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OSU Football: Pokes must defend their territory

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OSU receiver James Washington, who has 61 receptions for 1,317 yards and 11 TDs, is the odds-on favorite to win the Biletnikoff Award. He currently has received 74 percent of the fan vote at polldaddy.com
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Home field advantage, the art of defending a team’s turf in football, is usually good for a few extra points in a game. The home team players get to sleep in their beds and don’t have to be exposed to the fatigue of travel.

The No. 18 Oklahoma State Cowboys (8-3, 5-3 Big 12) haven’t defended their turf successfully as they lost their third home game this year—a 45-40 setback to Kansas State.

The Wildcats rolled to a 42-13 lead in the first 25 minutes. The Pokes fought back with four touchdowns while holding K-State to a field goal to trail, 45-40, with four minutes remaining.

After forcing the Cats to punt on their next series, OSU had a little more than two minutes to win the game. Quarterback Mason Rudolph failed to complete a pass on the next four plays.

Rudolph had one of his worst games of the year. Yes, he threw for 425 yards and three touchdowns, but he was intercepted twice and sacked four times. His second interception set up

KSU’s fourth touchdown. K-State quarterback Skylar Thompson completed 10 of 13 for 204 yards and 3 TDs. He also rushed for 93 yards and a touchdown.

Now, OSU must defend its turf one more time—on senior day. The 23 seniors, who will play their final game (11 a.m. FS1) in an orange and black uniform, would be more embarrassed to lose their fourth home game of the season to Kansas (1-10, 0-8). The Jayhawks gave Oklahoma fits for about a quarter last weekend before succumbing to a 41-3 loss in Lawrence.

KU is not just a bottom feeder in the Big 12 Conference, but in the country. The Jayhawks are listed at 108th in the College Football News rankings and 121st by CBS Sports. Kansas’ offense ranks 122nd in scoring (18.8 average) and 111th in total yards (337). Its defense ranks 128th in points allowed (42.1) and 112th yards allowed (450.8).

The Cowboys are still the second-best offense in the country with 45.2 points and 567.9 yards per game. They top the nation in passing with 383.1 yards per outing. Rudolph continues to lead all quarterbacks with a 374.1-yard average. The Hawks are awful against the pass by giving up 278.8 yards (121st) a game.

Rudolph also has the best receiver in the country as his primary target. James Washington’s 119.7-yard average is the best among all receivers. Washington will win the Biletnikoff Award as the best receiver in the country. Teammate Marcell Ateman has stepped up the last three games with 16 grabs for 276 yards and 4 TDs. Washington and Ateman have combined for 2,259 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns.

The Sooners weren’t very motivated against KU, and OSU should not just think they can walk onto Lewis Field and believe they can win just by showing up.

“You know what’s interesting with them (the Jayhawks) is that I know what their record is, but they’ve had times either on offense or defense where they've played pretty good,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “You watch the Oklahoma game and wonder, ‘If (Baker) Mayfield isn’t playing, how many points would they have?’ Then you watch the Texas game, where offensively they score points–twice as many as we did when we were in Austin. That's kind of what I get when I see them.”

The Jayhawks will play for pride, and the Cowboys should do the same. After all, a good bowl game is still a possibility for Oklahoma State.

Rudolph, Washington, and Ateman will light up the KU secondary. The defense must keep KU quarterback Carter Stanley from doing the same. OSU’s defense has forced 21 turnovers (15 INTs and 6 fumbles).

FAST FACTS

*OSU leads the series 36-29- 2, including seven straight victories.

*OSU leads 15-14- 1 in Stillwater, including three straight wins.

*OSU is favored by 40.

*Gundy’s coaching record: 112-53 (.679) overall; 8-1 vs. KU; 62-22 at home; 68-42 vs. Big 12

opponents; 90-22 vs. unranked foes.

*KU coach David Beaty’s record: 3-32 (.086) overall; 0-2 vs. OSU; on the road; 0-15 on the

road; 1-25 vs. Big 12 foes; 0-9 vs. ranked opponents.

*KU has lost an NCAA record 45 straight road games the last road win came on September 12,

2009.

*OSU is 7-4- 2 in games played on November 25.

*KU is 5-6- 1 in games played on November 25.

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About the Author

Ray Dozier

Ray Dozier is the author of Legends of Oklahoma Sooners Football and two editions of The...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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