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Four Quarters: Sanders, offensive line, penalties and more

The four (five) things that really stuck out in Oklahoma State’s season-opening victory.

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NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Oregon State Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Let’s call this CRFF’s version of the Monday Morning Quarterback. After some time away from the game and the ability to look back, each week we’re going to examine the four things from the previous game that really stood out.

Quarter One: Spencer Sanders

The athleticism. The legs. The arm. The redshirt freshman we’ve all been hearing and talking about since before he stepped foot on campus finally made his debut and he didn’t disappoint.

19/24 for 203 yards and three touchdowns through the air, and another 109 yards on the ground, and moves like this.

Sanders looks like the present and the future for Oklahoma State, but let’s discuss a couple of things.

First, While Sanders impressed, he also showed that he is still a redshirt freshman. He had moments that made that started with concern and ended with relief. He avoided any interceptions, but that’s just because Oregon State’s defensive backfield isn’t any good. Oklahoma State was bailed out by pass-interference calls twice on balls that a more talented DB would have picked off. Well guess what folks, OSU is going to face more talented DBs than they did on Friday.

Also, dude, DON’T DO THIS AGAIN!!!

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The talent is obvious, but he’s got some learnin’ still to do.

Secondly, the Cornelius slander because of how Sanders looked is stupid. Yes, a lot of what Sanders did on the field on Friday night was about his talent and athleticism. But if you think the time he spent sitting for a year didn’t help him, you’re crazy.

Sanders and Wallace already look to have a very natural connection. Think that’s not better because he waited?

Maybe he would have looked this good as a true freshman. Maybe they should have run him out during the season to see how he looked. But the idea that he’s not better today than he would have been at any point last season is just silly to me.

Let’s not end this on a low note. Sanders was a spectacle to see and if he keeps completing throws like this, oh my.

Second Quarter: The Dickey Effect

The first thing I wrote about Oklahoma State’s offense of Friday was this;

Chuba is AMAZING.

And while he is fantastic — and might be better than Justice Hill — some credit is due to the offensive line.

They were opening up running lanes all over the field, getting down field to throw blocks (loved this one from Teven Jenkins), and not only keeping Spencer Sanders upright, but giving him time to throw. I know Oregon State’s defensive line isn’t awesome, but the Cowboy O-Line gave up just one sack, one quarterback hurry.

While I’m no offensive line expert (I’ll leave that to Adam Lunt), but Jenkins and Bray really stood out. Charlie Dickey hasn’t been with the team for a full calendar cycle, but if game one is any indication, Oklahoma State may finally have an end to the subpar offensive line play that has plagued the team for the last six years.

Quarter Three: The Defense is Bad(?)

I think all Oklahoma State fans let out a collective groan after Oregon State’s first offensive drive of the game. A six-play, 70-yard TD drive where the Cowboys’ defensive line was absolutely dominated by the Oregon State o-line. It was embarrassing to watch and concerning to see. Then linebackers weren’t much better.

But, after that first quarter, they settled down. They filled more of the holes, the stopped more long runs. They knocked down multiple passes — I think I saw two by my new favorite player Trace Ford — they got a sack and had eight quarterback hurries.

In the second and third quarters, when the defense was clicking, they held Oregon State to 191 yards and 13 points in six 1/2 drives. That’s compared to the first and fourth quarters where the Beavers had 262 yards and 23 points in four 1/2 drives. Plus, during the final scoring drive, the back-ups were in on defense.

I realize that’s nitpicking and over analyzing. The defense still isn’t there, and Oklahoma State is going to face more talented offenses moving forward. There is some cause for concern, because the secondary, which we all thought would be great, wasn’t super impressive either.

But, I’m going to give this defense, with all its new starting linemen, a little more time to gel before I set off any real alarm bells.

Quarter Four: Cleaning Things Up

The biggest offseason focus for the Cowboys was discipline. Specifically, reducing the number of penalties, something that absolutely wrecked Oklahoma State last season.

Against Oregon State, the Cowboys had six penalties for 55 yards. Considering two of those came on the Beavers’ last offensive drive of the game and were committed by a true-freshman and a redshirt freshman.

Your others were two offensive holding calls (one on Johnny Wilson), a false start on Teven Jenkins, and an illegal block on special teams.

They are all fixable penalties. No late hits, no targeting, no one playing recklessly. That’s huge. If OSU can keep the penalties down, it should show up in the win column.

Overtime: The Other Options

There are so many other things we can talk about, but there’s one in particular I’d like to; the receivers not named Tylan Wallace.

When they announced the addition of Jordan McCray, it seemed strange. Of all the positions of need, wide receiver didn’t seem like one. But Coach Dunn made the right move and all the preseason hype surrounding McCray was accrit. His two catches were gems and feels like it might end up being the pick-up of the offseason for OSU.

Also, at Big 12 Media Days, Mike Gundy talked about how they knew Tylan Wallace could be special as a freshman because every time they saw him on the field he did something to “wow” them, even in his limited opportunities. Well, let me introduce you to redshirt freshman CJ Moore who is backing up McCray. His 11-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter impressed me. No, it didn’t “wow” me, but it was enough to make me keep an eye on him moving forward.