Sept. 18, 2011
No. 7/6 Oklahoma State at No. 8/8 Texas A&M
Sept. 24, 2011 :: 2:30 p.m. CT :: Kyle Field (82,600 Capacity)
TV: ABC Sports (Sean McDonough, Matt Millen, Jeannine Edwards)
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, John Holcomb and Robert Allen)
Satellite Radio: XM Channel 85, Sirius Channel 85
The Conference Road
The Oklahoma State Cowboys open the 2011 Big 12 season Saturday when they travel to College Station to visit the Texas A&M Aggies. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. Oklahoma State enters the game with a 3-0 record while Texas A&M checks in at 2-0 with wins with lopsided wins over SMU and Idaho. OSU is playing its second straight road game after two home games to start the season.
Saturday's game will be televised by ABC.
Overall, the Aggies hold a 17-9 series advantage, but OSU is riding a three-game winning streak against A&M. Some series info to consider:
The first meeting took place in 1913, but A&M and OSU played just 11 times before becoming conference rivals in 1996.
A&M leads 10-5 during the Big 12 era but the Cowboys have won five of the last nine games.
OSU is trying to win two straight in College Station for the first time.
Oklahoma State is opening Big 12 play against Texas A&M for the fourth straight year and for the fifth time overall. OSU is 3-1 in those games with three straight victories.
Dating back to 2002, only 12 points separate the two teams in cumulative scoring (OSU 285, Texas A&M 273).
Seven times since 1997 the teams have played games within five points or less, including two overtime games and two one-point games.
This Top-10 Stuff
For the first time ever, Oklahoma State (No. 6 in USA Today and No. 7 in AP) and Texas A&M (eighth in both polls) are meeting with both teams ranked in the Associated Press top 10. Saturday's game in College Station is just the ninth in OSU history involving two top 10 teams.
Top 10 Road Tests
In its history, Oklahoma State has won six road games against top 10 opposition.
Top 10 Road Wins
1944: Oklahoma State 46, (7) Tulsa 40
1967: Oklahoma State 10 (3) Colorado 7
1974: Oklahoma State 26, (10) Arkansas 7
1976: Oklahoma State 31, (5) Oklahoma 24
2001: Oklahoma State 16, (4) Oklahoma 13
2008: (17) Oklahoma State28, (3) Missouri 23
Oklahoma State hits the road for the second straight week looking to continue a recent trend. The Cowboys head to College Station having won 10 of their last 11 road games. OSU's current six-game road winning streak is the third longest in the country and the second longest in OSU history. The Cowboys are 12-3 on the road since the beginning of the 2008 season.
NCAA's Longest Active Road Win Streaks
1. Virginia Tech - 9
2. Oregon - 7
3. Oklahoma State - 6
Oklahoma State is 7-8 in Big 12 openers, including a 4-2 mark under Mike Gundy. For the 10th time in the 16 years of Big 12 play, OSU will open conference play on the road. OSU has won its last four conference openers, including three against the Aggies.
The Cowboys head to A&M looking to go 4-0 for the 15th time in school history. It would be the third 4-0 start in the last four years as OSU also accomplished the feat in 2008 and 2010.
The Oklahoma State-Texas A&M game is one eight games in the country this week involving two unbeaten teams:
Unbeaten Matchups This Week
Oklahoma State at Texas A&M
North Carolina at Georgia Tech
Vanderbilt at South Carolina
Arkansas at Alabama
LSU at West Virginia
Nebraska at Wyoming
San Diego State at Michigan
Last Year Against A&M
In what turned out to be one of the games of the year in the Big 12 Conference, Oklahoma State rallied from a pair of 14-point deficits to claim a 38-35 victory over Texas A&M in the 2010 Big 12 opener for both schools. The game was ended by Dan Bailey's 40-yard, game-winning field goal on the final play.
Brandon Weeden passed for 284 yards and two scores and Kendall Hunter rushed for 101 yards and two more TDs. Justin Blackmon had 10 catches for 127 yards with a 29-yard TD and OSU linebacker James Thomas scored a critical TD on 63-yard fumble return and then-freshman Joseph Randle had a 38-yard TD reception.
