The OSU Cowboys are in the AP Top 25, debuting at 21, after lightning, both natural and man-made, crackled across Boone Pickens Stadium Saturday night during Oklahoma State's 26-13 win over Kansas State.
Cowboys running back Chuba Hubbard, the nation's leading rusher and lightning fast, piled up a career-high 296 yards including an 84-yard TD run and the Pokes withstood about a 70 minute weather delay as rain pored down for about 10 minutes but lightning flashed for several more.
A sellout crowd of more than 55,500 moved to the concourses under the stadium stands while the storm blew through. Most all of them returned after the weather calmed down to watch the Cowboy defense throttle the Wildcats for much of the game. K-State was held to just 244 total yards (126 rushing and 118 passing) in one of the more impressive defensive games we've seen from OSU in recent years.
“The players really bought into the plan," defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said. "The plan had to be a little different. I don’t think our guys had ever seen an I-formation before. The coaches did a great job and we were 100 percent bought in. We knew we had to be physically tough to stop the run. We knew what happened last year. We held them to three points in the first half and then they drove the ball in the second half and we couldn’t stop the run. It was a challenge to the players and they responded.”
It was a performance Mike Gundy wasn't sure he'd see from his defense.
"I'll be honest with you. I was a little surprised we could be that strong versus the run against them. After I watched them play Mississippi State I was a little concerned. Mississippi State has got some big, strong guys and Kansas State handled them on both sides of the ball. Our guys played really well. We had a good scheme and our guys played low. I don't know that we missed maybe but one or two tackles. We tackled really well and played disciplined football."
The delay didn't seem to have too much of an impact, especially with the Cowboys. They came out energized and the fans responded. OSU had to shuffle things around on the offensive line with a couple of linemen out with injuries. Even with those challenges the line responded and played well, opening holes for Hubbard to run through. Offensivie coordinator Sean Gleeson loved the efforts of Hubbard and the O-Line.
“He was tremendous. It was one of those deals where you really didn’t know how it was going to go because we had some guys up front who were out of place. Coach Dickey did a great job, it was a special week for him this week. Those guys performed great and Chuba is just a great player. We balanced out his carries a little bit and felt like he had a good workload."
Hubbard, after 32 carries against Tulsa and 37 more against Texas, had just 25 on Saturday. That's still a bit more than Gundy and Gleeson would like but Hubbard has seemed unaffected by the heavy use. Hubbard continues to lead the nation in rushing with almost 1,000 yards in five games.
You can see Mike Gundy's postgame news conference and much more in the blocks below.