Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Dallas Colleges [Print without images]

Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Midseason report: Oklahoma State

By Brandon Chatmon

Oklahoma State is not in the position it expected. The Cowboys are looking up at Baylor, Texas Tech and Texas in the Big 12 standings after starting the season as the preseason favorite. Nonetheless, the Cowboys' destiny remains in their hands with their lone loss coming to West Virginia, which has already suffered two Big 12 losses, and the bulk of their conference schedule beginning with TCU this weekend.

OSU doesn’t look like the relentless, high-scoring attack that was the norm in Stillwater for the past few seasons yet the Pokes have continued to find ways to win games in 2013. The defense has been very solid, ranking No. 24 nationally in yards per play at 4.69, giving Mike Gundy’s squad a consistent base to build around and the confidence it can weather the storm while the search for offensive consistency continues.

Quarterback J.W. Walsh is triggering an offense that averages 38 points per game but needs help from the running game. OSU is averaging 4.14 yards per carry and 144.8 rushing yards per game after averaging 215.31 rushing yards and 5.39 yards per carry in 2012. If OSU’s run game improves, its offense will follow.

The Cowboys were the preseason pick to win the conference because of their overall talent and offensive reputation so if they can start living up to expectations they can put themselves back into the Big 12 title race.

Offensive MVP: Walsh. The sophomore’s 74.4 adjusted QBR ranks third in the Big 12 behind Baylor’s Bryce Petty and Texas’ David Ash. He has completed 103 of 169 passes for 1,209 yards (7.2 yards per attempt), nine touchdowns and three interceptions. And his 265 rushing yards lead all Big 12 quarterbacks. Yet, if OSU wants to win a Big 12 title, Walsh will have to take his play to an even higher level.

Defensive MVP: Linebacker Caleb Lavey has been a force in the middle of OSU’s defense. The senior has 40 tackles, 10 more than any other Cowboy, along with 6.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one forced fumble and one interception. OSU needs him to continue to be a versatile playmaker in the middle of its defense.