Nov. 4, 2012
TV: ABC/ESPN2 Reverse Mirror (Dave LaMont & Kelly Stouffer)
Radio: Cowboy Radio Network (Dave Hunziker, John Holcomb and Robert Allen)
National Radio: ESPN Radio (Bill Rosinski, David Norrie and Joe Schad)
Satellite Radio: Sirius Ch. 92, XM Ch. 196
The Final Home Stand
Oklahoma State begins its final home stand of the 2012 football season this week when West Virginia comes to town for the first time since 1928. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. OSU will close the home portion of its schedule on Nov. 17 when Texas Tech visits Stillwater for the first time since the 2009 season.
The Rebound Game
Saturday's contest will be big for both the Cowboys and the Mountaineers. OSU is coming off a 44-30 loss at Kansas State and West Virginia has dropped three straight games.
Speaking Of Streaks
Oklahoma State has not lost two straight regular-season games in five years to the day. In November of 2007, OSU lost to No. 14 Texas (Nov. 3) and No. 5 Kansas (Nov. 10) en route to a 7-6 season.
The First Staff Meeting
For the first time in his head coaching coaching career, Mike Gundy will face a former assistant coach across the field as WVU boss Dana Holgorsen spent the 2010 season as Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator. Although Gundy is just in his eighth season as a head coach, three of his former assistants are already running their own programs in power conferences (Larry Fedora at North Carolina and Tim Beckman at Illinois, as well as Holgorsen).
ABC will be on hand to televise the game from Boone Pickens Stadium. OSU had gone the entire season without an ABC appearance until last week's game at Kansas State. The game will also be available on ESPN2 (reverse mirror) for those outside of the ABC regional coverage area.
Oklahoma State is 1-2 all-time against West Virginia in a series that has seen just one meeting between the schools since 1929. West Virginia won its only previous trip to Stillwater, back in 1928. The schools last met in the 1987 Sun Bowl with the Cowboys earning a narrow 35-33 victory in the final game in the career of running back Thurman Thomas.
The Last Meeting
Oklahoma State last played West Virginia on Dec. 25, 1987, in the John Hancock Sun Bowl -- or as the two schools like to remember it, the Sun (and snow) Bowl.
The OSU offense featured quarterback Mike Gundy and a two-headed monster at running back (Thurman Thomas and Barry Sanders).
Oklahoma State held an early 7-0 lead, but then fell behind by a 24-14 score.
Thomas, who would be the game's MVP, helped rally the Cowboys. He rushed for four touchdowns and 157 yards. Gundy passed for 161 yards with a score. Barry Sanders had six carries for 19 yards.
After OSU surged to a 35-27 lead, West Virginia scored a touchdown with just 1:13 remaining in the game. However, the Cowboys stopped the two-point try to complete just the second 10-win season in school history.
West Virginia would not lose again until the 1988 national championship game (played in January of 1989) to Notre Dame and Oklahoma State would follow up its 10-2 record in 1987 with another 10-2 record (and a Heisman Trophy for Sanders) in 1988.
Despite the geography, there are several connections between the Cowboys and Mountaineers.
West Virginia head coach Dana Holgorsen spent the 2010 season as Oklahoma State's offensive coordinator, before heading to Morgantown.
WVU defensive coordinator Joe DeForest was part of OSU's staff from 2002 through 2011. His 10 seasons in Stillwater represents the third longest tenure of any OSU football assistant. Both Jack Baker and Toby Greene were listed as football assistants from 1939 through 1962.
West Virginia running backs coach Robert Gillespie spent two seasons at Oklahoma State and was part of Cowboy teams that went to the 2010 Cotton Bowl (2009 season) and the 2010 Alamo Bowl.
West Virginia quarterbacks coach Jake Spavital is a native of Tulsa and spent a year at Oklahoma State as a graduate assistant. His grandfather, Jim Spavital, was a critical part of Oklahoma State's first great football run in the 1940s. Jim was a fullback on the school's first bowl teams (Cotton and Sugar).
Former Cowboy All-Big 12 cornerback Andrew McGee (2010) is a defensive graduate assistant at WVU. The second defensive GA for the Mountaineers is Jeff Horrocks, who was a quality control staffer at OSU.
