach 10 wins