It’s Week 3 of the season and Oklahoma State football just came off a devastating loss to South Alabama at home. The final score was 33-7, one of the worst non-conference losses Oklahoma State has ever had, especially in the Mike Gundy era.
Running back Ollie Gordon had a total of three carries for four yards. He caught two passes for 14 yards. And he definitely was not the featured offensive player for a team that looked dead in the water. In fact, there was barely any offense at all.
Fast forward to Week 10, and Ollie Gordon isn’t just the best running back in the Big 12, but arguably the country. The Oklahoma State football team has new life, sitting atop of the Big 12 standings with the Texas Longhorns. They have won five games in a row, including topping their in-state rival Oklahoma in what was the final Bedlam game for the foreseeable future.
All thanks to Ollie Gordon.
The sophomore running back came into the season hoping to be the featured back, but had a bit of competition. Senior Michigan State transfer Elijah Collins was talked up by the media, claiming he could supplant Gordon as the primary running back. And sophomore Jaden Nixon split time in 2022 with fellow Oklahoma State running back Dominic Richardson.
Despite his success, Ollie Gordon fans weren’t sure of what his usage might be.
The first three games of the season were a disappointment. The offense in general suffered greatly, with head coach Mike Gundy running with a three-headed quarterback rotation. The offense couldn’t get anything going, either on the ground or through the air.
It looked as if Oklahoma State was destined for a last place finish in the Big 12.
Through those first three games, Ollie Gordon’s stats weren’t anything to write home about. He had less than 20 carries for only 109 yards and two touchdowns. Not a game winning kind of performance you would expect from the sophomore.
Since then though, the Cowboys have significantly turned their season around.
And Gordon is averaging:
- 185 rushing yards per game
- A touchdown a game
- 26.5 receiving yards per game
- 6.7 yards per rush
Those are some stellar stats for a running back on a team that was projected to finish in the bottom half of the Big 12.
Oklahoma State is now ranked number 15 in the College Football Playoff rankings. And Gordon is finally getting some love from the Heisman committee.
According to DraftKings Sportsbook, Gordon’s Heisman odds are finally rising. He’s currently behind six quarterbacks, a wide receiver, and tied with another quarterback. He is the top running back in the nation with the best Heisman odds.
Typically Heisman Trophies have been awarded to quarterbacks.
Since 2000, there have been 19 quarterbacks, three running backs, and one wide receiver to win the award. The last running back to win the award was Derrick Henry for Alabama in 2015.
And through 10 games so far, their resumes are fairly aligned.
- 240 carries
- 1,458 rushing yards
- 19 rushing touchdowns
- 9 catches for 69 yards and 0 touchdowns
- 207 carries
- 1,362 rushing yards
- 14 rushing touchdowns
- 23 catches for 237 and 1 touchdown
Just think of that stat line if Gordon was used in the first three games how he has been used since Week 4.
Now, no one is saying that Gordon is Derrick Henry, but he could be. Gordon is clearly the life force of the entire team. The coaches sheme plays specifically to get him the ball. They even devised a play last week to have him throw. It went for an interception, so not the wisest play, but the thought process is still the same — give our best player the ball somehow.
The Heisman trophy is given out to the best player in college football. And while most teams rely heavily on their quarterbacks to be the the go-to guy, the Oklahoma State Cowboys are relying on their running back to carry them to victory on their shoulders.
Gordon may still be a long shot to win the Heisman, but the nation is finally noticing the star player from Fort Worth, Texas. With three games left in the regular season, Gordon has a chance to get invited to the Heisman ceremony in New York if the team continues to win and be successful in the running back.
Until then, fans of the Oklahoma State Cowboys will carry Gordon on their shoulders the way he has carried this team so far this season.