OSU had just 107 yards of total offense at halftime and seven points.
OSU generated 244 yards and 31 points after the break.
For the second time in three years, Oklahoma State has set a new record for season ticket sales. The old mark of 45,694 was set in 2009. Oklahoma State raised that bar again in 2011 with more than 47,800 season tickets purchased. Oklahoma State opened the season with a crowd of 55,382 for the Louisiana game. It was the largest season-opening crowd in school history and the fifth largest overall. The sixth largest crowd, 54,654, was on hand Sept. 8 for the Thursday night game against Arizona.
After Three Games
Oklahoma State has cruised through the first three weeks of the season with lopsided wins over Louisiana, Arizona and Tulsa. Some early trends:
The Cowboys have scored in every quarter this season.
Oklahoma State holds an 86-16 scoring advantage in the first half.
OSU has converted 29 of its 50 attempts on third down to rank fifth in the country (58.0 conversion percentage).
Fifteen Cowboys have caught a pass this season and 10 players have scored.
NCAA Chart Watching
Oklahoma State finished the 2010 season second nationally in passing yards and third nationally in total offense. After three games in 2011, the Cowboys are first nationally in passing yards (408.0 yards) and second nationally in total offense (601.0) and third nationally in scoring (52.3).
In one of the more bizarre settings in recent history, Oklahoma State registered a 59-33 win over Tulsa last weekend. OSU arrived at Chapman Stadium on the TU campus just before 7 p.m. Saturday night and left the stadium at 4:40 a.m. Sunday morning. The game was scheduled to begin at 9:10 p.m. central time but weather conditions delayed the kick until 12:16 a.m. The game ended at 3:36 a.m.
The Game Itself
The late start seemed to have little effect on the Cowboys early. OSU jumped to a 31-6 halftime lead and extended the advantage to 45-6 and in the process put up dominating numbers in total offense. The lead reached its high-water mark 45-6 with over nine minutes left in the third period. At that point, OSU may have noticed the time as Tulsa, which had just 170 yards of offense up to that point, suddenly scored on 1-play drives covering 80 and 43 yards. OSU, however, was never threatened. OSU had seven touchdown drives, intercepted four TU passes and recovered two TU fumbles. Brandon Weeden passed for 369 yards and three scores and Joseph Randle rushed for 128 yards. The only downside for the Cowboys was the end of Justin Blackmon's streak of consecutive 100-yard receiving games at 14.
Tulsa sold out to stopping the downfield pass to Blackmon. The result was 128 rushing yards for Randle and Josh Cooper, Hubert Anyiam and Tracy Moore all recording at least 70 yards receiving.
Six different Oklahoma State players had at least one reception of 24 yards or longer.
Building A Tradition
Under Mike Gundy, OSU continues to grow as a program. Since the opening of the 2008 season, the Cowboys are 32-10. That win total is the best ever for OSU over a three-year-plus period and the Cowboys are No. 10 nationally (tied) in wins during that time.
Most Wins Since 2008
1. Boise State 40 2. Alabama 39 3. TCU 38 4. Ohio State 35 5. Utah 35 6. Oklahoma 34 Oregon 34 Virginia Tech 34 9. Texas 33 10. Oklahoma State 32 Southern Cal 32 Nebraska 32
Gundy in Perspective
Head coach Mike Gundy is in his seventh season as head coach at his alma mater with a blossoming resume in Stillwater. He is 50-29 and is clearly authoring a sustained period of success at OSU.
OSU was 12-15 under Gundy after 27 games, but has gone 38-14 since then, including a 32-10 record over the last 42 games and 23-6 over the last 29.
Gundy's 50 wins at OSU rank third all-time behind only Jim Lookabaugh (58-41-6) and Gundy's college coach, Pat Jones (62-60-3).
Gundy's .633 winning percentage is third best at OSU. That OSU chart is topped by Hall-of-Famer Lynn "Pappy" Waldorf (.735).
Perhaps the most impressive part of Gundy's tenure at OSU is that he has built the program with three different offensive coordinators and three different defensive coordinators. Three of his former assistants have left Oklahoma State to become head coaches (Dana Holgorsen at West Virginia, Larry Fedora at Southern Miss and Tim Beckman at Toledo).
