Oklahoma State Football: 5 Startling Statistics from Cowboys' 2013 Campaign
The Oklahoma State Cowboys began the season as the favorites to win their second Big 12 Conference Championship.
Unfortunately, after starting the season with three solid wins, the Pokes have begun the conference season with a 1-1 record, which includes a surprising upset loss to the West Virginia Mountaineers.
Obviously, it's tough to pin down any one reason why Oklahoma State's season isn't going to plan; however, there are a few key stats that do a good job of painting the picture of OSU's early season struggles.
144.8 Average Rush Yards Per Game
Historically, the Oklahoma State Cowboys have prided themselves on being able to run and pass the ball equally well.
That has not been the case in 2013.
The Pokes currently rank 82nd nationally in rush yards per game. This is surprising considering quarterback J.W. Walsh is widely known as a dangerous dual-threat QB.
Simply said, OSU isn't getting it done in the rushing game, making it much more difficult to get the offense rolling like Cowboys' fans are used to.
361.2 Yards Given Up Per Game
This list can't be all negative.
As plodding as the Oklahoma State offense has been this so far this season, the defense looks much-improved from 2012.
True, the Cowboys haven't played many of the Big 12's potent offenses, but they are currently giving up almost 60 yards less per game than they did last season.
However, that's not the most significant statistic for the attacking Pokes' defense.
12 Total Takeaways
In the 13 games Oklahoma State played last season, their defense forced just 14 takeaways.
Through five games in 2013, the same unit has already forced 12 turnovers.
In fact, the Pokes might just be warming up. They had five takeaways this past weekend against Kansas State and look poised to continue making big plays with their new-look defense.
OSU is much more aggressive under defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer and, so far, it's working for them.
55.6 Percent on Field Goal Attempts
Sorry Cowboys' fans, Quinn Sharp's near-perfect kicking leg is no longer on the team.
In his place, freshman Ben Grogan is a measly 5-of-9 on field goal attempts this season, including a devastating missed chip-shot against West Virginia two weeks ago.
It's possible Grogan will improve; after all, he did convert four-of-his-five attempts against Kansas State this Saturday.
That said, Oklahoma State's special teams needs to continue improving if they hope to get back into the Big 12 title race.
Jeremy Smith's 3.7 Yards Per Carry
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are uncharacteristically average on offense this season, and a lot of that has to do with the running game, as previously mentioned.
A large part of the problem is the fact that starting running back Jeremy Smith is averaging a paltry 3.7 yards per carry.
I would hesitate to put all the blame on Smith, as his offensive line isn't exactly playing up to OSU standards, but the talented, young back needs to make a bigger impact to help his team.
Smith is a senior leader who was poised to be the next in a long line of great Cowboys' running backs. If he doesn't step up quickly, this season could turn into a disaster.