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.
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.
What looked like it could setup to be a bit of an offensive showcase has instead been a much more defensive battle than expected. Oklahoma State’s upset bid against No. 10 West Virginia is one half closer to completion, with the Cowboys taking a 20-10 lead on the visiting Mountaineers in Stillwater. A key turnover by West Virginia quarterback Skyler Howard led to a go-ahead score for Oklahoma State.
West Virginia and Oklahoma State exchanged field goals on the first two possessions of the game, and the Cowboys took a 6-3 lead on their second offensive series with a second field goal from Ben Grogan. West Virginia scored the first touchdown of the afternoon when Shelton Gibson stretched to bring in a 19-yard pass in the end zone from Howard.
Howard has generally been reliable for West Virginia, but he lost the football while being sacked by Vincent Taylor deep in his own end, giving Oklahoma State the football at the West Virginia eight-yard line. Two plays later, Mason Rudolph completed a pass to Chris Lacy for a 13-10 lead. Oklahoma State added to the lead on their next offensive possession, after West Virginia missed a field goal. The 15-play drive ended with Rudolph connecting with Jalen McCleskey for a short touchdown play, putting the home team up 20-10.
Oklahoma State (3-2, 101 Big 12) had the look of a Big 12 contender Saturday afternoon against No. 22 Texas (2-2, 0-1 Big 12). It also looked like Texas still has a long way to go to play up to the level Charlie Strong would prefer in Austin. Oklahoma State and Texas played a wild second half with four lead exchanges, but it was the Cowboys who took control of the Big 12 contest in the second half en route to a 49-31 victory.
Mason Rudolph passed for 392 yards and three touchdowns without an interception for Oklahoma State. Jalen McCleskey was on the receiving end for 109 of those yards and two of the touchdowns and Justice Hill led the Oklahoma State ground game with 137 yards and a touchdown. Barry Sanders Jr. also contributed a touchdown on the ground. As a team, Oklahoma State rolled up 557 yards of offense and converted seven of 15 third down plays against Texas. The Longhorns have looked shabby on defense this season, and this was just the latest example of how far off Strong’s defense is from where he would like to see it.
Oklahoma State’s defense gave up some big plays and yards as well. Texas actually out-gained Oklahoma State with 568 yards, including an astounding 329 on the ground. But the Longhorns had the one turnover of the game and could not find a way to stop Oklahoma State every time it looked as though Texas could seize momentum.
Texas running back D'Onta Foreman was forced to leave the game with an injury in the third quarter. He went down without contact after taking a handoff, clutching his right rib and going down voluntarily before being touched by an Oklahoma State defender. Before his awkward exit, Foreman had rushed for 146 yards and two touchdowns. Oklahoma State’s James Washington was also knocked out of the game following a big hit, but Gundy said after the game he expects Washington will be available next week.
This was Oklahoma State’s first home win against Texas since 1997. The Longhorns had won eight straight meetings in Stillwater. All but one of those wins had come by a double-digit margin. Oklahoma State will look to keep the good vibes going next week with another home game. This time, Iowa State comes to town after suffering a gut-wrenching loss at home this afternoon against Baylor. Iowa State blew a 14-point lead and lost on a game-winning field goal by the Bears.
It will not get easier next week for Texas as the Red River
Shootout Rivalry gets fired up in Cotton Bowl Stadium next week at the state fair in Dallas. Texas shocked Oklahoma last year, seemingly boosting Strong’s job security at least a little bit. Will he need some magic once again this season to defeat the Sooners?