Under Gundy, OSU has gone to five straight bowl games (an OSU first) and won at least seven games in six straight seasons (another school first) and at least nine games in three straight seasons (yet another first).
Under Gundy, OSU has reached the top 10 of the Associated Press poll for a school-best fourth straight season.
Gundy Gets To 50
The Tulsa victory was the 50th for Mike Gundy as OSU's head coach. He is just the third Cowboy boss to reach that milestone and the first to accomplish the feat since Pat Jones won his 50th game on Sept. 15, 1990, over Northern Iowa. It was Jones' 73rd game as the OSU boss. Jim Lookabaugh, the other head coach to reach 50 wins, got to the mark in 89 games. Gundy's 50th win came in his 79th game.
Home in the Polls
Oklahoma State has been in the top 10 each week of the 2011 season. At no time in its history has Oklahoma State been more visible in the national polls than during the Mike Gundy era.
The Texas A&M game will mark OSU's 13th straight as a member of the Associated Press top 25.
Including this week, OSU has been ranked by the AP 35 times in its last 39 games, including 21 games as a member of the top 15.
Oklahoma State began the 2009 season No. 9 in the AP balloting for its highest preseason ranking ever. OSU tied that preseason ranking in 2011. The 2009 and 2011 seasons are the only two in OSU history in which the Cowboys have made an appearance in the AP preseason top 10.
In 2010, the Cowboys finished No. 10 in the USA Today poll, marking the first time that OSU closed a season in the top 10 of a major poll since 1984 when OSU was seventh in the final AP vote.
The highest the Cowboys have been ranked under Gundy came in the second week of the 2009 season when OSU reached No. 5 in the AP.
Under Gundy, OSU is 24-10 as a member of the top 25.
Under Gundy, OSU has spent 12 weeks (including weeks in which OSU was idle) in the top 10. Prior to Gundy, OSU had spent just 25 weeks in the top 10 of the AP poll in its history. The Cowboys hold an all-time record of 20-9 when ranked in the top 10.
Under Mike Gundy, OSU has cracked the Associated Press top 10 in four straight seasons, which had never happened at Oklahoma State.
Streaking in Stillwater
OSU will carry several team and individual streaks into the Texas A&M game:
Brandon Weeden has tossed at least one touchdown pass in 16 straight games.
Josh Cooper has at least one catch in 20 straight games.
Safety Markelle Martin has started 27 straight games to lead the team.
Sophomore running back Jeremy Smith has rushed for a touchdown in seven straight games.
OSU has completed a pass of at least 40 yards in 12 straight games.
Back In Blackmon
To say that Justin Blackmon continues to be a problem for opposing defenses is an understatement. He continued to add to his NCAA record against Arizona with his 14th straight game with at least 100 receiving yards with his 128-yard, two-TD effort against Arizona. That streak ended with his seven-catch, 57-yard, one-TD night against Tulsa. A quick look at Blackmon over the last 15 games of his career:
He has 23 receiving TDs over the last 15 games, along with a special teams touchdown and a rushing TD.
He has a reception of at least 24 yards in 15 straight games.
Thirteen of his 23 TD catches have covered at least 20 yards.
On seven occasions he has reached double figures in catches.
In seven of the 15 games he has reached at least 140 yards in receiving.
He has 129 catches over the last 15 games.
OSU Career Receiving Yards Leaders
Yards Rec. 1. Rashaun Woods, 2000-03 4,414 293 2. Hart Lee Dykes, 1985-88 3,171 203 3. D'Juan Woods, 2002-06 2,751 163 4. Dez Bryant, 2007-09 2,425 147 5. Justin Blackmon, 2009- 2,371 158 -- 17. Josh Cooper, 2008- 1,131 104
Senior quarterback Brandon Weeden enters the Texas A&M game leading the country with 384.7 passing yards per game. He also leads the country with 1,154 passing yards. He is second nationally in total offense with 370.3 yards per game. He has three of the NCAA's top 18 passing games this season and has reached at least 360 passing yards in every game this season. He is the only quarterback in the country to reach at least 360 yards in every game.
