Another week in the books, another week of Oklahoma State failing to prove that they can play a full game of playoff caliber football on both sides of the ball, versus a legitimate opponent. Two weeks ago, their defense proved spotty and inconsistent at Texas Tech, as Rudolph and company propelled them to a 41-34 victory. Saturday, the nation’s top offense was stonewalled by the Longhorn’s defensive front after the first quarter, squeaking by with an 13-10 overtime win.
While they were certainly able to rely on the defense to make plays for most of the game, first-year gunslinger Sam Ellinger gave them more than enough opportunities to make plays, opportunities that won’t be as easy to come by against more experienced quarterbacks.
In a few days, they’ll be facing off with an offense that’s going to try to punish them with the best Quarterback – Wide Receiver duo in the Big 12 (and no, I’m not talking about scrimmaging with Rudolph and Washington). Throughout the season, Will Grier and David Sills V have been torching secondaries and making it count, accounting for 15 of Grier’s 24 touchdowns, and over 700 yards thus far. Sills has been an absolutely sensational receiver, and currently my favorite player in the conference by a decent margin. The 6’4″, 200 pound wideout has all the athletic tools to keep up this unbelievable pace, and is showing absolutely no signs of slowing down.
Against the best defenses they’ve seen this year:
- 9 for 94 and 2 touchdowns against Virginia Tech in the season opener
- 7 for 116 and another 2 touchdowns against TCU
- 6 for 89 and three (3) touchdowns against Texas Tech (not that good of a defense but it’s good for data’s sake)
- as well as a cool 7 for 136 and another! 3 touchdowns against Baylor this Saturday
The way Sills has been able to get himself open in the red zone or break free for the big play this year has been remarkable, and he’s also one of the best college football stories that few are really giving the proper attention at this point. I won’t write out his bio, but for those who don’t know, this guy was a young quarterback prodigy who verbally committed to USC by the time he was 13, Lane Kiffin sent an offer to the 12 year old after seeing his youtube videos. Coached by Steve Clarkson (below), one of the most highly regarded QB coaches on the planet, he and David’s Dad had David on the quick path through USC to the NFL.
Long story short, he went to West Virginia in 2015 instead, trying to climb the quarterback ladder there (Sam Darnold had taken over the USC hype-train at that point) but quickly shifted to receiver, as Holgorsen saw NFL level talent in him as a wideout. He couldn’t fully commit to being a full-time receiver, so at the end of the season he decided he wanted try his luck at QB again at El Camino College, a JuCo in California. He had a fine season, but didn’t really see the offers come in to get back into the top tier QB scene.
Finally, he finally gave up the QB dream for good and returned to the Mountaineers as a receiver, and the rest is history. In my (and Dana Holgorsen’s) humblest of opinions, Sills is definitely an NFL level WR talent, and despite the work he put in to become a sensational QB prospect, I’m so glad he made the full transition to wideout. He’s still got a lot to learn in terms of route running and beating defenders off the line, but the fact that his talent is still that raw is the scariest part. In his first full season as a receiver, the Junior’s name right ahead of James Washington on the Midseason All-American Team.
As for this matchup with the Cowboys, their secondary should play Sills as tough as any has this year. However, if he’s still able to get himself open for a couple more big plays, West Virginia has a really good chance of wiping out OK State’s last chance at sneaking in the playoffs this year.
The Mountaineer defense has been pretty questionable all season, but getting linebacker David Long back for these past few weeks has been a huge step forward, and the unit as a whole should stand to improve from his return over the next few weeks. They nearly let a huge fourth quarter lead to Baylor evaporate last week, but I’m willing to write that off. We’re talking about Baylor here, if there’s any team to fall asleep on in the fourth, it’s them.
This definitely won’t be another 13-10 affair for Mike Gundy’s team, and they’ll be able to put up their points as teams like Texas Tech and TCU have been able to against this defense, but Grier, Sills and company will be sure to come back firing with every last opportunity. This is without a doubt the most excited I am for a matchup this week, and I’m hoping the noontime start won’t ruin any of the fun.
I’ll be rooting for West Virginia to win this one in a late-game shootout, but I think that OK State will pull out another late victory to keep themselves afloat. As for the spread, I think this game will absolutely be decided by 7 or less points, and West Virginia has a much better chance of winning this one than many are willing to give them credit for.
P.S. In case anyone else has as big of a man crush on David Sills as I do:
^ funniest music that’s ever been played in a highlight video, highly recommend
One of his touchdowns from 2015. I love how perfectly he bodies out the corner to keep position, just enough hand to get separation without a flag, just amazing stuff. NFL caliber no doubt.