There’s no denying the offensive fire power that exists on the offensive side of the ball for the Oklahoma State Cowboys. Headlined by running back Chuba Hubbard, the program is expected to compete for a Big 12 Championship in the current season. However, there are a few question marks that still exist with the most prevalent being the offensive line. Regardless, here are three offensive keys to success on Saturday as OSU hosts the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
Establish The Run Early & Often
Last year, the Golden Hurricane surrendered 4.48 yards per carry to opposing ball carriers. The number fell toward the middle of the pack on the national scene by ranking 84th in the country. Returning only three starters on the defensive side of the ball, there will be plenty of inexperienced talent on the field come Saturday.
On the other side of the equation, the Cowboys racked up 5.31 yards per carry which checked in at No. 13 nationally. Despite the concerns on the offensive line, Chuba Hubbard proved to possess an elite level of vision while rushing forward. Bursting through narrow holes and cutting through thin lanes, the running back tallied 6.38 yards per carry himself. Letting Hubbard do what Hubbard does will take pressure off the rest of the offense leading to a comfortable win over the weekend.
During the 2019 campaign, Tulsa managed to force two turnovers from quarterback Spencer Sanders in this pairing. The result was a closer game than many expected through the first 30 minutes of play. At that time, Sanders was a first year starter taking the field for the final non-conference game of the campaign. Although the signal caller was forced to the sideline later in the year after undergoing hand surgery, the additional experience should prove to be quite valuable. Confident in his abilities as a redshirt sophomore, limiting turnovers is crucial to success in the home opener.
In a condensed off-season, I have no doubt that Mike Gundy prepared his team to play contact football. Yet, game speed often proves to be quite different than a simple practice. As mentioned above, Oklahoma State is expected to compete for the title of Big 12 Championship this year. But that largely remains on staying healthy — something Sanders and Tylan Wallace failed to do late in the schedule. In the opening weekend of play for the program, the three headed monster of Hubbard, Sanders, and Wallace must play clean and stay available for this team.