Oklahoma State Cowboys
After a quarterback battle, which saw expected starter Wes Lunt transfer and eventually end up at Illinois, sophomore J.W. Walsh was handed the reins of the high-powered Oklahoma State offense full-time and has handled everything about as well as he can. On the year, Walsh is completing just a little over 60% of his throws for 1209 yards and nine touchdowns. His one bad outing came in the upset loss to West Virginia in which he threw two of his three total interceptions on the season so far in that contest. His 265 yards running the ball also leads all quarterbacks in the conference.
Rest of offense: B
As is usual with this program under Mike Gundy, the passing game is just fine. They’re averaging just over 300 yards per game through the air which holds down the no. 22 spot among everyone else in the nation. However, running the ball, now there is where this team has the problem. The leading rusher on the offense is Walsh and his 265 yards. And, let’s face it, Walsh isn’t exactly a dual-threat by any means. Senior Jeremy Smith is next in line with 233, but he does have seven scores. In tight games, though, against evenly-matched opponents, you absolutely need a solid running game to lean on and the Cowboys just don’t have that, which could create some issues as they look to finish out the year.
Defensively, the Cowboys rank 38th in the nation in total defense, including a pretty stout 18th against the rush. However, they’re on the lower-end against the pass as they’re ranked 82nd, giving up over 245 yards per game. That passing statistic is something they’ll need to address immediately, especially with some of the opponents they have coming up to finish the year.
Oklahoma State was the preseason favorite of many to take the entire conference, but they’re sitting at 5th at the moment behind Baylor, Oklahoma, Texas Tech and Texas. There is still time for them to salvage it all, but they can’t afford to lay another egg like they did against West Virginia a few weeks ago.
Offensive spotlight: J.W. Walsh
Walsh is the key to this offense’s success, as have most of the quarterbacks been under Gundy. Hopefully, that sub-par, two interception outing against the Mountaineers was his only huge downfall this year, though, because he nor his team can afford another one.
Defensive spotlight: LB Caleb Lavey
Lavey has slowly emerged as one of the best linebackers, overall, in the entire country, not just the Big 12. Through five games, the senior’s compiled 40 tackles, 6.5 for loss, 1.5 sacks and also has a pick to his credit. To use the famous cliche when talking about someone who plays the likes of Lavey, he just has a nose for the ball.