No. 15 Oklahoma St. takes Big 12 title hopes to TCU
When you can run that well, maybe you don’t need to hide.
Fresh off a 200-plus-yards rushing game from their third-string running back, the No. 15 Oklahoma State Cowboys (6-2, 5-2 Big 12) will take their Big 12 title hopes into Fort Worth, Texas, to meet the TCU Horned Frogs (4-4, 4-4) on Saturday.
In his first career start, Dezmon Jackson ran for 235 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries, and the Cowboys needed every bit of the offense in defeating visiting Texas Tech, 50-44.
Jackson’s opportunity developed because 2019 consensus All-American Chuba Hubbard (3,459 yards rushing in 33 career games) and LD Brown were out with injuries.
If Cowboys coach Mike Gundy was surprised with Jackson’s performance, he didn’t let on this week.
“We like his consistency, and honestly, some of what he showed us Saturday is what we saw on tape with him, that he was very durable and he had good vision and could get downhill and be aggressive,” Gundy said.
The continuity of the run game, paired with the outside threat of wide receiver Tylan Wallace, who finished with seven catches for 129 yards and a touchdown against Texas Tech, keeps the offense going.
Wallace, who amassed 1,491 yards receiving and 12 touchdowns in 13 games as a sophomore two years ago, added 903 more yards and eight scores last season before sustaining a torn ACL. In eight games this season, he has 46 catches for 780 yards.
Oklahoma State has produced star wide receivers like Dez Bryant and James Washington, and Gundy isn’t shy about how he rates Wallace.
“He’s up there with them,” Gundy said. “We’ve been lucky here. We’ve had four, five, six guys that are what I would call great college receivers, and he fits right there in that group.”
Oklahoma State is tied for second in the conference with Oklahoma, two games behind Iowa State.
The Horned Frogs aren’t chasing a title, but they have won three of their last four games, including a 59-23 rout of league cellar-dweller Kansas last weekend.
Most notable from the win, said coach Gary Patterson, was the power of the running game. Zach Evans, a freshman getting his first career start, carried 12 times for 100 yards, and TCU finished with 337 yards rushing. A redshirt freshman, Darwin Barlow, wasn’t far behind with 83 yards and a touchdown on eight carries.
The ground game was welcome on two fronts, Patterson said.
“Our whole thing was to run the football. That was what they were going to allow us to do,” the coach said, adding the second point, that “the whole theme was kind of, ‘How do you get the game over with as quick as you can?'”
With a shortage of experienced linemen, both on offense and defense, Patterson was eager to shorten the game as much as possible.
“It’s hard to think that you started with 85 scholarships and because of all different scenarios, you’re sitting between 33 and 40 players out,” Patterson said.
Both teams are allowing just under 150 yards rushing per game, while the Cowboys have been better against the pass, surrendering about 170 yards per game through the air compared to 202 for the Horned Frogs.
–Field Level Media