Canadian running back Chuba Hubbard scores late touchdown in OK State victory over West Virginia

Photo courtesy: Peter Casey

Canada’s Cowboy came alive late in Saturday’s game, sealing a 27-13 victory for No. 15 Oklahoma State over West Virginia with a 23-yard touchdown run.

Chuba Hubbard overcame two fumbles to finish the game with 101 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. It was his first 100-yard performance of 2020 after narrowly missing the century mark in last week’s season opener.

Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders dressed for Saturday’s game but did not play as he continues to nurse a lower-body injury from a win over Tulsa. True freshman Shane Illingworth made the start and struggled to move the ball consistently, completing 15-of-21 attempts for 139 yards and one interception.

Hubbard was used as a decoy early as the Cowboys ran a number of play-action passes on their opening drive. The native of Sherwood Park, Alta. did not record his first carry until the midway point of the first quarter, finishing the first half with twelve carries for 48 yards.

The Cowboys got out to a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter thanks to a pair of big-play scores from unlikely contributors.

Backup running back LD Brown broke his first carry of the game for a 66-yard touchdown after showing patience up the middle. He was the game’s top rusher, recording 103 yards and one touchdown on eleven carries.

Moments later, defensive end Trace Ford stripped West Virginia quarterback Jarret Doege of the football on third-and-long. Tyren Irby recovered the fumble and returned it all the way to the house.

Doege moved the ball efficiently for the Mountaineers, finishing the game 20-of-37 passing for 285 yards and one touchdown. The redshirt junior is the younger brother of former Saskatchewan Roughriders’ quarterback Seth Doege, who appeared in five CFL games in 2014.

As predicted by our own JC Abbott, the line of scrimmage was controlled by West Virginia defensive tackles Darius and Dante Stills. The brothers form one of the NCAA’s most dominant interior duos with Darius being named the preseason favourite for Big 12 defensive player of the year.

Hubbard often faced penetration before reaching the line of scrimmage, preventing him from using his signature speed. Eight of his carries went for three yards or less as he was forced to play primarily between the tackles.

Hubbard made history on a three-yard run in the third quarter when he reached 3,000 career rushing yards. He became the 28th player in Big 12 history to reach the milestone, joining the likes of Darren Sproles, Adrian Peterson, and Ricky Williams.

One of the reasons Hubbard returned for his redshirt junior season was to improve his stock as a receiver out of the backfield. The 21-year-old wasn’t targeted in the passing game on Saturday, which is odd considering the inexperience of his quarterback.

Having a consistent check down option can take a lot of pressure off a young passer. It’s clear that Oklahoma State hasn’t prioritized incorporating Hubbard in the passing game, which seems foolish. Illingworth was unable to push the ball consistently downfield and could have benefited from Hubbard’s ability to produce yardage after the catch.

Saturday’s game between West Virginia and No. 15 Oklahoma State was 3DownNation‘s CanCon Game of the Week, featuring a number of talented Canadians.

3DownNation’s CanCon Game of the Week: West Virginia at No. 15 Oklahoma State

Alonzo Addae out of Pickering, Ont. finished the game as West Virginia’s leading tackler, making nine total stops. The Cowboys did not test the Mountaineers’ secondary often, which meant the safety contributed predominantly in run support.

Amen Ogbongbemiga made 13 total tackles and a sack from his linebacker spot with Oklahoma State. The native of Calgary left the field with a lower-body injury in the fourth quarter and his status was not officially updated.

West Virginia (1-1) will head home to host Baylor next Saturday, while Oklahoma State (2-0) will hit the road to visit Kansas.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.