Oklahoma State is 27-6 at home since the beginning of the 2008 season, including 10 wins in its last 11 home games.
The Final Numbers
For the second consecutive season, Oklahoma State has set a new record for season ticket tales. OSU sold 48,876 in 2012.
Big 12 Roll
OSU has been one of the Big 12 Conference's best teams since 2008. Oklahoma State is 3-2 in Big 12 play in 2012.
OSU has won 14 of its last 19 Big 12 games, 17 of its last 22, 20 of its last 26 and 22 of its last 30.
OSU head coach Mike Gundy began his career with a 4-12 record vs. the Big 12. Since that time he and the Cowboys have gone 32-14 against the league, raising his overall Big 12 mark to 36-26.
A Strange Trip
Oklahoma State will be trying to bounce back from a strange trip to Manhattan and a 44-30 loss to No. 3 Kansas State. The Cowboys outgained the Wildcats in total offense, but lost the turnover battle, 5-0. OSU also allowed 199 yards on four kickoff returns, including a 100-yarder, a 60-yarder, as well as a 39-yard punt return. On the flip side, OSU had an 80-yard kickoff return for a score (by Desmond Roland) as well as a 41-yard return (by Justin Gilbert).
Down The Stretch
Despite the special teams issues and the huge turnover deficit, OSU was still alive and kicking in Manhattan until the last minutes. It took a final interception by the Wildcat defense, in the end zone, with 2:06 remaining, to seal the win for Kansas State.
Attacking The Wildcat Defense
Kansas State's defense entered the OSU game No. 30 nationally, allowing 340 yards per contest and No. 13 in the country in scoring defense, allowing 17 points per game. Despite possessions that were shortened due to turnovers, the Kansas State defense gave up a season high in points (30), first downs (26) and total yards (504) to Oklahoma State.
Kansas State Recap
The critical stat was of course, the turnover factor, as OSU suffered four interceptions and a lost fumble.
Cowboy quarterbacks Wes Lunt and Clint Chelf combined to pass for 417 yards with a touchdown each.
Quinn Sharp connected on three field goals and he is now 8-for-8 in threes over the last two games.
Eight Cowboys caught a pass and four receivers had at least one reception of more than 27 yards.
Alex Elkins led the OSU defense with 12 tackles and linebacker Caleb Lavey had two tackles behind the line of scrimmage.
OSU averaged 7.1 yards per play in the loss as both teams ran 71 plays.
Kansas State's 71 plays took 37:52 and OSU's 71 plays took 22:08.
The Defensive Numbers
OSU's defense won't spend a lot of time bragging about the Kansas State numbers, but the Cowboys had some tough chores. Kansas State scored seven points on a kickoff return, seven points on an interception return, had to drive just 32 yards for a touchdown after a fumble, had to drive just 18 yards for one field goal and 27 for another. The bottom line: Kansas State used just 67 yards of offense for a total of 27 points.
Way Back When
Oklahoma State traveled to Tucson on Sept. 8 and played a bizarre game. The Cowboys committed four turnovers in the loss. Even more strange was the wide array of penalties that hit the Cowboys at the most inopportune times. OSU ended that game with 15 flags covering 167 yards. However, when tossing out the Arizona game, OSU is averaging five penalties per game for 45 yards.
Door Number Three
When injury sidelined freshman quarterback Wes Lunt against Kansas State, Enid junior Clint Chelf came off the bench for the first critical snaps of his career, and he delivered in a big way. Chelf was 16-of-27 passing for 233 yards with an interception and a 13-yard TD strike to Charlie Moore. He also rushed for 33 yards on four carries. Lunt and fellow freshman J.W. Walsh have both started games this season and missed games due to injury. Chelf is the third Cowboy quarterback to play meaningful snaps in 2012.
The Chelf Drive Chart
Clint Chelf entered the game at the 9:47 mark of the third period. He had five possessions as the OSU signal caller.
He led the Cowboys on drives of 54, 80, 54 and 72 yards. His only three-and-out possession came when the Cowboys started a drive at their own one.
He led OSU to its final 13 points.
His lone interception came after he had driven the Cowboys to the Kansas State 8-yard-line.
