Tuesday, October 16, 2012
Midseason report: Oklahoma State
By David Ubben
Record: 3-2, 1-1 Big 12
The Cowboys' first season as defending league champs hasn't quite gone according to plan. It's never a good sign when the most memorable moment of the first half of your season is your starting quarterback clutching his knee in pain. Wes Lunt turned heads when he enrolled early at Oklahoma State and beat out two older players to win the starting job as a true freshman. But he suffered a knee injury before conference play even began.
His return is still up in the air, but J.W. Walsh has filled in admirably. Both quarterbacks have a loss on their records -- a three-touchdown loss to Arizona for Lunt and a five-point heartbreaker at home to Texas for Walsh.
Oklahoma State has the weakest set of wins of any team in the Big 12, with an 84-point romp against Savannah State, a blowout against Louisiana and a six-point win against the Big 12's worst team, Kansas. The Cowboys still have a lot to prove, and the second half of the season to do it.
The defense has been a bit disappointing to this point, and the grabby hands have been a lot less grabby. A whole lot less grabby. Oklahoma State has forced just four turnovers through five games (120th nationally) after forcing 44 last season to lead the nation by five. Hyped corners Justin Gilbert and Brodrick Brown have still been shut out after picking off five a piece last season. Not what the Pokes had envisioned, but there will be plenty of opportunities to crack the polls and earn some respect in the second half.
Offensive MVP: Joseph Randle, RB. Randle's been as good as Oklahoma State needed him to be so far this season, leading the Big 12 with 614 yards. He had his best performance against Texas with 199 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but inexplicably was held to 80 yards on 29 carries against Kansas. Expect a big second half from the junior.
Defensive MVP: Shaun Lewis, LB. No one on Oklahoma State's defense has stood out on a conference level so far, but I give the nod to the Pokes' impact player at linebacker. He's made 3.5 tackles for loss to tie for the team lead and has 1.5 sacks.