Coming into week 12, the Oklahoma State Cowboys were underdogs against the TCU Horned Frogs. The Cowboys came in with a record of 8-2 (6-1 Big 12), whereas the Frogs were 5-4 (3-3 Big 12). TCU’s last game resulted in a 62-22 beat down of the Baylor Bears. Oklahoma State came away with a 45-44 victory over Texas Tech in week 11. To keep their Big 12 title hopes alive, Oklahoma State needed to win. Now let’s take a look at a game recap and Oklahoma State’s week 12 takeaways after their victory against TCU.
Considering this game was expected to be a high-scoring affair, the first quarter ended with a lowly 13 total points on the scoreboard. The only first half scores for the Cowboys came from a three yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mason Rudolph to Chris Lacy, and a Ben Grogan 27 yard field goal. TCU’s only first half touchdown came from a four yard touchdown pass from Kenny Hill to KaVontae Turpin. However, the Horned Frogs were held off the board in the second half, while giving up 21 points to Oklahoma State. The Cowboys pulled out a 31-6 victory behind huge games from running backs Justice Hill and Chris Carson.
Oklahoma State’s Week 12 Takeaways
Defense Catching Fire at the Right Time
The six points that the Cowboys allowed to TCU is the lowest total they have allowed all season. Furthermore, they held TCU to 343 total yards, compared to 541 put up by the Cowboys. No matter what the Frogs did the Cowboys defense seemed to have an answer. The Cowboys secondary came up with two interceptions to win the turnover battle. And defensive tackle Vincent Taylor led a solid effort from the Pokes front seven, including a blocked extra point. Safety Jordan Sterns once again led the Cowboys in tackles with nine, including one tackle for loss.
Heading into their Bedlam game against the Oklahoma Sooners, the Oklahoma State defense is getting hot at the perfect time. The Cowboy defense will need a similar effort to hold Baker Mayfield, Dede Westbrook, and the high-powered Sooners offense in check.
Rudolph Still Struggles on the Road
Rudolph uncharacteristically struggle to consistently find some of his best weapons at receiver. James Washington and Jalen McCleskey combined for 53 yards on nine receptions, their lowest combined total of the season. Luckily, the Cowboys did not need the same heroics from Rudolph that they have required in previous weeks. Rudolph posted his lowest completion percentage of any game with 17 completions on 34 attempts. He also put up 207 yards passing and three total touchdowns. Yet, most importantly, Rudolph did not turn the ball over. Winning the turnover battle has been key for the Cowboys success in 2016.
Chris Carson is the Cowboys Most Improved Player
With 334 yards rushing, the Cowboys put up their highest total since 2013. Running backs Carson and Hill combined for exactly 300 yards rushing. Hill had 154 yards on 16 carries, and Carson had 146 yards and a touchdown on 17 carries. Since returning from injury Carson is averaging more than seven yards per carry with seven total touchdowns in five games. That is three more touchdowns than he had for all of 2015. According to Kyle Fredrickson of The Oklahoman, Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy said that Carson could be in an NFL camp now.
Gundy on Chris Carson: "He's gonna be in an NFL camp now in my opinion."
— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) November 19, 2016
The Cowboys running game has really been coming alive of late behind Hill and Carson.
Oklahoma State travels to Norman on December 3 at 11:30 a.m. CT, to take on the Oklahoma Sooners. Bedlam has turned into a de facto Big 12 title game as the winner will take the conference championship and a possible College Football Playoff spot.