The last time the Cowboys fought the revolving door at quarterback was back in 2005, during Mike Gundy's first year as the OSU head coach. During that season, Donovan Woods started two games at quarterback before being moved to defense, where he became a multi-year starter. Bobby Reid started five games and Al Peña started four games in `05. Peña and Reid both saw action in seven games during the season.
Hays Making Plays
In February, one of the last high school seniors added to the Cowboy recruiting class was Austin Hays. The freshman from San Antonio Reagan High School didn't grab the headlines, but he has become one of the most productive freshmen in the Cowboy class.
In his college debut, Hays had eight receptions for 77 yards with a touchdown against Savannah State, but injury and illness forced him to miss the next three games.
He returned to catch one pass for nine yards in the rain at Kansas and one for nine yards at home against Iowa State.
His lone reception against TCU went for 41 yards and set up a score.
His best game to date has been at Kansas State. He caught a 54-yard TD pass from Wes Lunt in a true-freshman-to-true-freshman connection and he ended the day with four catches for 81 yards.
He leads the Cowboy freshmen with 15 catches covering 217 yards (14.5 yards per catch) and the two scores, despite playing in just five games.
Hays and quarterback Wes Lunt are the only two true freshmen to start a game for the Cowboys in 2012.
Sophomore Stepping Up
Sophomore Josh Stewart continues to develop into one of the Big 12 Conference's most dependable weapons.
He already has 56 receptions this season for the 14th best single-season total in OSU history.
Over the last three games, Stewart has 27 catches covering 301 yards.
He set a career high with 120 receiving yards vs. TCU, eclipsing his 104-yard effort vs. Louisiana.
His 13 catches vs. Iowa State were the second most ever by a Cowboy in a single game.
Stewart will head into the West Virginia game leading OSU in catches (56), receiving yards (666) and receiving yards per game (83.2).
His season numbers could be much higher. In the season-opening 84-0 win over Savannah State, Stewart had just one catch covering six yards.
Stewart is No. 13 nationally with 7.1 catches per game.
Stewart has had a reception of at least 25 yards in six games.
Stewart's 666 receiving yards represent the 21st best single-season total in school history.
Sophomore Slump Buster
Josh Stewart's 666 receiving yards rank fifth all-time among OSU's sophomore pass catchers. He trails only Justin Blackmon's school record 1,782 yards in 2010, Dez Bryant's 1,480 yards in 2008, Rashaun Woods' 1,023 yards in 2001, and Hart Lee Dykes, who had 814 yards in 1986.
Jackson's Big Hits
Junior college transfer Blake Jackson has turned into a big-play machine for the youthful Cowboy offense as he averages 20.0 yards per reception.
Through eight games, Jackson has 24 catches, but they cover 480 yards.
Against TCU, he caught three passes covering 94 yards, including a 46-yard reception.
The 94-yard outing vs. TCU came on the heels of a game against Iowa State in which he had four catches for 96 yards.
His lone catch against Texas went for 26 yards.
He had a 33-yard catch against Louisiana in a game in which he had nine receptions for a career-best 112 yards.
His coming-out party came at Arizona when he had seven catches for 105 yards.
Jackson has had a catch of at least 26 yards in four games.
Like Josh Stewart, his season numbers could be better. He did not have a catch in the season-opening 84-0 win over Savannah State.
Moore Of Everything
Junior receiver Charlie Moore's season numbers may not be too dazzling by Cowboy standards with 28 catches covering 474 yards, but his continued development remains one of the bright storylines of the season.
Through the first five games of 2012, Moore had yet to reach a cumulative total of 100 receiving yards for the year. But over the last five games, he has 436 receiving yards with four touchdowns.
He has cracked the 100-yard mark twice in the last three games with a season-high 135 vs. Kansas State.
His 72-yard TD against Kansas, followed by his 74-yard TD grab against Iowa State, made him the first Cowboy player ever with at least a 72-yard catch in consecutive games. Those two receptions are the longest of the year by the Cowboys.
The Moore Streak
Charlie Moore has a touchdown catch in each of the last four games. It is the longest such streak by a Cowboy since Justin Blackmon had a TD grab in 10 regular-season games of 2011. Moore's four TD catches this season are tied with Tracy Moore for the team lead. Each of Tracy Moore's TD grabs came at Arizona.
