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Oklahoma State’s Taylor Cornelius passed for 428 yards against South Alabama last Saturday. DEVIN LAWRENCE WILBER/for the Tulsa World

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After two weeks, Oklahoma State ranks first in the country in total offense while Boise State is fourth. So Saturday’s matchup between ranked teams should be juicy.

But this matchup is special for a couple other reasons that surprised me. Did you know Boise State is the first ranked nonconference opponent to come to Boone Pickens Stadium since Georgia in 2009? And, did you know Saturday marks Mike Gundy’s first game as head coach against a Mountain West opponent?

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, this space will be filled with news, analysis and newsletter-specific perspective on the Cowboys from me, plus links to coverage from our entire staff. I want this space to be interactive -- I want to hear from you, to know what you’re hankering to know and to answer your questions. I want to know what you think and what you’d like to read more about.

You can reach me by email at mark.cooper@tulsaworld.com or on Twitter @mark_cooperjr. And if you're looking to sign up for the newsletter, you can do so here.

Thank you for reading — and I look forward to talking with you again soon.

— Mark Cooper, Tulsa World

The mailbag

Every Wednesday, this space will be filled with whatever topics you want to talk about. Here were some of the questions I received via Twitter or email this week:

In light of criticism of Cornelius and his failure to complete multiple deep ball plays, it would be interesting to see a report on the other Big 12 teams. Specifically, how many successful deep ball plays did each of the teams have in the first game of this year?

— Texan Poke Fan, via email

The Oklahoma State football Twitter account put out quite the statistic Tuesday: Taylor Cornelius' 728 passing yards are the most by an OSU quarterback in his first two starts. While the opponents have not been challenging yet, it's still impressive -- and a sign this offense hasn't slowed down much with its new signalcaller.

Putting the long pass plays in perspective is a good idea. Oklahoma State led the country in passes of 30-plus yards (45) last season, finished second in pass plays of 40-plus yards (to Oklahoma) and second in 50-plus yards (to Missouri) last year.

Through two games (one for Iowa State), here's how the Big 12 schools rank in terms of long pass plays:

Of 30-plus yards: West Virginia (8), Oklahoma (6), Baylor/OSU/Texas (5), Texas Tech (4), Kansas/TCU (2), Iowa State (1), Kansas State (0).

Of 40-plus: Oklahoma (4), Baylor/OSU/TCU/Texas Tech/West Virginia (2), Texas (1), Iowa State/Kansas/Kansas State (0).

So OSU's number of big pass plays is down early, though not to the point it lags far behind anyone in the league.

OSU newsletter 09/12 question 1

There's always a level of uncertainty with quarterbacks you haven't inserted in a live game. That's certainly the case with true freshman Spencer Sanders -- less so Dru Brown, who has two seasons of experience from his tenure at Hawaii. The only reason not to play Brown as the backup is the obvious one. He can still redshirt.

But the larger point I take from Keondre Wudtee's ascension to No. 2 (at least when the game is in hand) is what it says about Cornelius. Putting Wudtee out there means Gundy believes Oklahoma State can get through this season without using Brown or Sanders more than four games, barring injury. That means he's still confident in Cornelius -- and his improvement against South Alabama likely helped.

One thing I've learned about Gundy over the years is he seems to be at his most relaxed when he's most comfortable about his quarterback situation. The dog-and-smoothie shows he has put on the last couple weeks make him look pretty relaxed right now.

OSU newsletter 09/12 question 2

As of last check, the weather looks OK for Saturday, so let's save the rain question for later and dive into the second part.

If there was a red flag in a 55-13 blowout, it was the offensive line play. A week ago, Louisiana Tech rolled to 231 yards on 4.8 yards per carry against South Alabama. On Saturday, Oklahoma State posted 164 on 3.7.

The Cowboys have also given up six sacks in two games. In the Big 12, only Kansas State and Kansas have allowed more. (And Boise State is decent at getting to the quarterback, with 40 sacks in its last 16 games.)

Gundy knows OSU needs to be better up front. I'm certain Josh Henson knows.

The links

• Speaking of the offensive line, columnist Bill Haisten tackled the subject after attending Mike Gundy's Monday news conference. Why it's the No. 1 issue for this team right now.

• Guerin Emig takes a step back and gives some good perspective on Boise State. The Broncos are more than the Fiesta Bowl win they'll always be associated with.

Our redshirt tracker is updated through week 2. Only three true freshmen played against South Alabama.

• Ready to hear some names you might have forgotten? Check out this list of OSU's leading rushers since 2001.

Mark Cooper 



Twitter: @mark_cooperjr

This article originally ran on tulsaworld.com.