Oklahoma State's Keith Toston: From Backup to Star

Curtis Finchum@CRose24Correspondent INovember 11, 2009

AUSTIN, TX - OCTOBER 25:  Running back Keith Toston #5 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys runs for a touchdown against the Texas Longhorns at Texas Memorial Stadium on October 25, 2008 in Austin, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Oklahoma State has always been known for its running backs, from Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas, Tatum Bell, and Vernand Morency, to the new era of Kendall Hunter, Keith Toston, and Beau Johnson.

This year however—after some major injuries and set backs—a backup, who's been in a Cowboy uniform for four years, has gained at shot at being the star...and he's delivered.

After Hunter, who was the Big 12's leading rusher in 2008, went down with a severe ankle injury, head coach Mike Gundy turned to his consistent pound-for-pound senior, Toston.

Even with a struggling offensive line at the beginning of the season, Toston kept producing for the Cowboys as they began to round about their solid play, even after the loss of All-American Dez Bryant.

Toston has averaged a team high 5.6 yards a carry and contributes around 98.0 yards a game on the ground. Not including his solid production in the passing game, Toston absolutely torched the Iowa State Cyclones running for over 200 yards and three scores.

Toston has become "Mr. Reliable" on offense; his frame supports the Cowboy running game while Hunter attempts to return to form, and Johnson's sporadic play continues. He has proven that even in Oklahoma State's spread offense, where speed is a great asset, that it is not needed. He is built as a power runner weighing in at 206 lbs.

Toston has also rushed for over 100 yards three times this season, and as the young receiving core continues to develop down the stretch of the season, his ability to jump-start the Cowboy running game will only grow.

Senior Zac Robinson also just so happens to be the most efficient passer in the Big 12. With the continued growth of his young receivers and solid production from the touted senior Toston, Robinson and the Cowboys' offensive attack will continue to exploit its opponents weaknesses with its overall balance.

Three games remain in a regular season filled with both controversy and ecstasy. Its time to find out if the Cowboys can finish what they started behind the strength of Toston.