Oklahoma State hosted Kansas State on Saturday night, and while both teams were 3-0, one team came in with lots of momentum (Kansas State), while the other (Oklahoma State), was feeling lucky to still be undefeated. But with Big 12 Conference play starting, it’s essentially the start of a new season, as nearly every team still believes that if things break just right, they can make noise in league play.
Well with the kick off to the conference schedule on Saturday night, it was the Oklahoma State Cowboys holding on for a comfortable 31-20 victory over the Kansas State Wildcats.
Here are three thoughts from the game.
1. Kansas State Doesn’t Have a Quarterback
As the old saying goes, “when you have two quarterbacks, it means you have none”. That’s Kansas State right now. Skylar Thompson went down with an injury earlier in the season, and while Will Howard looked good enough last week against Nevada, Howard split reps with Jaren Lewis on Saturday night in Stillwater, and neither looked very good. Howard finished 4/12 for 50 yards, plus 28 rushing yards, while Lewis went 10/19 for 148 yards, one touchdown and one interception. And in fact it was Lewis who got the bulk of the action as the game progressed. According to the radio broadcast, Howard got dinged up in the first half, but any details were unclear. Regardless, there’s no reason to believe the outcome of this game would have been different with Howard in there based on what he had done up until he left the game. Kansas State’s defense held it’s own, but the quarterback play will have to improve for the Kansas State Wildcats to make some noise in the Big 12 this season. Or, of course, Thompson could end up returning sooner than later. At this point, Wildcats fans are likely just hoping and praying it’s the latter.
2. Jaylen Warren Picked Up Where He Left Off
Warren has had a winding road to Stillwater, going from Snow College (JUCO) to Utah State, where he played two seasons, before coming to Oklahoma State this season. He was a three-star recruit that was rated as the fourth-best junior college running back in the nation by 247Sports. In fact, at Snow, he was named the 2018 NJCAA National Offensive Player of the Year. Well Warren had his breakout game last week against Boise State, when he piled up 218 rushing yards on 32 carries and two touchdowns. His encore performance on Saturday was pretty darn impressive as well, finishing with 123 rushing yards on 27 carries, along with four receptions for 81 yards. That’s well over 400 yards of offense in his last two games. One can argue Jaylen Wilson is the reason Oklahoma State is 4-0 and not 2-2. That’s how important he’s been.
3. Mike Gundy Reads Heartland College Sports?
We wrote multiple pieces this week about the importance of the Cowboys’ needing to figure out their situation at wide receiver. And then we wrote about how the Pokes need to start trusting their young wide receivers. The game plan that worked against Boise State couldn’t exclusively work against Kansas State, or anyone else in the Big 12. Well, like clockwork, Gundy and OC Kasey Dunn did just that. It helped that Tay Martin was back in the line up, as he lead the team with nine catches for 100 yards and a touchdown. But Brennan Presley was in the mix with two grabs for 53 yards and a score, while Blaine Green and Rashod Owens were also in on the action. This offense still has work to do, as it went scoreless in the second half for the second-straight game, but for now, the Cowboys are 4-0. Given what this team has been through already, as we also wrote this week, 2021 could end up being Gundy’s best coaching job since 2009.