(Editor’s Note: This is the first in our Bedlam Breakdown series. The series will include impact players, critical match-ups and keys to victory for the Cowboys in their effort to defeat the Oklahoma Sooners.)
In an up-and-down year that has not been full of bright spots for the Oklahoma State Cowboys, the emergence of freshman wide receiver James Washington has been noteworthy. Washington, from the tiny town of Stamford, Texas, has wowed with his big play ability even during the Pokes’ five-game Big 12 losing skid.
Washington arrived in Stillwater as an unheralded recruit with a small town stigma. How would his dominance at the 1A level of high school football in Texas translate to the bright lights of the Big 12? That question was answered quickly as Washington began torching some of the best Cowboy cornerbacks in fall camp. His speed and acrobatics earned him playing time and he has consistently produced.
Against the Sooners, Washington can provide the type of game changing plays that can swing the momentum in the Cowboys direction. And in rivalry games, momentum can create an unexpected outcome.
While not the Cowboys’ leading receiver overall, Washington (24 receptions for 398 yards) leads the team with five touchdown receptions and they are not of the run-of-the-mill variety. Four of Washington’s touchdowns have been from over 30 yards out.
This knack for scoring and producing electrifying highlight moments like his 68-yard touchdown reception against Baylor last week will be necessary for Bedlam success. Oklahoma corners Zack Sanchez and Jordan Thomas will try to slow him and Washington will attempt to exploit an Oklahoma secondary that could be without starting senior corner Julian Thomas.
This is all remarkable for a freshman adjusting to the college game. In a season where the quarterback situation has been in flux – J.W. Walsh, Daxx Garmin and now Mason Rudolph – Washington’s growth as a Big 12 receiver is even more remarkable.
Washington has proven he can make big, momentum changing plays regardless of who is at quarterback. His ability could provide Oklahoma State with the difference maker they need for a Bedlam victory.