Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Midseason review: Oklahoma State
By ESPN.com staff
Oklahoma State Cowboys
Record: 5-0 (1-0 Big 12)
The Cowboys entered the season as one of the Big 12's wildcards, with a new offensive scheme, a new quarterback, four new offensive linemen and former All-American at running back finally healthy. All have exceeded expectations and help land Oklahoma State in the top 20 after a spotless start. Kendall Hunter opened the season with an eye-popping 257-yard debut against Washington State and has topped 100 yards in three of four games since to rank fifth nationally in rushing, with 700 yards. Meanwhile, they've discovered two new stars in receiver Justin Blackmon and quarterback Brandon Weeden. When all three get going, like they did in the second half against Texas A&M, Oklahoma State's offense is one of the nation's best. The Cowboys know the road will get tougher as they hit the bulk of their conference schedule, including games against Texas, Oklahoma and Nebraska, but outside of a few turnovers against Troy and Texas A&M -- both wins -- it's hard to ask for much of a better start.
Offensive MVP: WR Justin Blackmon – The sophomore had just 20 catches last year, and surpassed his output as a freshman in less than three games this year. Through five games, he's emerged as a legitimate threat to win the Biletnikoff Award, leading the nation in touchdown catches, with 11, and ranking in the top three in yardage and receptions. The 6-foot-1, 207-pounder earned Weeden's trust early in one-on-one situations, and his ability to catch balls over defenders is drawing comparisons to Michael Crabtree and Randy Moss. Best yet, he's still getting a lot better. He'll take on Texas Tech in Lubbock on Saturday coming off a career high 13-catch, 190-yard performance in a win over Louisiana-Lafayette.
Defensive MVP: LB Orie Lemon – Lemon missed all of last year with a knee injury, but returned this year as one of the most experienced members of the defense that returned just four starters. He drew rave reviews from defensive coordinator Bill Young in his spring return, and he's lived up to them so far. One of the defense's biggest hitters, Lemon has 45 tackles and also leads the team with 4.5 for loss, with 1.5 sacks.