October 19, 2013

Oklahoma State escapes another sloppy one with a 24-10 win over TCU

In one of the ugliest games in recent memory, Oklahoma State sneaked one past the Horned Frogs on Saturday.

The Pokes outscored TCU 24-10, and the two teams combined for eight turnovers and eighteen penalties in a sloppy performance on both sides of the ball.

Still, a win is a win for Mike Gundy's squad, and that's all that they care about today.

What happened, how'd it happened, and what should you know about? Let's dive in.

How Oklahoma State won…
Defense was the name of the game (again) today, and it seems like I've written that a ton of times this season, but it's true. This defense is the only thing that makes this team a 5-1 team and not a 4-2 or 3-3 team at this point in the season. Daytawion Lowe had big tackles, and an even bigger interception, while Justin Gilbert got his hands on another TCU pass, as did Caleb Lavey, to add to a monstrous senior season so far. TCU wasn't at their best by any means, but this is exactly how you have to perform against a below-average offense like the Horned Frogs have-Absolutely dominate them, and they did.

Game ball…
If anyone tries to argue that it wasn't Josh Stewart, they've lost their mind. Stewart started scorching hot, reeling in 6 receptions in the first quarter. When it was all said and done, he had 10 receptions for 141 yards, and also a 95 yard punt return for a touchdown. He'll at least win a weekly conference award for this one, if not something on the national level. Outside of Stewart, at least a portion has to go to defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer and his wrecking crew of a defense.

Cause for concern?
With just over 12 minutes left in the second quarter, J.W. Walsh got pulled and replaced by Clint Chelf. There was speculation that Walsh suffered an injury on a run near the goal line, and Chelf proceeded to come in and throw an interception before finishing with 178 yards on 10 for 25 passing. Not including mop-up duty, that brings Chelf's season statistics to 13/34 on passing, which is good for a 38.2% completion percentage. His offense also had two turnovers, while Walsh threw two interceptions during his time in to combine for 4 giveaways overall.

Cause for concern part 2
Punter and kickoff specialist Kip Smith went down with an ankle or knee injury when punting from his own end zone. One of Smith's personal protectors was pushed under him during the punt, and rolled into his plant foot. Smith was helped off the field and never returned for another kick or punt.

A major change
Despite the bad offensive play statistics-wise, the play-calling has to be something fans will be happy about. Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich cut the lateral pass game from his playbook, and threw the ball down field. Sure, there weren't a lot of completions for various reasons, but it had to be good to see Yurcich let it all hang out after coming under fire in the past few weeks.

Optimism…
Backup backup running back Rennie Childs looked great after starter Jeremy Smith struggled. Childs rushed for a team-high 50 yards and a touchdown on 9 carries, and also caught a pass for 34 yards. He's a guy we heard a lot about after fall camp, and Gundy loves playing freshman running backs. If today was any indication of what Childs can do, we expect to see a lot more of the freshman down the stretch this season.

Fun fact…
Stewart's 95-yard punt return was the longest in Oklahoma State history. He's the fourth player in program history to have multiple punt returns for a touchdown in a single season.

Who's next?
Oklahoma State travels to Iowa State next week for an 11 am kickoff on Saturday.

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