More Weeden Numbers
Some other numbers worth noting regarding Brandon Weeden:
He is 14-2 as a starter, including 7-0 away from Boone Pickens Stadium.
He has thrown at least one touchdown pass in 16 straight games.
He has at least two TD passes in 14 of his 16 starts.
He cracked the 5,000-yard mark in career passing against Arizona and now has 5,687 for his career.
NCAA Career Pass Efficiency Leaders
1. Kellen Moore, Boise State 167.96 2. Andrew Luck, Stanford 160.22 3. Case Keenum, Houston 156.52 4. Brandon Weeden, Oklahoma State 155.83
The New J.R.
A year ago, then-freshman running back Joseph Randle was intriguing. As a backup to All-American Kendall Hunter, he was almost as effective in the passing game (427 receiving yards) as he was rushing the ball (452 yards). Against Arizona, he nearly made history with that versatility. Randle rushed for 121 yards and two scores (with an 8.1-yard average). He also caught nine passes for 99 yards, including a 63-yarder. He would have joined Gerald Hudson as the only OSU players to reach 100 yards in rushing and receiving in the same game.
Randle To Date
Sophomore running back Joseph Randle heads to College Station No. 10 nationally in rushing with 126 yards per game. His seven rushing touchdowns rank third nationally and he is averaging 6.1 yards per rush. He has also accumulated 117 receiving yards and he is No. 21 nationally with 165 all-purpose yards per game. He is one of just five players among the NCAA's top 25 all-purpose yardage leaders without any return yardage to his credit.
Nine And Rising
Oklahoma State is up to No. 9 nationally in takeaways with nine on the season. OSU is also No. 9 nationally with five interceptions. The Cowboys have had an appetite for turnovers since the arrival of Bill Young as defensive coordinator prior to the 2009 season.
OSU Turnover Factor
Year Turnovers Gained NCAA Rank 2007 19 93 2008 25 42 2009 30 11 2010 34 5
Defense (Clap, Clap)
Statistically, the OSU defense checks in at No. 92 nationally but the Cowboys certainly appear to be a victim of circumstance. OSU allows 413 yards per game but those numbers are terribly deceiving. Consider the following: OSU is allowing just 133 yards in the first half of its games. In those first halves, OSU has outscored the opposition 86-16 and held leads of 34-10, 21-0 and 31-6 at the break. The OSU defense is yet to allow a touchdown in the first half this season. The lone opposing TD came on a Louisiana pick six. The Cowboys are No. 22 nationally with nine quarterback sacks
The right leg of Quinn Sharp has become so valuable to the Cowboys, it might deserve its own seat on team charters. In his first season of handling all of the Cowboy kicking chores, Sharp has been among the nation's best at just about everything.
He hasn't punted enough times to qualify for the NCAA statistical rankings, but his average of 49.2 yards would be fourth nationally.
He is No. 10 nationally in field goals, having converted 6-of-7, including a 46-yarder against Louisiana.
He leads the nation with 16 touchbacks on kickoffs. He has led the country in that category each of the past two seasons.
Sharp is No. 12 nationally in scoring with 12.3 points per game.
Gilbert Is Gaining
Sophomore just Gilbert gave the Cowboys their first lead at Tulsa with a 96-yard first-quarter kickoff return for a score. In just 15 college games, he has three kickoff returns for touchdowns to rank fourth among all active NCAA players (he is the highest ranking sophomore on that list). Another return for a touchdown will tie him with Perrish Cox for the OSU career record. Incidentally, Gilbert also had an interception against Tulsa.
Oklahoma State returns all five starters on its offensive line from a team that finished third nationally last season in scoring and yards. (although junior college transfer Michael Bowie was/is making a strong push to take over a tackle spot). Last season, the Cowboys were seventh nationally in sacks allowed per game (.77). The Cowboys attempted at least 100 more passes than anyone else on the fewest sacks allowed chart. As a result of last year's numbers, most prognosticators have OSU blessed with one of the nation's best offensive lines.
