Cowboys fans are rightfully unhappy following OSU's 41-13 thrashing handed to them by the rival Sooners in Norman on Saturday night. Oklahoma State, once 6th in the nation and just on the outside looking in for the College Football Playoff, is now 5-2, 21st in the country, and 3rd in the Big-12 behind Iowa State and Oklahoma.
This weekend's Bedlam game really shed a light on recurring themes from this season for the Cowboys, a couple of them (surprisingly) being positive.
Trace Ford will be a star.
Prior to Saturday night, the OSU defense had surrendered more than 20 points twice to Iowa State and Texas.
While the unit surrendered 41 against OU, sophomore defensive end Trace Ford made sure to let the nation know that it wasn't because of him. The Edmond, Oklahoma native was everywhere for the Cowboys, finishing the game with four tackles and another half-sack, leaving one of the few positive imprints on the game for the Pokes.
Though because he's only a sophomore, Ford will not be draft eligible following this season. Still, the Big-12 had better beware because he will likely be the most disruptive force in the conference in the coming seasons. He now has 3.5 sacks and 15 tackles on the season.
Shane Illingworth is not a good quarterback right now.
When the time of Spencer Sanders is over, he may then be a quality starter. But until then, the true freshman from Norco, California proved on Saturday that he is not ready to unseat any established starter.
Illingworth took over midway through the first quarter after Sanders was knocked out of the game with what appeared at the time to be a head injury. In his nearly three quarters of play, Illingworth completed only five of his 21 attempts, including a stretch in which he missed on 12 consecutive throws, while missing two potential touchdown throws.
While he did throw a touchdown on his first drive, the freshman showed a grave lack of experience in episodes of poor decisions, inaccuracy, bad pocket presence, and bad management of the play clock. Give him another year to develop and he might become a quarterback that can win you games. As it stands today however, he is nowhere near ready to command anything.
Mike Gundy is holding the Cowboys offense back.
The impact of coach Mike Gundy's ultra-conservative coaching style has been evident throughout the entire season, but the offense was able to overcome it until Saturday.
His lack of creativity, along with offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn's, made the Oklahoma defense's (a much maligned unit) job incredibly easy. The only time in the Cowboy offense looked to attack OU's defense was on the penultimate drive of the game when Sanders returned from his two-quarter absence to lead OSU just past midfield down 34-13 with 12 minutes remaining in the contest.
However, on 4th and 8 at the OU 39, Gundy elected to kick the ball back to the Sooners who would go 99 yards and score to put the game firmly on ice. While Lincoln Riley's offense attacked the OSU defense from the opening kickoff, Gundy's and Dunn's play-not-to-lose mentality rendered the offense predictable, anemic, and ineffective.
Rodarius Williams will be a good NFL corner.
If there was another positive from Saturday night, it was the play of number-one corner Rodarius Williams.
Williams entered the week ranked as Mel Kiper, Jr.'s 8th best NFL prospect at the cornerback position after only surrendering six completions the entire season coming into this weekend. Williams locked down every Sooner receiver he faced, surrendering only one catch to Marvin Mims the entire game, along with recording five tackles, one for a loss.
The 6'0", 195-pound senior from Shreveport, Louisiana has the size, speed, and fundamentals to excel at the next level for whichever team selects him in April's draft.
The offensive line is dropping Chuba Hubbard's draft stock.
A year after rushing for over 2,000 yards and opting to return to Oklahoma State instead of entering the NFL draft, Chuba Hubbard's production has plummeted.
Through seven games, Hubbard has only amassed 625 rushing yards and a long rush of 32. While this may seem like a case of "maybe-he-isn't-that-good", Hubbard has showed flashes of his All-American self from 2019. However, the much maligned offensive line in front of him has prevented him from being his consistently brilliant self.
While he is still Kiper's 4th ranked back heading into the draft, it is worth wondering whether his statistically subpar season, that has been riddled with nagging injuries, will continue to drop his stock - or if one NFL general manager will select him in the second round based upon what the Canadian showed in his junior season.