What Might Have Been
Oklahoma State entered the season with two proven starters at receiver in Tracy Moore and Isaiah Anderson. However, injuries have limited the playing time of both seniors. Another senior, tight end Justin Horton, has been lost to a season-ending injury. As a result, OSU's 2012 receiving corps has been nearly a total rebuild from 2011. Moore has played in just four games and has 259 of OSU's 2,847 receiving yards. Anderson has just 10 catches covering 123 yards.
Century Mark Times Four
For the first time in school history, OSU has had four different players record 100-yard receiving games in the same season with Charlie Moore, Josh Stewart, Blake Jackson and Tracy Moore all accomplishing the feat. In fact, Jackson, Stewart and Charlie Moore have reached the 100-yard mark twice in 2012.
An All-America Start
As the Cowboys' 2012 season enters its stretch run, junior running back Joseph Randle has ascended into All-America territory. A look at Randle through eight games:
He is the Big 12's leading rusher and No. 14 in the country, averaging 116.8 yards per game.
He is averaging 5.34 yards per carry in 2012 and has reached the 100-yard rushing mark in six of the season's eight games. His six 100-yard rushing games lead the Big 12.
He is eighth among all active players with 35 career rushing touchdowns.
Randle has 35 career rushing touchdowns in 34 college games. The numbers are more impressive when considering he began his career as a backup to All-American Kendall Hunter.
He is third in the Big 12 Conference in all-purpose yards (137.1), despite not participating in the punt return or kick return game.
Against TCU, Randle carried the ball 32 times. It was the first time a Cowboy back had 30 rushes in a game since Keith Toston against Colorado in 2009.
Randle is the only back this season to rush for 100 yards against TCU.
The Rush Is On
Joseph Randle heads into the West Virginia game needing just 66 rushing yards to reach 1,000 for the 2012 season -- and for the second time in his career. That feat would put him in rare air. Despite OSU's history at the tailback spot, only five Cowboy runners have had multiple 1,000-yard seasons to their credit.
Two-time All-American and 1977 Heisman Trophy runner-up Terry Miller leads all Cowboys with three 1,000-yard seasons.
The Cowboys to record two 1,000-yard seasons include Thurman Thomas, David Thompson, Tatum Bell and Kendall Hunter.
The 66 yards by Randle would give OSU a 1,000-yard rusher for a sixth straight season and nine in the last 11 seasons.
A Look Around
For the time in 2012, Oklahoma State does not lead the nation in total offense. The Cowboys check in at No. 2 this week with 575.8 yards per game. OSU finished third nationally in total offense each of the past two seasons.
Oklahoma State has reached the 600-yard mark four times in eight games, despite playing (and starting) two freshmen at quarterback.
OSU set a school record with 742 yards of total offense vs. Louisiana.
OSU opened the season with three straight games of more than 600 yards of offense for the first time in school history.
By the end of the third period, OSU had accumulated more total yards against Iowa State than the Cyclones had allowed in any GAME all season.
TCU entered the Oklahoma State game allowing just 313 yards per game. OSU gained 471 yards on the Frogs.
Oklahoma State gained 504 yards on a Kansas State team that was allowing just 340 yards and OSU's 30 points against Kansas State are the most allowed by the Wildcats this season.
Oklahoma State is No. 3 nationally in passing offense, averaging 356 yards per game and No. 20 in rushing offense (220 yards per game).
Did You Know?
With 75 percent of the 2012 season in the books, Oklahoma State's current offense could finish the season as the most productive (yardage wise) in school history. The current Cowboys average 575.8 yards of offense per game. The school record for total offense per game was set last year with 545.8 yards per game.
The New Trend
Oklahoma State is trying to finish a third straight season with a total offense average in excess of more than 500 yards per game. Prior to 2010, that feat had only been accomplished once in school history. In 1988, with Mike Gundy at quarterback and Barry Sanders on his way to the Heisman, OSU averaged 515.2 yards of offense per game.
