Before Saturday, Cincinnati had yet to allow a 100-yard rusher. But they’d yet to play someone like Ollie Gordon, either. OSU’s sophomore star racked up 271 yards on 25 carries to continue his red-hot stretch.
STILLWATER — Great sequels are hard to pull off.
Sophomore Ollie Gordon’s stardom soared last week after a box-office performance at West Virginia where he rushed for 282 yards and four touchdowns. Saturday, with expectations heightened after a racking up 842 total yards in four games, Gordon faced his toughest task yet.
Entering the game, Cincinnati’s defense allowed 3.2 yards per carry, tied for best in the Big 12. The Bearcats’ best defensive lineman is a 318-pound nose tackle named Dontay Corleone.
Gordon shredded Corleone and the Bearcats for 271 rushing yards and two touchdownsin the Cowboys’ 45-13 victory.
“It was good on good,” offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn said. “We’re running the ball. We know right now that we have to run the ball. We knew that they were really good against the run. We challenged the offensive line, we challenged the backs.”
OSU had just 79 rushing yards at the half and the Cowboys took a meager 10-7 lead into the locker room.
Eventually Gordon broke through. About two minutes into the third quarter, Gordon ripped off a 42-yard gain on third-and-1. He ran 39 yards with 5:56 in the third quarter, and kept the blows coming. Then, from the OSU 25-yard line with 4:54 remaining and four rushing yards shy of 200, he took a handoff up the gut and steamed through the Bearcats beleaguered defense for one final big play.
“It was literally the red sea had parted,” Gordon said. “Up front, they are handling business. Our tight ends and fullbacks opening gaps. Once I saw the green grass I said I have to run. This is for the big guys up front.”
On Saturday, Gordon joined Barry Sanders as the only Cowboys to rush for more than 250 yards in consecutive games.
“It’s exciting,” Gordon said. “I just know my O-line is going to handle their business. It’s great. Then we’ve got quarterback (Alan Bowman) that’s great. He’s going to read everything well.”
OSU has scored at least 39 points in its past three games and moved into a five-way tie for first in the Big 12 standings.
“Where we are right now, it’s the best it’s been all year,” Gordon said.
Life is good when you’ve racked up 978 rushing yards in the past five games. Gordon said the tear he’s been on has netted him thousands of Instagram followers. The crowd in Boone Pickens Stadium chanted his name on multiple occasions Saturday and now he’s just hoping for an NIL deal from Olive Garden.
Get it, he asked? Ollie, Olive.
Humility is as big of a challenge as anything, now.
“We have to give (Gordon) credit for what he’s done,” coach Mike Gundy said. “It’s not like it’s the first game he’s done this. I’ve told him, and I’ll tell him again when I see him tomorrow or Monday. He has to stay hungry and he has to stay humble. Period. Or you’ll get your block knocked off.”
He finished with 25 carries and averaged 10.8 yards per carry, well over the 3.2 figure Cincinnati’s defense had limited ball carriers too. Dunn said Gordon’s efficiency is propelling OSU.
“With Ollie, you start there with Oklahoma State right now, for sure,” offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn said. “You’ve got to stop Ollie and that opens a lot of avenues and opportunities for other players. That’s what it is.”