Ollie Gordon’s 284-yard day honors the legacy of OSU’s running backs

Ollie Gordon’s 284-yard day honors the legacy of OSU’s running backs

Gordon is the first Cowboy with more than 100 receiving and rushing yards in a game since Gerald Hudson in 1989. It was fitting on a day Terry Miller was inducted into the Cowboys’ Ring of Honor.

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

| Oct 14, 2023, 10:20pm CDT

Ben Hutchens

By Ben Hutchens

Oct 14, 2023, 10:20pm CDT

STILLWATER — One week ago, Mike Gundy stretched out his arms shoulder-width apart, acting out a conversation he’d had with coach Bob Stoops over a few “Diet Cokes” and “Sprites.”

“I tell you what, in college football, it’s tough to get that much,” Stoops told Gundy at a resort in Arizona. “It’s tough to get one yard nowadays.”

If Stoops caught any of OSU running back Ollie’s Gordon’s performance in the Cowboys’ 39-32 win against Kansas, he might have a different opinion. 

Gordan ran, and received, all over the Jayhawks, totalling 284 all-purpose yards, the most of any OSU skill player this season. Along with two touchdowns, Gordon, a sophomore from Fort Worth, set career-highs in rushing attempts (29) rushing yards (168) and receiving yards (116). 

At age 19, Gordon is the first Cowboy with more than 100 receiving and rushing yards in a game since Gerald Hudson in 1989. It was a performance that compares with past legends of the OSU backfield. At halftime, former Cowboy running back Terry Miller was the fourth player inducted into Cowboy football’s Ring of Honor, joining Thurman Thomas, Barry Sanders and Bob Fenimore.

“Terry Miller? That’s my guy,” Gordon said. “We had our media day and we took a couple pictures with him. I saw him earlier this week and I saw him before the walk and he was just talking to me and he told us to go out and handle business, so I feel like I had to do it for him.”

After splitting reps relatively equally through the first three games with running backs Jaden Nixon and Elijah Collins, Gordon has taken over the backfield, and powered the OSU offense. Nixon, the only other back to register a rush, carried the ball seven times.

“I told you that the backs will rotate, but if a back gets hot, he’s gonna get the ball,” Gundy said. “Fortunately, Ollie is 218 pounds and he’s strong, so when he gets going, it doesn’t affect him as much as it can a young guy or little guy, normal size guy. So when he’s hot, we got to pound him and let him go.”

When did the coaching staff know Gordon was hot? 

“The first play,” offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn said.

OSU opened with a screen pass, getting three linemen in front of Gordon on the left side. The play stung Kansas for 50 yards. 

Dunn said when the play was put in the game plan, he had a feeling it could go for a touchdown. Gundy said Kansas operated with two deep safeties most of the game, which limited OSU’s ability to throw deep but left room for short passes.

So, when Gordon took the ball up the sideline, and four plays later caught a pass in the right flat for a touchdown, nobody was surprised.

“I know that the sideline, offensive line, everybody was locked into that, and when it produced like it did on the first play, obviously the juice that everybody receives off of that goes a long way,” Dunn said.

Dunn said OSU’s offensive line has played better over the past few weeks. Even with OSU’s top run-blocking lineman Dalton Cooper missing after a second-quarter injury, the Cowboys averaged 5.7 yards a carry Saturday, their best mark this season.

Gordon said he gets better as he gets more work.

“Nothing is really given to you, so the fact that they are giving it to me and I got to work for it, it just makes me hungrier to produce,” Gordon said.

After no OSU rusher tallied 100 yards in the first three games, Gordon has surpassed 100 yards in each of the past three games. The Cowboys are 2-1 in the stretch.

Dunn attributed the improved runblocking to the confidence tied with success.

“I think they’re rallying behind Ollie in the run game.” Dunn said. “If you’re a big dog you can kind of get into it and produce a 100-yard rusher but there’s been a lot of enthusiasm behind that.”

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Ben Hutchens and his twin brother Sam cover Oklahoma State for the Sellout Crowd. After a decade of living in the state, Ben finally feels justified in calling himself an Oklahoman. You can reach him at [email protected] and continue the dialogue @Ben_ Hutchens_ on social media.

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