#13 Oklahoma State Football 2012 Preview

Oklahoma State Cowboys

Overall Rank: #13
#2 Big 12
Oklahoma State College Football 2012 Team Preview
Oklahoma State Team Page


Oklahoma State had its best season in its history in 2011.  After a media meltdown a few seasons ago, head coach Mike Gundy has led his alma mater to the apex of college football.  They were one overtime away from the national championship game.  Superstars Justin Blackmon and quarterback Brandon Weeden were nearly unstoppable on the offensive side of the ball.  They have since been drafted into the NFL, so now there is some question as to where Oklahoma State stands going into 2012.  Cowboy nation would love for their team to post another one loss season.  Are they thinking national championship in 2012 or have they lost too many pieces?

2011 Record: (12-1)
2011 Bowl:  Fiesta Bowl vs Stanford (W 41-38 OT)
Coach: Mike Gundy (59-30)
Offensive Coordinator: Todd Monken
Defensive Coordinator:  Bill Young, Glenn Spencer

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Joseph Randle, RB, 1,216 yards
Passing: Clint Chelf, QB, 307 yards
Receiving: Tracy Moore, WR, 672 yards
Tackles: Daytawion Lowe, S, 97
Sacks: Nigel Nicholas, DE, 2; Daytawion Lowe, S, 2
Interceptions: Justin Gilbert, CB, 5; Brodrick Brown, CB, 5

Other Key Returnees: LB Alex Elkins, LB Shaun Lewis, OL Lane Taylor, P/K Quinn Sharp

Key Losses: QB Brandon Weeden, WR Justin Blackmon, DL Jamie Blatnick, WR Josh Cooper

Oklahoma State led the Big 12 in both passing offense and scoring offense and were second in the nation in both as well.  Blackmon caught 1,522 of Weeden’s 4,727 yards passing.  Those are astronomical numbers.  It would be nearly impossible for those numbers to be duplicated this season with both of those players moving on.  Weeden had a season to remember and he went untouched for most of the year.  The offensive line allowed less than a sack per game in 2011.  We will see if they can do the same for a new quarterback this coming season.  One of the most important stats in football was also owned by the Cowboys.  They led the nation in turnover margin at nearly plus-2 per game.  That generally masks any defensive deficiencies a team may have.

For as much as Oklahoma State torched defenses last season, their defense was not very good in its own right.  Their rushing defense yielded 184 yards per game and their pass defense was one of the worst in the nation.  At 271 yards per game, they ranked 107th in the FBS.  With the offense most likely not being as strong in 2012 as it was in 2011, giving up 456 yards per game this season is probably not going to be acceptable for the Cowboys.  They were also abysmal in punt and kick-off returns.  They were fifth worst team in the nation in punt returns last year.  Improvement in that area would help out the quarterback as well as the offense as a whole this year.

The Bottom Line:
As previously stated, it would be unreasonable to expect as much from Oklahoma State this coming season.  They return their leading rusher in Joseph Randle, a 1,000 yard runner, but no one else of note returns offensively.  Coach Gundy is known for a high-flying offense that gains yardage in big chunks.  There will be a lot on the quarterback’s shoulders this season whether it turns out to be Wes Lunt, Clint Chelf or J.W. Walsh.  The 2012 season will have to be a collaborative effort between the offense and the defense.  Back end improvements in the secondary must take place in order for the Cowboys to have another great season under Gundy.  This is a difficult team to forecast, but somewhere between eight and 10 wins seems likely.

Projected Bowl:  Sugar Bowl

2011 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 158.62 (58th in nation, 9th in conference)
Passing Offense:  387.23 (2, 1)
Total Offense: 545.85 (3, 2)
Scoring Offense: 48.69 (2, 1)
Rushing Defense: 184.92 (90, 6)
Pass Defense: 271.85 (107, 7)
Total Defense: 456.77 (107, 7)
Scoring Defense: 26.77 (61, 4)
Turnover Margin: 1.62 (1, 1)
Sacks: 2.23 (36, 4)
Sacks Allowed: .92 (11, 3)

Madness 2013 NFL Draft Rankings:
#84 Justin Gilbert
#100 Joseph Randle