Top OSU Offenses
Season - YPG
1. 2012 - 575.9
2. 2011 - 545.8
3. 1988 - 515.2
Seconding The Motion
Oklahoma State's defense continues to be strong down the stretch of games. OSU has outscored its last three opponents after halftime, 54-13. The only touchdown OSU has allowed after halftime over the last three weeks came in the third quarter Kansas State. In conference play, OSU is allowing 24.6 points to rank third in the league.
OSU is No. 47 nationally in total defense, allowing 377.5 yards per game. OSU finished 2011 No. 107 in total defense, allowing 456.8 yards per game.
Inside The Defensive Numbers
A closer looks at Oklahoma State's defensive numbers:
OSU has allowed scores on just 11 of the last 55 possessions.
Over the last four games, OSU's opposition has converted just 22 times on 72 third and fourth-down conversion tries.
OSU ranks second in the Big 12, behind only TCU, in opponent third-down conversion percentage (33.3 percent).
Over the last six games, OSU has allowed a total of 24 points in the third period. OSU has outscored the opposition 67-24 in that quarter, dating back to the Louisiana game.
Oklahoma State has scored 41 touchdowns this season. Only five of those scores have been by seniors. Tracy Moore had a four-touchdown game at Arizona and Kye Staley had a TD reception against Louisiana.
The Circle Of Trust
Oklahoma State has been a warm and nurturing place for quarterbacks. The Cowboy quarterbacks have been among the best-protected in the country during the Mike Gundy years at OSU. Despite three new starters on the offensive line in 2012, that trend is continuing.
Since the beginning of the 2007 season, the Oklahoma State offensive line has been among the most productive in the country.
Fewest Sacks Allowed (2007-2012)
1. Air Force - 43
2. Boise State - 54
3. Oklahoma State - 62
4. Army - 72.5
Two Minute Warnings
Oklahoma State has had a scoring drive of less than two minutes in 35 straight games. In fact, OSU has 28 scoring drives of less than two minutes just eight games in 2012. The Cowboys also have 18 scoring drives of five plays or less.
Over the last four seasons, Oklahoma State has had a Ray Guy Award winner (Matt Fodge in 2008) and a Lou Groza Award winner (Dan Bailey in 2010). In senior Quinn Sharp, the Cowboys could have the best of both worlds. Sharp is a legitimate contender for both national awards in 2012 (he has already been a semifinalist for each).
He is the reigning Big 12 special teams player of the year.
He has already earned first-team All-America honors as both a punter and a kicker (in two different seasons).
A year ago, Sharp was third nationally with a punting average of 46.3 yards and he was seventh nationally in field goal percentage (22-of-25).
Hard To Find
Quinn Sharp is averaging 46.0 yards per punt. That number would rank No. 7 in the country if he had enough punts to appear in the NCAA statistics.
The Net Is The Thing
Punting averages are great, but net punting is the bottom line in football. OSU enters the West Virginia game fifth in the country in that category with an average net of 41.6 yards. OSU has allowed just 71 punt return yards all season and has just two touchbacks.
The NCAA's Best
For his career, Quinn Sharp averages 45.8 yards per punt. That number tops all active NCAA players.
Sharp At A Glance
He is a touchback machine on kickoffs, he already has 51 this season after leading the nation in that category each of the last three years.
Sharp is No. 4 nationally in scoring with 11.8 points per game.
Sharp's career field-goal percentage of 83.3 is fifth in the country.
Sharp is No. 11 all-time at OSU with 239 career points.
Sharp has 65 career punts in excess of 50 yards, 16 that traveled 60 yards or further and three longer than 70 yards.
Sharp leads the country with 2.25 made field-goals per game in 2012.
He has converted all 19 of his career field-goal attempts inside 30 yards.
Sharp has made 18 field goals this season. He had 22 in 13 games in 2011.
Starting With Starts
Against Kansas, true freshman receiver Austin Hays became the 15th OSU player this season to make his first career start.
For the second time in his career, guard Lane Taylor is the foundation of a completely rebuilt offensive line. Taylor became one of the big stories in 2009 when he came from off of the depth chart to earn a starting spot at guard. In 2010, he was the only returning offensive line starter for a young Cowboy team that went on to finish 11-2 and earn a co-championship in the Big 12 South. And in 2012, he is once again the only O-Line starter returning from the previous season.
