Justice Hill

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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.

Mason Rudolph passes for 423 yards, 5 TDS vs. Pitt… in first half

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A week after Pitt managed to work the clock well on the road against Penn State, the Panthers have simply been unable to duplicate the game plan against Oklahoma State. Mason Rudolph has already passed for 423 yards and five touchdowns as the Big 12 contenders are ripping and tearing their way to a road victory at Pittsburgh this afternoon. Oklahoma State took a 35-0 lead on the Panthers and lead 49-14.

Oklahoma State has scored a touchdown on each of their offensive possessions in the first half. Even when it looks as though Pitt’s defense might come up with a big play, the Cowboys shrug the threat aside. Few plays perhaps demonstrate that better than this 69-yard touchdown play by Oklahoma State, in which Rudolph gets himself out of pressure and remains patient until a man comes open.

Oklahoma State wide receivers Jalen McCleskey and Dillon Stoner have each put together 100-yard afternoons with three combined touchdowns. Running back Justice Hill has rushed for 91 yards and two more scores. Oklahoma State has a chance to score the most points against Pitt in the Pat Narduzzi tenure in western Pennsylvania. Syracuse scored 61 points on the Panthers in a bonkers of a game last year. Oklahoma State is just 12 points away from tying that mark.

The good news for Pitt? Oklahoma State is going to be sending in the second-team offense for the bulk of the second half.

Doak Walker Award watch list highlighted by 2016 semifinalists Barkley and Pettway

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A watch list of the top running backs in the nation has been released by the PwC SMU Athletic Forum on Thursday. The Doak Walker Award watch list is full of great players, including 2016 Doak Walker Award semifinalists Saquon Barkley (Penn State) and Kamryn Pettway (Auburn).

Among those included on this year’s initial Doak Walker Award watch list (more players can be added at any time) are LSU’s Derrius Guice, Georgia’s Nick Chubb and Sony Michel, LJ Scott of Michigan State, Mike Weber of Ohio State, and Bo Scarbrough of Alabama, Washington’s Myles Gaskin, and Western Michigan’s Jarvion Franklin.

D’Onta Foreman of Texas beat out both Barkley and Pettway last season for the award. The Doak Walker Award has been presented to the nation’s top running back annually since 1990. Among the winners over the years have included Ricky Williams, LaDainian Tomlinson, Reggie Bush, and Montee Ball.

To be included on this watch list, the university athletic department must submit a nomination.

2017 Doak Walker Award Watch List

Josh Adams, Notre Dame
Ryquell Armstead, Temple
Kalen Ballage, Arizona State
Saquon Barkley, Penn State
Alex Barnes, Kansas State
Jamauri Bogan, Western Michigan
D’Angelo Brewer, Tulsa
Nick Chubb, Georgia
Jordan Chunn, Troy
Justin Crawford, West Virginia
Damarea Crockett, Missouri
Rico Dowdle, South Carolina
D’Andre Ferby, WKU
Kendrick Foster, Illinois
Jarvion Franklin, Western Michigan
Myles Gaskin, Washington
James Gilbert, Ball State
Derrius Guice, LSU
Damien Harris, Alabama
Kyle Hicks, TCU
Justice Hill, Oklahoma State
Jon Hilliman, Boston College
Justin Jackson, Northwestern
Chris James, Wisconsin
Ty Johnson, Maryland
Ronald Jones II, USC
Ray Lawry, Old Dominion
Phillip Lindsay, Colorado
Tonny Lindsey Jr., Utah State
Bryce Love, Stanford
Sony Michel, Georgia
Dedrick Mills, Georgia Tech
David Montgomery, Iowa State
Jamal Morrow, Washington State
Ryan Nall, Oregon State
Jacques Patrick, Florida State
Kamryn Pettway, Auburn
Demario Richard, Arizona State
Diocemy Saint Juste, Hawaii
Bo Scarbrough, Alabama
Jordan Scarlett, Florida
LJ Scott, Michigan State
Bradrick Shaw, Wisconsin
Armand Shyne, Utah
Justin Silmon, Kansas State
Ito Smith, Southern Miss
Rodney Smith, Minnesota
Benny Snell Jr., Kentucky
Terry Swanson, Toledo
Shaq Vann, Eastern Michigan
Akrum Wadley, Iowa
Mark Walton, Miami
Warren Wand, Arkansas State
Tre Watson, California
Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt
Mike Weber, Ohio State
Braeden West, SMU
Devwah Whaley, Arkansas
Aeris Williams, Mississippi State
Shaun Wilson, Duke
Marquis Young, Massachusetts

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.

No. 11 Oklahoma State keeps Big 12 title hopes in sight with win at TCU

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For as much talk as there has been about Oklahoma and even West Virginia when it comes to the Big 12 championship race, it seems No. 11 Oklahoma State has been flying under the radar. That should not be the case after the Cowboys (9-2, 7-1) picked up yet another win in conference play to set themselves up for a chance to clinch the Big 12 title in two weeks. Oklahoma State’s 31-6 victory on the road against TCU (5-5, 304 Big 12) in Fort Worth also keeps Oklahoma state on the radar for a shot at the College Football Playoff.

Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph passed for 207 yards and a touchdown and picked up two rushing touchdowns, while two running backs (Chris Carson and Justice Hill) went for more than 100 yards on the ground to power the offense by TCU. The defense also frustrated TCU quarterback Kenny Hill with a pair of interceptions, and Hill was little more than a minor threat with his dual-abilities.

Yes, it’s true. The Cowboys do have a slight sliver of hope to reach the College Football Playoff. Considering both the MAC and Big 12 previously basically confirmed Oklahoma State’s loss to Central Michigan never should have happened, Oklahoma State could hope the selection committee gives them a pass for one blemish on their schedule. Oklahoma State may still need some help elsewhere to move up high enough in the next two weeks, but they should very much be in the discussion for the committee moving forward, if they knock off Oklahoma in two weeks.

That will be Oklahoma State’s next game. After a bye week next week, Oklahoma State travels to Norman to play the rival Sooners on December 3. Oklahoma State won the last time they visited Memorial Stadium, with a 38-35 thriller two seasons ago.

TCU still has two games to play, including a road game at Texas on Black Friday next week. TCU will have two games to try and meet the six-win minimum for bowl eligibility.