Rudolph, Hill and a pick-6 top the list
Chatter of OSU’s many and various weapons has carried on for months, and not without reason. For Cowboys fans, it’s a tantalizing talking point. For Cowboys opponents, it creates a pick-your-poison problem.
So it was Saturday at Pitt, where OSU needed only a half to put up staggering offensive stats, many through the air. But was another aerial assault of the Panthers set up by Justice Hill?
On the game’s first possession, Hill ran three straight times for 33 yards, including the final 20 for a touchdown, charging through a gaping hole over the right side. That made it 7-0 and Pitt knew it had more to account for than the pass.
Ben Roethlisberger makes his living at Heinz Field, as a big, brawny quarterback who can fend off defenders and deliver a strike. Fittingly then, Mason Rudolph played the part Saturday, before Big Ben takes the stage Sunday.
On a third-and-11 play from the OSU 31, Rudolph was flushed form the pocket, spun left, shredded the grasp of Pitt defensive tackle Rashad Weaver, stepped out of an ankle grasp of end Julian Desire’ and found Marcell Ateman, who completed a 69-yard touchdown play with a romp down the sideline.
It was the play of the game and maybe a moment to remember come Heisman time.
PICK AND ROLL
The Cowboys were well in control, leading 49-14 early in the third quarter. Still, Pitt had just ended Rudolph’s school-record streak of throws without an interception at 216 with a takeaway on its own 2.
If the Cowboys QB was feeling down, Justin Phillips offered a pick-me-up two plays later, intercepting Panthers QB Ben DiNucci at the 10 and covering the distance from there for a touchdown. For the Cowboys defense, which played solidly all day, it was the third touchdown in three games — one each — giving OSU 42 non-offensive touchdowns since 2010.
Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Dinucci was 13-of-25 passing with two interceptions after replacing starting quarterback Max Browne on Saturday. One of the interceptions was returned for a touchdown by OSU’s Justin Phillips.
Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph passes over Pittsburgh’s Elijah Zeise in the first quarter Saturday. Rudolph was 23-of-32 passing for 497 yards and five touchdowns in the win.
Oklahoma State running back Justice Hill breaks away from Pittsburgh defensive back Dennis Briggs on a touchdown run in the first quarter of the Cowboys’ 59-21 win in Pittsburgh.