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'We can go downhill': OSU run game flashes dominance with Jaylen Warren & Dominic Richardson

Scott Wright
Oklahoman

STILLWATER — It was just the kind of party Barry Sanders deserved

A statue, his name in the Ring of Honor, and eight rushing touchdowns to celebrate his special night.

Tenth-ranked Oklahoma State’s 63-17 drubbing of TCU on Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium was a mix of a powerful run game sprinkled with a touch of passing and backed by yet another dominant defensive performance.

With the offensive line down one starter to begin the game, and losing another near halftime, the Cowboys could have buckled up front, but the injuries to Josh Sills and Danny Godlevske didn’t slow the rushing attack against an overmatched TCU defense. 

“We probably rushed for 300 yards,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said after the game before he had seen the final statistics. 

His estimate was only off by about 150.

The Pokes had 447 yards and eight touchdowns on the ground, with Dominic Richardson and Jaylen Warren each going over the 100-yard mark.

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Oklahoma State running back Dominic Richardson rushed for 134 yards and two touchdowns against TCU on Saturday.

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Richardson finished with 134 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries. Warren had 113 yards and three scores on 17 carries, ending his night early in the third quarter when he got the wind knocked out of him. 

By the time he caught his breath, the game was out of hand and his services were no longer needed.

“We were just physical up front and blocked ‘em, and I think our running backs ran hard,” Gundy said. “They were physical, and they dropped their pads and they ran hard.”

Dezmon Jackson had 68 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries, and fourth-stringer Jaden Nixon had 69 yards highlighted by a 63-yard touchdown run in which he broke four tackles along the way. 

“I don’t know what the key was, other than our guys were fired up and excited to play in front of Barry,” OSU offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn said. “We just didn’t want to disappoint, and our guys played really, really hard, and ran hard. You could see that.”

Dunn was particularly pleased with the first drive of the second half, which has been an area of struggle for the Cowboys this season.

“We talked about trying to put together a methodical, longer drive, establish the run game again in the second half and punch it in,” Dunn said. “It went right by the script.”

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The series included eight run plays, two completed passes and a TCU penalty, ending with a 5-yard TD run by Jackson. It took almost four minutes off the clock. 

Most impressive on Saturday was the depth OSU showed in its backfield, with four backs going over the 60-yard mark and quarterback Spencer Sanders rushing for 53 to go with his 235 through the air.

“We can go downhill and run the football whenever we want to, essentially, and be able to rotate guys through being fresh,” Dunn said. “Obviously, Jaylen’s a great running back and he’s our guy, but if he has to come out for a series or two, we stick the next guy in and it’s next man up. 

“Dezmon’s been through a bunch of battles. Dominic’s been through a bunch of battles. Those guys have all collected a bunch of 100-yard games, so we don’t blink when the next guy goes in.”

Warren, even with the short night, surpassed the 1,000-yard mark for the season, the 25th time an OSU back has reached the milestone — icing on the cake of a dominant night on the ground.

“I feel like the offensive line really dominated the front today, and that really helped our backs,” Spencer Sanders said. “Our backs made a couple guys miss and made some wonderful plays.”