Oklahoma State's season thus far is split into two distinct halves with the first half consisting of their home games against Arkansas State and Florida Atlantic (as always I'm ignoring games played against I-AA opposition) which they won by a combined score of 83-15, and the second half consisting of their road losses at Houston and Kansas State. The particulars of those losses are as follows: the Cowboys lost 34-25 at Houston (where Houston was aided by getting a call that was not allowed, under the rules, to be reviewed overturned) and 31-27 at Kansas State (where Oklahoma State held a 27-17 lead with 4:25 to play).
Oklahoma State's rushing offense has been more effective in their road games against better competition. The Cowboys ran for 4.96 ypc in their first two games, bumping that up to 5.26 ypc in the last two games. Granted, nobody feels special just for running the ball effectively against Houston's defense, but Oklahoma State ran the ball (193 yds, 4.71 ypc) almost as effectively in Manhattan as Louisville did (228 yds, 5.43 ypc) earlier in the season.
SO RB (#29) Mike Hamilton leads the Cowboys in rushing on the year, but 155 of 369 yards came in the season opener against I-AA Missouri State. FR RB (#5) Keith Toston has been the more effective back recently, setting a single-game career high in rushing yards every time out this year. Over the last two weeks, Toston has run for 170 yards and a touchdown on just 22 carries. JR RB (#22) Dantrell Savage missed the first two games of ther year, returning for a big game (8 car, 97 yds, 1 TD) against Florida Atlantic but has received just six carries combines over the last two weeks.
SO QB (#14) Bobby Reid could create problems for the Jayhawk defense similar to those that mobile quarterbacks Matt Grothe and Stephen McGee did. Reid has 35 carries for 163 yards on the year (thanks to the NCAA, that includes yards lost when Reid has been sacked), running for two touchdowns.
Reid has been consistently effective throwing the ball so far this year. Reid gained 9.54 yards per pass attempt against Arkansas State and Florida Atlantic and 9.52 yards per pass attempt at Houston and Kansas State. His worst game (by passing rating), last week against Kansas State is still superior to anything Kansas's quarterbacks have managed in any game thus far.
Reid's preferred target is JR WR (#12) Adarius Bowman. Bowman has 17 receptions for 396 yards and two touchdowns. Listed at 6-4, 220, Bowman will tower over any Kansas DB not named Aqib Talib. Should Talib succeed in slowing down Bowman (and hopefully catching the ball should he make a good play jumping an out route this week), Reid will still have the option of exploiting Kansas's other cornerback in a matchup against SR WR (#84) D'Juan Woods. Woods has only eight catches for 111 yards this year, but he caught 56 passes last year and is third all-time at Oklahoma State in both receptions and receiving yards.
Most of the rest of Reid's passes will be thrown in the direction of SO TE (#87) Brandon Pettigrew (8 rec, 98 yds, 1 TD) and, near the goal line, SO FB (#33) John Johnson (3 catches, 2 TDs on the year).
Whereas Oklahoma State's offense didn't miss a beat when they faced better competition, the Cowboy defense struggled mightily against both Houston and Kansas State.
After holding Arkansas State and Florida Atlantic to 2.15 ypc and 5.19 yards per pass attempt while forcing six turnovers, Oklahoma State allowed Houston and Kansas State to run for 4.58 ypc and gain 11.29 yards per pass attempt while forcing just one turnover. Of particular note to Jayhawk fans eagerly anticpating Kerry Meier's return, Houston QB Kevin Kolb (reports that Charlton Keith still frequents his nightmares are unconfirmed) and K-State
savior QB Josh Freeman ran for a combined 58 yards in their appearances against Houston. In all other games, those two ran for -27 yards, indicting both the Oklahoma State pass rush and their containment.
Ten of Oklahoma State's 17 sacks came in the home games against Arkansas State and Florida Atlantic. Of those 17 sacks, half are attributed to SR DE (#51) Victor De Grande (5 sacks) and JR DE (#13) Nathan Peterson (3.5 sacks). SR DT (#92) Larry Brown has contributed 4.5 tackles-for-loss on the year.
Oklahoma State's leading tacklers are rFR SS (#20) Andre Sexton and FR OLB (#44) Chris Collins (25 tackles each). JR MLB (#2) Rodrick Johnson has 24 tackles on the year. FS JR (#8) Donovan Woods, formerly the Oklahoma State starting QB, has been credited with 22 tackles.
True FR CB/KR/PR (#16) Perrish Cox has been a useful weapon for Oklahoma State so far this year. Cox, in addition to intercepting a pass while performing his CB duties, averages 15.6 yds per punt return and 28 yds per kick return (not including his 96-yard kick return for a TD in the opener against I-AA Missouri State). SR S (#30) Grant Jones added an 89-yard kick return against Kansas State for good measure.
Oklahoma State's kick coverage teams have struggled, though, surrenduring a 95-yard kick return for a touchdown to K-State's Leon Patton last week, and giving up 18.8 yards per punt return on the year. (That includes the 21-yard runback for a touchdown on the blocked punt last week in Manhattan.) Those punt returns seriously limit the effectiveness of SO P (#18) Matt Fodge's 50.4 yard punting average.
SO PK (#85) Jason Ricks is 6-8 on field goals this year, with misses from 40 and 42 yards, and a make from 53 yards. Ricks is 22-22 on extra points. SR PK (#10) Bruce Redden handles the kickoffs and has 13 touchbacks in 35 attempts.