It could be argued that letters, not numbers, are what matters in football games. The only thing that really matters is who came out with the “W”. Saturday night, that was Oklahoma State. However, this game gave us a lot of numbers to digest. Some of those numbers are historic, some are encouraging and some are concerning. Let’s hand out our stars for this week and stay for some bonuses at the end.
Three Stars: The Defense
Stillwater’s favorite Canadian stole the show last night, but I’m trying as hard as possible to not pick Chuba Hubbard or Tylan Wallace for our three stars performance every week. Not to mention, I really believe the defense put up the performance of the year so far.
Kansas State may have the most bland offense in the wildly creative Big 12. But a new coach has brought about some change in Manhattan. The Wildcats had yet to play a truly tough opponent heading into Saturday’s game, but they had still scored at least 30 in every game: 49 against Nicholls, 52 against Bowling Green and 31 playing in a unique (Cowbells!) environment at Mississippi State.
At halftime, K-State had one (1) first down. When the rain delay hit with 8:31 left in the second quarter, OSU was out-gaining the Wildcats 208-32. At one point in the third quarter, that margin reached 428-131. The defense played at a high level all night and the offense wasn’t fully able to capitalize on their greatness. Here’s a text I sent to my dad at one point in the fourth quarter.
“It’s 519-231 and it’s a 23-13 lead... ”
How a nearly 300-yard lead in terms of yards gained only equals a 10-point lead is, uh concerning. Obviously that’s no fault of the defense. The final total was 526-244 which is elite stuff. In a year where it looks like the rest of the league is pretty down, this is huge.
The consensus on Twitter post game was that this was the best defensive performance OSU has had since 2013. That predates my following of the Cowboys so I can’t testify to that, but it does speak to just how big last nights’ game was for the defense.
Hook it to my veins!
Kansas State has fallen back down to Earth. Credit Oklahoma State though. Came into the game 88th in rushing defense, and have completely stymied a team that was 7th in rushing and 9th in T.O.P.— Ethan Koch (@S_EthanKoch) September 29, 2019
Two Stars: Chuba Hubbard
I don’t know how much I really need to say here. Hubbard has sprinted into the Heisman conversation after his 296-yard night. Hubbard literally out-gained K-State by himself and by more than 50 yards!
Nationally, Hubbard is tied for first in touchdowns (10) with SMU’s Xavier Jones. That feat is far from his most impressive. Hubbard leads the nation in rushing yards by nearly a third of his total. With 938 yards, second place sits at 645 total. While Hubbard also leads the nation in carries, his yards-per-carry ranks second among the top 10 rushers and sixth among the top 20 rushers.
After struggling against Texas, the Canadian bounced back in a big way. K-State is most similar to Texas in play style as well: Known more for a good defense than great offense. There isn’t another team in the Big 12 like that. With his two toughest opponents in terms of rushing defense out of the way, I wouldn’t expect many other rushers to come close to his season total anytime soon.
Hubbard gained more yards on this play than K-State had in the first half.
Hubbard received a standing ovation when he exited the field late in the fourth quarter and chants of “Chuba! Chuba!” came down from the OSU student section. Let’s enjoy his last few games because he’ll be making millions in the NFL next season.
Mama, there goes that man. Chuba Hubbard runs for 296 yards on 25 carries and chants of “Chuba” rain down from the student section as he exits the field. pic.twitter.com/wXbWu68VY0— Michael Doutey (@mike_doutey) September 29, 2019
One Star: Tylan Wallace
Wallace racked up 145 yards on eight catches in the first half before K-State decided it would rather see Hubbard run to the sun and back.
Having Wallace and Hubbard in the same offense gives off the feel that OSU can compete in any game simply because they have the guns to keep up by scoring points. I know 23 points against K-State isn’t much, but that’s more on red zone offense than anything.
No team has yet to prove they can contain both, and until that happens, OSU will likely be competitive in every game it plays. That doesn’t mean they will win, but it’s hard to imagine the Pokes getting blown out with those two guys torching opposing defenses every week.
Bonus Star: Gundy Dancing
I’m sure everyone has seen it by now, but just in case you haven’t:
Oh, and one more bonus star: A win for Boone against a ranked team in the first game in BPS since his passing. Couldn’t ask for a much better way to honor his legacy than that.