Oklahoma State was supposed to have a rebuilding year after losing a lot of key players both on offense and defense, including exceptional talent like Mason Rudolph and James Washington. However, the Cowboys have put up high offensive numbers over the past three games, including beating a ranked Boise State team 44-21. It looks like this team is as good as it’s ever been, especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Here are a few Cowboys to watch this Saturday as the Red Raiders travel to Stillwater for their first true road test of this season.
QB Taylor Cornelius
Cornelius is a West Texas native (Bushland) who finally gets to see some starting time for the Cowboys after sitting behind Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh for the past five seasons. Cornelius has a strong arm and established himself as one of the top quarterbacks in the Big 12, ranking second behind Texas Tech’s very own Alan Bowman. Cornelius averages 24 rushing yards per game, has the ability to prolong plays and make long throws. He totaled seven touchdowns and 971 yards through three games, but has three interceptions and seven sacks.
“He’s done a nice job at quarterback,” Texas Tech Coach Kliff Kingsbury said. “He’s big, tough, hangs in the pocket, sheds tackles, and keeps things alive with his feet. I’m very impressed by him and have a ton of respect for him to be there five years and wait his time.”
RB Justice Hill
Justice is an experienced running back who led the Big 12 in rushing yards (1,467) and touchdowns (15) last season. After three games, he ranks second in the Big 12 in rushing with 277 yards and four touchdowns. He averages 8.1 yards per carry and has a long rush of 92 yards. Against both Missouri State and Boise State, Hill totaled over 100 rushing yards. It’s going to be hard to contain Hill because of his elusiveness in the backfield, but if the defense can hold him to a limited number of yards this game, Texas Tech will increase its chance to win on Saturday.
"He's as good as anybody in the country,” Kingsbury said. “He can catch the ball, finish his runs, and is very, very fast. He's just gotten better and better as we've seen him and he's going to be as good a back as we'll play all year."
WR Tylan Wallace
As one of Oklahoma State’s top wide receivers this year, Wallace is really making a name for himself. He’s third in the Big 12 rankings behind Tech’s Antoine Wesley and Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown with 319 total yards and two touchdowns. He’s also had two 100+ yard games. Tech’s secondary has a huge game ahead of them because of not only Wallace, but other receivers like Jalen McCleskey, Dillon Stoner and Chuba Hubbard.
“The Wallace kid is really showing up this year on film, Stoner’s back, McCleskey is a dynamic player,” Kingsbury said. “They do a tremendous job coaching those receivers, developing that position, just like we do here. They take a lot of pride in the wide receiver position, and every year they have a new guy that kind of steps up and takes over for them.”
BONUS: DE Jordan Brailford and LB Calvin Bundage
This game between the Red Raiders and Cowboys is probably going to be a shootout, but Oklahoma State has a lot of good defenders who will make it extremely hard for Tech to get the ball downfield. Brailford and Bundage both rank in the top 10 on defense in the Big 12 and account for six total sacks. Bundage has 17 tackles so far and Brailford has seven. These two guys will be a force to reckon with on Saturday for the Red Raiders.