If you had Oklahoma State’s season opener against Tulsa turning into a defensive battle then you should probably apply for a job to work for ESPN. That’s exactly what happened at Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday though as injuries, poor offensive line play, and an overall sense of lethargy overcame the Cowboys for the better part of three quarters.
Tylan Wallace didn’t catch his first pass of the season until the third quarter and OSU didn’t produce a touchdown until the first play of the fourth quarter. That play, a 3-yard plunge by Chuba Hubbard, put the Cowboys up 10-7 and seemed to swing momentum back towards the Pokes.
Tulsa drove deep into OSU territory on the ensuing offensive possession but the Cowboy defense rose to the occasion by forcing a 26-yard field goal attempt that hooked left.
That was the theme of the game for Oklahoma State as they relied heavily on Jim Knowles’ defensive unit to keep Tulsa in check until they figured things out offensively.
Quarterback depth is very suspect after Spencer Sanders and offensive line could be trouble.
Backup quarterback Ethan Bullock didn’t look ready for the moment. The junior from Orlando, Florida completed eight of his thirteen pass attempts but struggled vertically with an average of just 3.2 yards per attempt. He was pulled after a third quarter interception for freshman Shane Illingworth who was much more effective. He led the offense to 10 points while the outcome of the game was still in doubt to pull the situation from painful to pitiful. If the injury to Sanders ends up lingering then it doesn’t seem as if anyone would object to Illingworth being the guy moving forward.
It doesn’t really matter who the quarterback is, or running back for that matter, as long as the offensive line continues with its struggles the offense isn’t going to run as smoothly as the preseason expectations that were set. Chuba Hubbard saw his streak of consecutive games with 100 yards or more come to and end at 11. That steak coming to an end was a product of poor offensive line play more than anything else.
The Cowboys have a short window to figure things out. This game getting pushed back a week absorbed the bye week. That means we’re six days away from West Virginia coming to Stillwater and the Mountaineers are coming off a bye after an impressive season opener. At the end of the day Oklahoma State walked off the field with a 16-7 win but, all things considered, next to a loss this was a nightmare scenario for the Cowboys.
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