For the fifth time in the last seven years, Oklahoma State finished the season with 10 wins after a 38-8 victory over Colorado. For only the third time in school history, the Cowboys have back-to-back 10-win seasons, two of those coming under Mike Gundy’s tenure. Oklahoma State entered the game as a three-point underdog, but it was clear from the beginning that the Cowboys were the better team. After a tough Bedlam loss, this is exactly how the Cowboys wanted to finish the season, and now they can start looking forward to what should be an exciting opportunity next year.
Rudolph, Washington End Season On High Note
Coming off what was arguably his worst game of the season, Mason Rudolph played absolutely lights out tonight, and a big part of that was due to his ability to find his favorite receiver James Washington over and over again. There is no doubt that the fact that the two announced they would be returning for next season added to their excitement to play this game.
Mason Rudolph finished the game with 314 yards and 3 touchdowns on 22/32 passing. His impressive performance allowed him to eclipse 4,000 passing yards on the season, making him only the second Cowboy to do it, the other being Brandon Weeden, who did it twice. He also finishes the season in second place ahead of Mike Gundy for career passing yards at Oklahoma State with 8,714. On top of his impressive passing performance, Rudolph ran a double-pass trick play with running back Chris Carson in which Rudolph tossed the ball to Carson who quickly threw it back to Rudolph who ran for a 24-yard gain.
James Washington had one of his best games of the season by hauling in 171 yards and a touchdown on 9 receptions. Unfortunately, he had to exit the game early after he appeared to dislocate a finger in his right hand in the middle of the 3rd quarter, but not before putting together some impressive highlights.
Cowboy Defense Stifles Buffaloes
Colorado came into the game touting a well-rounded offense that was averaging 32.8 points a game, but that did not stop Oklahoma State from putting on an impressive performance. Oklahoma State held the Buffaloes to 318 yards of total offense, which included 256 passing yards and a mere 62 rushing yards.
For only the second time all season, the Buffaloes were held scoreless in the first half of the game, the other time coming against the Trojans of USC. Colorado was unable to find the end zone until the 4th quarter, and that would be the only time they ended up there.
Oklahoma State was extremely proficient this season at forcing turnovers, and while the Cowboys were able to force three fumbles, they did not recover any of them. They did intercept Buffalo backup QB Steven Montez who had to step in for a few possessions while starting QB Sefo Liufau was getting his ankle checked out.
Oklahoma State’s defensive line spent a lot of time in the Buffalo backfield, making things extremely difficult for the Colorado offense. The Cowboy defense managed to rack up 9 tackles for loss, which included 3 sacks, and they held the Buffaloes to 6/16 on 3rd down and 1/3 on 4th down.
2017 Expectations Are High
With the announcement that Mason Rudolph and James Washington will return for their senior seasons followed by amazing bowl performances from both individuals comes a lot of talk about what can be expected for next season. The Cowboys have found a star in running back Justice Hill, and they will have one of the most talented receiving corps in the country. Oklahoma State will undoubtedly have one of the nation’s top offenses yet again, but perhaps the Cowboys will be able to find even more success than they were able to have this year.
It will be extremely challenging for Oklahoma State to be favored over Oklahoma as Big 12-favorite headed into next season, but the Cowboys will surely be in consideration as a pre-season favorite. Depending upon how things go in the offseason, the Cowboys could receive a favorable pre-season ranking and even find themselves in some early discussions as a potential playoff team.