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Mason Rudolph and No. 9 Oklahoma State rolls into Big 12 play putting up huge numbers

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A week after seeing their in-state rivals score a big win in the state of Ohio, No. 9 Oklahoma State (3-0) traveled north to the neighboring state of Pennsylvania to assert its dominance as an offensive machine in a 56-14 victory over Pittsburgh (1-2). The Cowboys had over 600 yards of offense in the victory and were nearly flawless in their offensive execution all day long.

Mason Rudolph continued to pad his stat sheet against a Pitt defense that was made of Swiss cheese. Rudolph passed for 497 yards and five touchdowns before getting a rest in the second half. Rudolph’s last pass of the day was actually an interception, but the Oklahoma State defense answered the call with a pick-six of Ben DiNucci just two plays later, with Justin Phillips returning a pass 10 yards for a score. Until the Rudolph interception, Oklahoma State had scored touchdowns on all seven of their possessions. The Cowboys were also excellent on third down, going a perfect nine-for-nine before failing on a third down in the second half.

Four different Oklahoma State wide receivers eclipsed the 100-yard mark, with Jalen McCleskey (162 yards, 3 TDs), James Washington (124 yards), Marcell Ateman (109 yards, 1 TD), and Dillon Stoner (100 yards, 1 TD) all getting in on the fun.

The 56 points allowed by the Panthers is the most allowed by a Pat Narduzzi team in his third year as head coach. The Panthers allowed 61 points to Syracuse last season. The Panthers did well in working the clock last week to slow down Penn State on the road until the Nittany Lions found the big plays n the second half, but Oklahoma State never allowed the Panthers to mimic that game plan with any success the entire game.

Oklahoma State now goes rolling right into Big 12 play for the rest of the season after wrapping up a 3-0 mark in nonconference games to start the year. Oklahoma State returns home for the first time since the season opener next week to host No. 20 TCU (playing SMU today). Oklahoma State dominated TCU last year in a 31-6 victory in mid-November.

Pittsburgh will hit the road to open up their ACC schedule next week against Georgia Tech in an ACC Coastal Division matchup. Georgia Tech will be rested after having their Week 3 game against UCF canceled due to Hurricane Irma. Pittsburgh clipped the Yellow Jackets, 37-34 last season.

Alamo Bowl blowout sees No. 12 Oklahoma State dominate No. 10 Colorado

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The Alamo Bowl saw a 31-point lead evaporate last season, but there would be no meltdown this year. No. 12 Oklahoma State (10-3) steamrolled No. 10 Colorado in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, 38-8.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph passed for 314 yards and three touchdowns and caught a 24-yard pass from Chris Carson, and James Washington was on the receiving end of 171 yards and one touchdown from Rudolph. For a good stretch, Washington equaled Colorado’s total offensive production in the game in the second half. Colorado was just unable to get anything going on offense, with an injury to Sefo Liufau keeping the Buffs QB out of the mix for a stretch. Colorado did manage to avoid a shutout with a fourth quarter touchdown and two-point conversion. Phillip Lindsay ran for a six-yard score and Liufau completed a pass to Lindsay for a two-point conversion. At that point, however, it was more about pride than anything else, because Oklahoma State had the game all but locked down.

Cowboys running back Justice Hill hit the century mark with a late 37-yard touchdown run up the middle of the Colorado defense. Oklahoma State ended the night with over 500 yards of offense and zero turnovers.

Oklahoma State held a 31-0 lead until 5:28 remaining in the fourth quarter, preventing the Cowboys from recording their first shutout victory over a ranked opponent since 1958. The last time Oklahoma State pitched a shutout in a postseason bowl game was in the 1944 Cotton Bowl, against TCU. Oklahoma State beat their future conference foes, 34-0.

Looking Ahead

Oklahoma State will have plenty of reason to feel confident about what they can do in the Big 12 next season with Mason Rudolph and James Washington saying they will be back for one more season in Stillwater. Barring any changes on that front, the Cowboys will have one of the most potent combos in the Big 12, which is really all you need sometimes in the conference, right? Oklahoma State and Oklahoma look to be situated well to be heavy preseason favorites in Big 12 play, and each could start the year in the top 10 of the preseason polls (which are even more meaningless than the bowl games). The 2017 season begins with a Group of Five team to watch in 2017, Tulsa. The Cowboys host Tulsa on Sept. 2, 2017 in Stillwater before playing back-to-back road games at South Alabama and Pittsburgh. Big 12 play opens with a home game against TCU on Sept. 23, 2017.

What will we make of Colorado? The Buffs have a hire to make at defensive coordinator (Bob Diaco would be a good addition), and Sefo Liufau will be moving on. The Buffs will certainly have a bit of a new look next season, but the big question is how much can this program rebound in the offseason after seeing an otherwise dream season end with the thud it did in postseason play (Pac-12 championship game and Alamo Bowl)? That is not easy to predict, but the bar has been raised for Colorado and there is a renewed sense of optimism for the program to utilize to its advantage. The 2017 season opens in Denver against Colorado State and two home games against Texas State and Northern Colorado. Getting into Pac-12 play with a winning record is certainly to be expected, and anything less than a 3-0 mark should be considered a disappointment. Colorado will also get home game sin conference play against both USC and Washington, which could be interesting if Colorado continues to improve rather than take too many steps back.

