A look at the Big 12: Oklahoma State preview


Rachael Maltby/O'Colly

Former ISU linebacker Jevohn Miller attempts to stop OSU ball carrier Desmond Roland at the goal line at the end of the first half on Oct. 4 in Stillwater, Okla. Roland was ruled short of the goal line on the field, but replay officials controversially overturned the call and said it was a touchdown. The Cyclones fell to the Cowboys, 37-20. 

Luke Manderfeld

The Oklahoma State Cowboys managed to sneak into a bowl game last season, going 6-6 in the regular season, but still finished with the team’s worst record since 2007.

The Cowboys toppled Washington in the Cactus Bowl, 30-22, but it did little to hide the team’s problems.

Oklahoma State finished 94th in the NCAA in total yards allowed (5,247) and 79th in total yards gained (4,925).

Despite the poor season, the Cowboys have much to look forward to. With a seemingly solid quarterback in Mason Rudolph taking the offensive reigns and a defensive end in Emmanuel Ogbah who will boost the defense, Oklahoma State appears to be a good bet for a winning record.


It took Oklahoma State’s head coach Mike Gundy until week 10 to give quarterback Mason Rudolph a start. When Daxx Garman, now a Maryland transfer, went down with an injury, Gundy called Rudolph’s number. 

Rudolph’s statistics didn’t pop out in his three games, but his wins against Oklahoma and Washington in the Cactus Bowl, did.

In those three starts, Rudolph threw for 853 yards in 86 attempts and garnered a 57 percent completion rate. His best game came in the Cactus Bowl, as he threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns. 

Rudolph was sacked eight times in three games, leaving fans and analysts alike wondering how the Cowboys’ offensive line will hold up this upcoming season. 

The line will be led in poundage by redshirt junior Victor Salako. The 6-foot-6, 330-pound left tackle was free to transfer to Oklahoma State following the dissolution of UAB’s football program. 

The steadiness up front comes from redshirt junior center Paul Lewis, who started all 13 games for the Cowboys last season.

If the offensive line can protect Rudolph, the receiving core for Oklahoma State may be its most deadly offensive weapon. 

With senior receiver Brandon Sheperd leading the charge, the receivers will return their top three players from last season. 

Sheperd led the team with 737 receiving yards and 18.90 yards per catch on his way to becoming a leader on offense.

The Cowboys’ passing game may be strong in the 2015-16 season, but they still leave question marks at the running back position.

After finishing last season with 1,776 yards — 95th in the NCAA — Oklahoma State’s running game left much to be desired. 

The team attempted to address those concerns in the offseason, adding four-star recruit Chris Carson, who may be in for significant playing time early in the upcoming season.


At first glance, the Cowboys’ upcoming defense seems like it could improve on its poor showing last season. 

Big 12 defensive lineman of the year Emmanuel Ogbah will be the main star on the other side of the ball for Oklahoma State. His 11 sacks and 17 tackles for loss led the team. 

On the other side of the defensive line will be senior defensive end Jimmy Bean. Bean tallied 3.5 sacks along with six tackles for a loss while amassing 42 tackles overall. 

Behind the two up front will be senior linebacker Ryan Simmons, who finished second on the team in tackles with 96 and third on the team in tackles for loss with 12. 

In a defense that ranked 111th in passing yards allowed, cornerback Kevin Peterson and safety Jordan Sterns were the lone stars in the secondary.

Peterson led the defense with 11 pass breakups and finished second in interceptions with two while playing in all 13 games for the Cowboys last season. 

Sterns enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2014, leading the team with 103 tackles to go along with his 4.5 tackles for loss. 

Oklahoma State opens its season against Central Michigan on Sept. 3.