A Budding Tradition
Some other things to consider about the OSU offensive line:
The Cowboy linemen had 76 career starts entering the season, compared to 11 for last year's season opener.
OSU returns not only All-Big 12 selection Levy Adcock, but also Rimington Award watch list member Grant Garner and two-year starter Lane Taylor.
Oklahoma State led the Big 12 in rushing every year from 2006 through 2009. OSU did not lead the Big 12 in rushing last season, but the Cowboys actually improved their yards-per-carry from 4.4 in 2009 to 5.0 in 2010.
The Wilson Award
Senior Wilson Youman absolutely has to be one of the busiest players in college football. In each of the first two games of the season, he has seen action on offense, defense and special teams. The senior played on offense as a tight end, on defense as a defensive end and on the special teams kicking units. Since arriving on campus, Youman has bounced between offense and defense but 2011 is the first time he saw game action on both sides of the ball in the same game.
Oklahoma State's offensive numbers in the Louisiana were highlighted by the combination of a 300-yard passer, a 100-yard rusher and two 100-yard receivers for just the third time in school history - all in the last 13 games. Against Louisiana, Brandon Weeden passed for 388 yards (the ninth best game in OSU history), Joseph Randle rushed for 129 yards, Justin Blackmon had 144 receiving yards and Tracy Moore had 112 receiving yards. The previous 300-100-100-100 combos came in 2010 against Troy and Nebraska and featured Weeden, Blackmon, Josh Cooper and Kendall Hunter accomplishing the trick.
Three members of the Cowboy roster, quarterback Brandon Weeden (business), center Grant Garner (business management), and defensive end Jamie Blatnick (health promotions) have already earned their degrees at Oklahoma State.
Oklahoma State will sport a new look in 2011 - actually 48 new looks. OSU has partnered with Nike this season to play in Nike Pro Combat uniforms. OSU will have its choice of 48 different combinations with helmets of white, black and gray, jerseys of black, gray and orange (for home games), and pants that are black, white, orange or gray.
The Guys To Watch
Oklahoma State has a roster stacked full of potential award winners in 2011. A few who could be flying a bit under the radar:
Levy Adcock: In his first year as a starter he was an all-conference selection and a contender for the Big 12 offensive lineman of the year in 2010. Rivals ranked Adcock as the nation's 17th best player and lists him as a preseason first-team All-American
Brodrick Brown: Turned in the nation's top defensive play a year ago and is no doubt a contender for all-league honors as a junior
Josh Cooper: Will put the wraps on a very productive career in 2011 and is a member of the Biletnikoff Award preseason watch list
Grant Garner: A Rimington Award watch list member and one of the most intelligent players on the OSU roster. He has already earned a degree in business and like his quarterback, is married
Shaun Lewis: A freshman All-America linebacker in 2010 and a starter as a true freshman
Markelle Martin is one of the country's most underrated players. He is athletic, physical and smart while ruling the secondary. He has been voted a preseason All-Big 12 player. The Sporting News recently named Martin as the best NFL safety prospect in college football
Oklahoma State is coming off one of the most successful seasons in program history. In 2010, the Cowboys, despite being picked to finish fifth in the Big 12 South, set a school record for wins with their 11-2 record. They won 10 regular-season games for the first time ever, tied for the Big 12 South title for the first time and went undefeated on the road for the first time since 1945. OSU finished in the top 10 of the national polls (No. 10 in USA Today) for the first time since 1984.
Richetti Jones is yet to record a sack this season but he leads OSU with three quarterback hurries and two fumble recoveries.
The OSU offense is flexible. It has a 7-minute, 15-play scoring drive to its credit as well as a 2-play, 60-yard, 40-second scoring drive.
The 2011 offense already has two of the best yardage totals in school history to its credit. The 666 yard against Louisiana rank ninth all-time and the 594 yards vs. Arizona rank No. 19 all time.
Fifteen of the top 25 total offense games in school history have been achieved with Mike Gundy as head coach. Four more of those games came with Mike Gundy as quarterback.
OSU has allowed just three TD passes in three games.
Sophomore Devin Hedgepeth is No. 8 nationally with two interceptions.
Joseph Randle is seventh nationally in scoring (14 ppg).