Please, take a few breaths and calm down about the Cowboy quarterback’s woes against Texas.
It had to happen at some point.
After six solid-to-great starts, Oklahoma State quarterback Mason Rudolph finally had a rough game.
Everything seemed to be going fine early against the Longhorns, with the sophomore signal caller and pillar of OSU football hope leading the team on two-straight scoring drives, moving down the field in typical Rudolph fashion, mixing in short and long passes while eluding defenders in the pocket.
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14-3, just like that.
On the Cowboys’ third possession, Rudolph completed two passes for 22 yards after two rushing attempts netted six yards and a holding penalty.
And then the phantom fumble happened, when Rudolph simply lost the ball going back for a pass, and had to helplessly watch as an 800-pound Texas lineman ran the ball in for a score.
No big deal, Rudolph calmly recovered to lead the team on a 63-yard field goal drive. The next possession was killed by an intentional grounding penalty, and resulted in the Cowboys’ only punt of the half.
The Cowboys’ first offensive series in the second half sputtered out, but they were able to rebound on the next possession, marching down the field for a 98-yard scoring drive in what was probably their best series of the entire season thus far.
After that, as we all know, things got weird.
Rudolph had an interception returned for a touchdown, and had a second straight interception on the next series, one throw later. At that point in the game, Rudolph was largely responsible for 24 points on his end, but directly responsible for 14 Texas points.
The melee that ensued after the second interception will forever be inexplicable. Musical chair quarterbacking, stubborn running plays, and not to mention all the weird penalties.
The Cowboys won, somehow, and a lot of the attention afterwards soon turned to the Cowboys non-existent quarterback “controversy.”
Rudolph’s final stats? 22-34 for 290 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. So basically, a near 300-yard outing on the road against a surprisingly decent Texas defense that saw Rudolph barely throw the ball for the final quarter-and-a-half of the game. And I’m not even going to go into the supposed hand numbness Rudolph had during the second half, which likely had a significant effect on what was going on, judging by how weird some of his throws looked after that.
The two interceptions were bad, no doubt, and one was extremely costly. So it goes though, right?
Would we even be having this conversation if Rudolph hadn’t had the fluke fumble? What if it was just downed instead of being returned for a score?
It’s highly unlikely.
Here’s the reality: Mason Rudolph, in what’s amounted to one half of a collegiate season in his career to this point, has been a steady and productive quarterback from day one, and is now 6-1 as the signal caller of this team. He was thrown into the fire in 2014 during an extremely crappy year against one of the best teams in the country, on the road, and he held his own, following it with a win over OU and a bowl victory, both away from home.
Against Texas, he accomplished what he needed to for the win, relying mostly on what he did in the first half of the game. Still, it was enough to win. The personnel moves and play-calling during the latter part of the game were not his decisions, in case anybody forgot.
I’m fairly certain that one bad half in a winning effort isn’t suddenly going to derail a player who has already proven himself numerous times in a young career.
Yes, it was definitely his worst game in his short Cowboy career. But even at his worst, it was enough to win.
So please, don’t worry about Mason Rudolph. He’s fine.
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