A fast start was followed by undoubtedly the roughest quarter of the year on Saturday. Oklahoma State was able to tighten things up in the second half to outlast Tulsa 40-21. There were plenty of things to takeaway from the Turnpike Classic, and we’ll focus on the three best things from Saturday’s contest.
Three Stars — Chuba Hubbard
Chuba was the talk of the town after a career record 221 rushing yards against Oregon State. Fast forward to week two and it was Tylan Wallace’s turn to steal the show as McNeese held Hubbard to just 44 yards on eight attempts.
Week three put the spotlight back on Chuba, as the Canadian topped his week one career-best mark for rushing yards with 256. Hubbard leads the NCAA through three weeks of play with 521 total rushing yards. That’s 66 more yards than any other back in the nation, and only three other players have topped 400. Chuba stands alone as the only 500-yard rusher so far this season.
In a game where Tulsa would literally rather tackle Tylan Wallace with the ball in the air than let him catch it, Chuba showed up in a big way. His 256 yards came on 32 carries, good for 8.0 yards-per-carry, consistent with his season average of 7.9 YPC. He also produced three touchdowns in the win, bringing his season total to seven. His seven rushing touchdowns is tied for first in the nation. Also, there’s this incredible stat.
#okstate In his last seven games, Chuba Hubbard has run for 947 yards and 12 TDs. If that 135-yard average were sustained over a 13-game season, it would result in 1,755 yards. That figure has been achieved only by Barry Sanders, Terry Miller, Ernest Anderson and Thurman Thomas.— Bill Haisten (@billhaisten) September 15, 2019
Chuba deserves all three of these stars, and it should be interesting to see how Texas chooses to defend him and Wallace next week. So far, teams have been able to (sort of) limit one or the other, but not both. Oklahoma State may need big games from both to beat the Longhorns in Austin.
He’s got a great feel for the game. It’s a lot of fun to see Chuba wait for the hole to open, and then attack like he does here. His patience is just as important in his running ability as his speed is.
Chuba Hubbard’s speed and short area burst are money y’all pic.twitter.com/pEql9GhQQx— Nick Farabaugh (@FarabaughFB) September 14, 2019
Two Stars — Charlie Dickey (And the Offensive Line)
A position group that has been hard to watch at times over the last few years has turned into perhaps one of the bigger strengths for Oklahoma State in 2019. Most of the stats I mentioned above — Chuba leading the nation is rushing yards and touchdowns specifically — are partly due to the offensive line.
In addition to Chuba leading the nation in those categories; copy-and-paste for Tylan. The Bilitnikoff runner-up leads the nation in receiving yards with 390 and touchdowns with is tied for first in touchdowns with six. That wouldn’t be possible if they offensive line doesn’t give Tylan time to get down field for Spencer Sanders to get him the ball.
As far as the offensive line postion goes, it’s usually the stats of other players that are more telling than the stats of the actual position group. One big telling stat for the collective position group is sacks allowed. Oklahoma State is tied for No. 12 nationally with just two sacks allowed in three games. Yes, the competition has been inferior to this point, but it’s encouraging nonetheless.
With a fourth-and-one and the game more or less on the line, they opened a nice hole for Chuba to put the game on ice. Tulsa had nearly the entire defense in the box and the line got the job done.
Chuba Hubbard with 33 yard TD dagger for Oklahoma State! pic.twitter.com/e8DHlWJUeV— #BOOMIN (@ftbeard_17) September 14, 2019
One Star — Second Half Defense
It wasn’t necessarily pretty, but they got the job done. Tulsa amassed 396 yards of offense with 171 of those coming in the second quarter. Doing a little bit of math, that means Tulsa had 225 for the rest of the game, which is an average of 75 yards-per-quarter.
Tulsa running back Shamari Brooks ran it 18 times for 91 yards in the first half and 11 carries for just 16 yards in the second half. Shutting Brooks down and forcing Tulsa to throw the ball proved to be key. The defensive adjustment made by the staff at halftime changed the game.
The Cowboy defense was able to hold Tulsa to 30 yards in the third quarter as the offense scored 13 points to gain some momentum. The defense still needs improvement, especially heading into Austin on Saturday, but they showed the ability to adjust and fix problems on the fly against Tulsa, which was an encouraging sign.