Colorado QB Sefo Liufau injured in first half of Alamo Bowl

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Oklahoma State leads Colorado 17-0 at halftime in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio. Digging out of s 17-0 deficit is certainly not unheard of today (see: Arkansas, Belk Bowl), but the Buffs from the Pac-12 may have to climb back without a healthy Sefo Liufau at quarterback. Liufau was knocked out of the game in the first half and had his ankle attended to on the sideline.

Oklahoma State took the game’s opening drive down for a field goal to get the scoring going. The Cowboys entered the end zone for the first time with a 10-yard touchdown run by Chris Carson, who had caught a 24-yard pass from Mason Rudolph on the previous play. Oklahoma State scored once more on their next offensive series after a quick three-and-out by Colorado on the ensuing possession. Rudolph connected on a five-yard touchdown to James Washington, who had dropped a deep pass right in his hands earlier in the half. Rudolph and Washington hooked up on a 42-yard pass on the drive to get things moving.

Oklahoma State did a solid job of forcing Liufau to stay slightly out of rhythm. Liufau, who was injured in the Pac-12 championship game against Washington, has completed six of 10 passes for just 53 yards. He was seen getting his ankle taped by trainers on the Colorado sideline as well, and freshman quarterback Steven Montez has taken over on offense in his absence.

Oklahoma State blocks three Texas PATs in defense-optional first half

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The early slate of games has been highlighted by blocked extra-point attempts. Three of them have come in Stillwater, Oklahoma with Oklahoma State doing the job against Texas. One of those blocked attempts was returned by Oklahoma State for two points. Oklahoma State holds the halftime edge with a 37-25 lead following a back-and-forth second quarter that saw four lead changes in the second quarter. Yep. That’s the halftime score.

Oklahoma State jumped out to a 14-0 lead on the Longhorns, with Justice Hill running for a 30-yard touchdown on the opening drive of the game and Mason Rudolph connecting for a 54-yard touchdown pass to James Washington. Texas would settle down though and come back in the first quarter with two straight possessions with touchdowns. Tyrone Swoopes capped a six-play, 84-yard drive with a short touchdown run. One play earlier, Shane Buechele completed a 49-yard pass to Dorian Leonard.

It looked as though Texas was about to tie things up on their next possession (after an Oklahoma State three-and-out) when D'Onta Foreman ran 22 yards for a score, but special teams would help Oklahoma State keep the lead. Tre Flowers wound up returning a blocked PAT attempt to the house off a lateral for two additional points for the Cowboys.

The Longhorns did take a lead in the second quarter with a Swoopes touchdown run inside the red zone, and the lead exchanged hands twice more before the end of the first half. Rudolph capped an 80-yard drive with a 10-yard touchdown run to regain the lead, 23-19, but Buchele launched a 42-yard pass to Beck for a 42-yard score on the ensuing possession. Four plays later on the ensuing possession, Oklahoma State was back on top with a Rudolph touchdown pass to Jalen McCleskey from 36 yards.

We could have a wild one in Stillwater in the second half.

Big 12 barn burner keeps No. 12 Oklahoma State in title mix

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Look out Baylor and TCU, because No. 12 Oklahoma State (8-0, 5-0 Big 12) might just have an offense that can keep pace and shock you. The Cowboys outlasted Texas Tech (5-4, 2-4 Big 12) in a wild shootout in Lubbock, leaving town with a 70-53 victory.

Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington had quite the monster performance, catching four passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns. With over 1,200 yard of offense between these two Big 12 programs, Washington was not alone in having a big game in the box score.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph had himself a 285-yard performance. Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes had 480 yards and four touchdowns, but two interceptions. The second interception came in the final minute of the game, with Oklahoma State’s Ramon Richards returning it 59 yards for a touchdown to pad the final score. Red Raider receiver Jakeem Grant had 179 receiving yards and 146 kick return yards, including a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown. Four different players attempted a pass for Oklahoma State, with J.W. Walsh, Austin Hays and Chris Carson each getting a chance to move the ball through the air.

Oklahoma State now prepares for a brutal backend to the Big 12 schedule with a home game against TCU next week. The Horned Frogs get a couple of extra days to prepare for the game after knocking off West Virginia on Thursday night. Following the home game against the Frogs, Oklahoma State visits Iowa State and then hosts Baylor and Oklahoma to close out the 2015 regular season. The Cowboys have a difficult road, but the path is still pretty clear to a Big 12 title if they can score some wild wins down the stretch.

Texas Tech’s final games are the polar opposite it would seem, at least compared to Oklahoma State’s schedule. The hardest games are likely behind for the Red Raiders. All that remains for Texas Tech are a road game at West Virginia, a home game with Kansas State and a season-ending road game in Austin against the Texas Longhorns. Texas Tech could be looking at a huge end to the season, even if a Big 12 title is out of reach.