Video game num­bers

Tulsa World - - Around The Nation - — Mark Cooper, Tulsa World

The points per drive statis­tic is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly more com­mon in col­lege foot­ball as an ef­fi­ciency met­ric that can (some­what) bring to­gether the dif­fer­ent styles of play seen in var­i­ous con­fer­ences. It’s a statis­tic that de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor Glenn Spencer has men­tioned of­ten over the years.

Ok­la­homa State ven­tured into an un­fath­omable realm in the first half, though: The Cow­boys were scor­ing points by the play.

In the first half of OSU’s 59-21 vic­tory over Pitts­burgh at Heinz Field, the Cow­boy of­fense scored 49 points … on 46 plays.

The first-team of­fense only ap­peared for four plays in the se­cond half — the fi­nal one be­ing a Ma­son Ru­dolph in­ter­cep­tion. With Ru­dolph on the field, OSU nearly av­er­aged a point per play.

In seven first-half drives, not count­ing a kneel down at the end of the half, Ok­la­homa State scored seven touch­downs. And it went a sparkling nine-of-nine on third down with its start­ing quar­ter­back tak­ing the snap.

“That’s an ex­plo­sive team,” Pitts­burgh cor­ner­back Avonte Mad­dox said. “Ex­plo­sive quar­ter­back, ex­plo­sive re­ceivers, ex­plo­sive back.”

In­ter­cep­tions were keep­ers

Tre Flow­ers leapt and came down with an in­ter­cep­tion in the red zone on the side of the field near the Pitts­burgh bench.

He then cra­dled the foot­ball across the field to the Ok­la­homa State side­line, where he con­tin­ued to hang on to it.

All the way to the Cow­boy bench. “I wanted to take it home, but they found it,” Flow­ers said.

The in­ter­cep­tion was one of two for The Cow­boys. Justin Phillips re­turned a pick 10 yards for his se­cond pick-six in as many weeks.

Flow­ers pre­vented Pitts­burgh from scor­ing on a drive that lasted nine plays. The in­ter­cep­tion was the third of his ca­reer but the first since Nov. 7, 2015 against TCU.

Through three games, OSU has six take­aways — three fum­bles and three in­ter­cep­tions.

Cow­boy health a con­cern

With the vic­tory well in hand, Zachary Crab­tree stood with his Ok­la­homa State of­fen­sive line­men in the se­cond half Satur­day in a black T-shirt and sweat­pants.

His left foot was in a pro­tec­tive boot.

Fif­teen yards south of Crab­tree, Chris Lacy stood with his fel­low re­ceivers in a T-shirt and shorts.

His right arm was in a sling.

If there was any blem­ish on the 59-21 win over Pitts­burgh, it was the in­jury scares.

The Cow­boys lost Lacy in the first quar­ter be­fore he could catch a pass, and Crab­tree ex­ited soon af­ter­ward with a toe in­jury.

OSU, of course, was fine at re­ceiver with four 100-yard per­for­mances, and red­shirt fresh­man Teven Jenk­ins held down Crab­tree’s right tackle po­si­tion.

Gundy said after the game he ex­pects both play­ers to re­turn to the field soon.

“I think (Crab­tree) will be fine,” Gundy said. “We had a de­cent lead there. It was a deal where you sprain your big toe. It gets sore. In the ‘80s, when we were tough, they would have in­jected it and put him back out there.”

He added on Lacy: “I think he’ll be fine. He had a slight (right-shoul­der is­sue.)”

:08, THIRD QUAR­TER

OSU punter Zach Si­nor was un­able to col­lect a high snap from cen­ter. The foot­ball rolled into the end zone. Si­nor eas­ily could have fallen onto the ball, with the re­cov­ery re­sult­ing in a safety, but in­stead he whiffed on an at­tempt to boot the ball out of the end zone. Pitt re­cov­ered for a touch­down.

UN­SUNG HERO

KEITH SRAKO­CIC/AP

Ok­la­homa State run­ning back Jus­tice Hill (right) avoids Pitts­burgh de­fen­sive back Jazzee Stocker on his way to a touch­down in the se­cond quar­ter on Satur­day in Pitts­burgh.

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