SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Oklahoma State's running backs don't quite get the same recognition as the Cowboys dynamic duo in the passing game. Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon hooked up 224 times in two seasons.
This, despite the team's top three backs combining for a 2,000-yard season on the ground and scoring 34 touchdowns.
For Cowboys offensive coordinator Todd Monken, he's not exactly losing sleep over the idea that guys like Joseph Randle, Jeremy Smith and Herschel Sims get overlooked in an offense stocked with weapons.
"[They] should," Monken said. "We’re a throw first team and, like I’ve said before, we don’t dictate when we run it, [opponents] do."
Oklahoma State's offense throws the ball about 60 percent of the time, racking up 553 attempts and leading the Big 12 in pass offense. Throwing the ball is the Cowboys' identity, and Monken's embraced that, with one of the Big 12's top passers running his attack.
"The times we want to run it are short yardage and goal line formation. That’s when we have to run it," Monken said. "Other times, they will decide when we run it."
Randle particularly has embraced a productive but often under-appreciated role in the offense, earning a 1,000-yard season in his first year as a starter.
"We have to be able to run it to take the pressure off Brandon. You can’t just line up and say, ‘Ok, if there’s too many in the box, we’ll throw to the perimeter.’" Monken said. "You just can’t do that and put everything on him. He’s capable of doing it, but we’re not going to do that."
Thanks to the Cowboys; offensive line and backfield, OSU doesn't have to.