The Young Influence
Oklahoma State has been the best team in the country in forcing turnovers since the arrival of Bill Young as defensive coordinator in 2009. OSU is off to a slow start in the turnover department in 2012, but the Cowboys lead the country in forced turnovers since 2009 with 117.
Oklahoma State has been one of America's most successful college football programs since the beginning of the 2008 season.
Since 2008, OSU has 46 wins, tied for ninth in the country.
Since 2009, OSU is 10th with a record of 37-10.
Since the beginning of the 2010 season, the Cowboys are eighth with a record of 28-6.
Since the start of 2011, OSU is 17-4 for the 11th best record in the country.
Gundy in Perspective
Head coach Mike Gundy is in his eighth season as head coach at his alma mater. He is 64-33 and is the reigning national coach of the year (Paul "Bear" Bryant and Eddie Robinson awards) and he was named as the 2010 Big 12 coach of the year.
OSU was 12-15 under Gundy after 27 games, but has gone 52-18 since then, including a 37-10 record since 2009 and 28-6 since the opening of 2010.
Gundy is now the winningest coach in school history with 64 wins.
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 now North Carolina, and Tim Beckman at Toledo and now Illinois).
Under Gundy, OSU has gone to six 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 four straight seasons (yet another first).
The 23 wins during 2010 and 2011 are most ever by OSU in a two-year stretch.
Under Gundy, OSU has reached the top 10 of the Associated Press poll for a school-best four straight seasons.
Last season, OSU reached its highest ranking ever when it checked in at No. 2 in both major polls. The Cowboys eventually finished third in the final AP poll, USA Today poll and in the final BCS standings.
The Cowboy freshman quarterbacks, Wes Lunt (true freshman) and J.W. Walsh (a redshirt freshman), have been impressive as they have both lost parts of their seasons to injury but have still led a young Cowboy team to a 5-3 record.
Both quarterbacks have rallied OSU from deficits to win a game. Lunt rallied the troops from 14-0 down in the TCU win and OSU trailed Iowa State twice in the first half before Walsh led the Pokes to a 31-10 victory. Walsh also led OSU to two scoring drives in the fourth quarter to overcome a deficit against Texas, only to see the Longhorns score the winning points with 29 seconds remaining in the game.
Walsh has two 300-yard passing games and a 415-yard effort (vs. Iowa State), while Lunt has two 300-plus outings and set a school freshman record with his 436-yard effort at Arizona in his first career road start.
As a team, Oklahoma State is No. 27 nationally in passing efficiency (150.31).
The Throne Room
For the first time since 1977, Oklahoma State is defending a conference title. The Cowboys claimed the Big 12 championship last year with an 8-1 conference record. The 12-1 season included a Fiesta Bowl victory over No. 4 Stanford. OSU concluded the year with its highest finish ever in the Associated Press, coaches' poll, and BCS Standings (third in all three). Oklahoma State just missed an appearance in the national championship game as Alabama edged out OSU for the second spot in BCS national championship game by the closest margin (between second and third) in the history of the process.
Seniors Among Seniors
Four members of the OSU roster are playing with a college degree in hand. Center Evan Epstein has a degree in business management. Receiver Isaiah Anderson has earned his degree in education, defensive lineman Cooper Bassett has a degree in health promotion and holder Wes Harlan has a degree in business marketing.
A Second Ever
Oklahoma State had some historical numbers at Arizona. The game was the just the second in school history in which the Cowboys had a 400-yard passer (Lunt passed for 436 yards), a 100-yard rusher (Joseph Randle rushed for 123 yards) and two 100-yard receivers (106 for Tracy Moore and 105 for Blake Jackson). The only other time that OSU had four players reach triple digits in those categories was in last seasons' 66-6 win at Texas Tech. In that contest, Brandon Weeden passed for 423 yards, Hershel Sims rushed for 109 yards, Justin Blackmon had 103 receiving yards and Josh Cooper had 106 receiving yards.
Mike Gundy is just the fifth coach in Oklahoma State history to reach his eighth season as the Cowboy head coach and the first to do it since Pat Jones coached his 11th and final season in 1994. Only Gundy, Jones and Cliff Speegle have coached at least eight years at the school in the post-World War II era. Gundy's tenure is now the fifth longest in the new Big 12.