#26 Oklahoma State 2018 Football Preview

Oklahoma State Cowboys
Overall Rank: #26
#5 Big 12
 Oklahoma State Logo
Oklahoma State has won ten games in three straight seasons. The Cowboys and Coach Mike Gundy have emerged as a consistent and dangerous program. There are certainly some big holes to fill this year, but OSU has playmakers that are capable of stepping up and continuing the success.
2017 Record: 10-3, 6-3
2017 Bowl: Camping World Bowl vs. Virginia Tech (W 30-21)
Coach: Mike Gundy (114-53 at Oklahoma State, 114-53 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Yurcich
Defensive Coordinator: Jim Knowles
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Justice Hill, RB, 1,467 yards
Passing: Taylor Cornelius, QB, 148 yards
Receiving: Jalen McCleskey, WR, 645 yards
Tackles: Justin Phillips, LB, 64
Sacks: Jordan Brailford, DE, 5.0
Interceptions: AJ Green, CB, 4
Other Key Returnees: RB JD King, WR Dillon Stoner, OL Marcus Keyes, LB Calvin Brundage, CB Rodarius Williams, P Zach Sinor
Key Losses: QB Mason Rudolph, WR James Washington, WR Marcell Ateman, OL Brad Lundblade, OL Zachary Crabtree, DT DeQuinton Osborne, LB Chad Whitener, DB Tre Flowers, S Ramon Richards
The departure of quarterback Mason Rudolph and wide receiver James Washington leaves some big questions on offense. Rudolph threw for 4,904 yards and 37 touchdowns and 1,549 yards and 13 of those touchdowns went to Washington. Fellow wide receiver Marcell Ateman will also need to be replaced after catching 59 passes for 1,156 yards and eight scores. Taylor Cornelius has the most experience at Oklahoma State, but Hawaii graduate transfer Dru Brown and freshman Spencer Sanders could also see some time replacing Rudolph at quarterback. Jalen McCleskey is the most experienced wide receiver, but Coach Gundy has a ton of talent and potential waiting in the wings to help replace Washington and Ateman. Oklahoma State also returns the Big 12’s top rusher Justice Hill. He rushed for 1,467 yards and 15 touchdowns and can take on an even bigger role this year while the team ushers in a new signal caller.
With their high powered offense, this is a team that is going to be involved in shootouts and give up points. But the Cowboys have performed relatively well on the defensive side of the ball over the last few years and now return seven starters. But the Cowboys did make a change at coordinator in an effort to boost productivity. The front six returns all starters except tackle DeQuinton Osborne. Osborne is a significant loss, but Jordan Brailford and Darrion Daniels will get to the quarterback. Linebackers Justin Phillips and Calvin Bundage are experienced players who will garner plenty of tackles. The secondary has some concerns though. A.J. Green and Rodarius Williams are back at cornerback, but there is not much depth behind them and all three safeties will be new starters.
The Bottom Line:
The big story heading into the season will be at quarterback. With games against Missouri State and South Alabama to start the campaign, Oklahoma State will have some time to develop and find a quarterback. After that the schedule gets much more difficult, starting with an interesting home date with Boise State on September 15th. If the Cowboys can win that contest, they will head into Big 12 play as a contender to win the conference.
Projected Bowl: Liberty Bowl
2017 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 179.8 (47th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 389.2 (1, 1)
Total Offense: 568.9 (2, 2)
Scoring Offense: 45.0 (4, 2)
Rushing Defense: 140.7 (38, 5)
Pass Defense: 268.6 (116, 7)
Total Defense: 409.3 (79, 5)
Scoring Defense: 29.4 (85, 6)
Turnover Margin: 0.23 (46, 6)
Sacks: 2.31 (44, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 1.85 (52, 4)
Madness 2019 NFL Draft Rankings:
#47 Justice Hill
Madness 2018 Recruit Rankings:
#158 C.J. Moore
#180 Spencer Sanders