LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy gets a hard time from some of his quarterback buddies because he loves it when the Cowboys are running the ball.
The 21st-ranked Cowboys (4-1, 1-1 Big 12) go into their game Saturday at Texas Tech with Division I rushing leader Chuba Hubbard and are gaining more yards on the ground than through the air, even though they also have the Big 12’s top receiver.
“I enjoy rushing the football and pounding teams,” Gundy said. “I really like that part of the game.”
Gundy’s playing days as a four-year starting quarterback at Oklahoma State included when Thurman Thomas ran for 1,613 yards in 1987, and when Barry Sanders won the Heisman Trophy the following season with 2,628 yards rushing _ 465 yards more than Gundy had passing as a junior that year.
Hubbard, the breakout sophomore from Canada, already has three 200-yard rushing games this season, including 296 yards against Kansas State last week when the Cowboys were without their two regular offensive tackles. He averages 187.6 yards per game and has run for 10 touchdowns.
“He's patient. I like what they're doing on offense with him,” first-year Texas Tech coach Matt Wells said. “They do a lot of schemes where he's able to read, and then he's strong and physical. ... Certainly a big challenge for our defense.”
A week after Oklahoma had two 100-yard receivers against them in a lopsided win, the Red Raiders (2-2, 0-1) now have to try to slow down Hubbard and receiver Tylan Wallace (123.6 yards receiving a game with six TDs).
“Going against Tylan, we've got to challenge him,” cornerback Zech McPhearson said. “We've got to make him earn everything.”
Since Sanders won the Heisman, 21 of the past 29 recognized winners have been quarterbacks _ including 11 of the last 13. Gundy was asked if Hubbard is the best non-quarterback in Heisman consideration this season.
"Sure, I think it's possible. I think it's comparable to numbers from the past,” Gundy said. “If you stop the race right now, he's in good shape, but we've got a long way to go. He's got to continue to work hard and stay humble, which hasn't been an issue up to this point."
LOADING UP JETT
Graduate transfer Jackson Tyner started at quarterback for the Red Raiders at Oklahoma in their first game without Big 12 passing leader Alan Bowman (shoulder injury). But dual-threat quarterback Jett Duffey came on and was 11-of-20 passing for 120 yards.
“Jett Duffey will be our quarterback moving forward” Wells said. “I saw it in the game first, and then video confirmed it. I thought he was aggressive. I thought he made some good plays. Room for improvement, just like me and the rest of them, but I think he gives us the best chance to win.”
Duffey played in eight games last season, throwing for 1,221 yards and eight touchdowns while adding 369 yards and four TDs rushing.
WINNING ON THE PLAINS
Oklahoma State has won its last five games in Lubbock by an average margin of 53-29. Before that streak began with the 2010 game, the Cowboys had gone 0-10-2 in their previous 12 games there. The Red Raiders upset then-No. 15 Oklahoma State in Stillwater last year, but hasn’t won consecutive games in the series since three in a row from 2000-02.
The Cowboys will be the first Big 12 team to play their sixth game, and get halfway through their regular season schedule. They are the league’s only team that hasn’t yet had one of its two open dates. Their first will come next weekend after the Texas Tech game.
Texas Tech hasn’t won a home game against a Top 25 team since a win over TCU early in the 2013 season. ... Oklahoma State LG Marcus Keyes’ 42 career starts are 12 more than anyone else on the roster. ... Red Raiders LB Jordyn Brooks is second in the Big 12 with 10.2 tackles per game. His 6 ½ tackles for loss are one less than his total all of last season. ... Cowboys dual-threat freshman QB Spencer Sanders ranked third among FBS quarterbacks with 380 rushing yards. He is second in the Big 12 with 13.37 yards passing per completion.