Pokes’ Running Game Posted One of the Better Performances of the Gundy Era

first_imgThe 332 yards Oklahoma State gained on the ground were the 11th most since Mike Gundy has been coach, but that doesn’t begin to explain how majestic Thursday night’s rushing attack actually was.Oklahoma State hasn’t finished a game with 300 yards passing and 300 more on the ground in five years. In fact, it has only happened four times since 2000.The first part of that equation — the passing number — has been touched countless times. The Cowboys hit that mark six times just last season. As for the rushing attack, 300 yards has only been reached once in the past few years, and it was last year against TCU. As for the last time they were in unison, that was Sept. 15, 2012, against Louisiana Lafayette, the game Wes Lunt got hurt.AdChoices广告It has happened just 17 times in the Gundy era.Thursday night’s 59-24 masterclass of Tulsa in the Cowboys’ 2017 season-opener was rhythmic and dynamic. Offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich had the offense moving quicker than it has in recent years, especially toward the beginning of the game. In fact, it was moving at almost record pace.There were stretches Justice Hill would take three straight carries and earn positive yardage each time. Yurcich had an excellent feel for the tempo and heat of the offense Thursday, which made the Cowboys — already oozing with talent — that much more dangerous.Mason Rudolph said the running game, led by Justice Hill, was great and that whether it was an up-tempo play or a more deliberate one, everything was in sync.“Blocked it well up front, and (I’m) really pleased,” Rudolph said. “Justice just looks different running. I don’t know if you guys saw, but he put on about 20 pounds, and he’s stronger.“Gosh, it’s pretty cool to watch him run and do his thing out there.”Hill himself said he doesn’t feel any different on the field running with it, no heavier than he was last year.“Just be able to break a little bit more tackles, and pass protection is a lot easier,” he said.The projected All-Big 12 sophomore said he was excited after his exceptional performance, and, yeah, that probably makes sense.This is … unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/ujZKendzvZ— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) August 31, 2017That looks like the trailer for a video game.He raked in 132 yards on just 15 carries. That’s 8.8 yards a pop. He toted in a well-earned touchdown, and made plays all night like the one above.Although when Hill talked with Kyle Boone, he said he was more excited for the guys who came in behind him.“I’m really more excited about J.D. (King) and LD (Brown),” Hill said. “They had some great runs.”Boy, that was a fact, and that is why Thursday evening’s assault on the ground was OSU’s best in recent memory. There was unexpected, completely ridiculous depth at a position that lost four of its top guys after last season.King looked Chris Carson-esque multiple times. He burst through the Tulsa defense at times, including what was for a brief time the longest Cowboy run since 2011 that he high-and-tighted in for a score. King was great. Even better than a lot of us thought he would be.As for King holding the longest run title for a “brief time,” Brown (the No. 3 running back) bested King’s 71 yards with a 73-yarder in the fourth quarter.“I liked what I saw from J.D. (King) from a standpoint of thinking he ran physically and protected the ball really well,” said Gundy. “He showed a little bit more burst in the open field than I thought he had. Then, LD (Brown) made a couple of plays and showed that he has the chance to run the ball a little bit. I thought we got some good play from those guys and blocked them pretty good at times.”Hill broke one for 32, and he said there are five guys who are responsible for the knee-grabbers.“It’s the offensive line,” Hill said. “All credit goes to them.”The offensive line look more like a dealership worth of Ford F-150s than five college kids. Gundy said he liked what he saw for the most part. As for the sack-fumble, Gundy said that wasn’t the hog mollies’ fault.“Mason caused his own sack, and the other time he got hit on the outcut that we scored on probably had a really good chance at being intercepted.”Gundy said a lot of the success in the run game came from the backs themselves though. He said in college football, you have to have skilled running backs who can make people miss. It seems OSU has at least three.“We just all push each other no matter what it is,” Hill said. “If it’s studying and watching extra film, we all gotta try to meet up here and do a little extra. If it’s on the field and one person breaks a long run, then another person wants to break a long run. Then if somebody runs somebody over, somebody else wants to run somebody over.”Hill said that’s just how it is, and it makes for great competition. Make for even better theatre, Justice. The numbers the running backs finished with were absurd.Given that Hill is a sophomore, King is a true freshman and Brown is a redshirt freshman, those numbers are eye-popping. And I understand the whole, “It was Tulsa …” argument, but Tulsa is a far cry from last year’s opening team, Southeastern Louisiana. Oklahoma State averaged 3.8 yards on the ground against that team. It averaged 9.0 on Thursday against a Tulsa team that won 10 games last year.As long as the F-150s hold up like they did Thursday and the bowling balls keep rolling toward the pins, the Cowboys should be in fine shape.“It’s gonna be a good year with all three of us,” Hill said.Yes … yes it is. While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img

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