Chuba Hubbard involved in passing game as No. 6 Oklahoma State falls to Texas

Photo courtesy: Olivia Ramriez/OSU Athletics

Texas and No. 6 Oklahoma State had a classic Big 12 shootout on Saturday with the Longhorns pulling out a 41-34 victory.

Photo courtesy: Olivia Ramriez/OSU Athletics

Oklahoma State’s offensive attack was uncharacteristically pass-oriented throughout the game. The Cowboys put up 530 yards from scrimmage, 400 of which (75.5 percent) came through the air.

Spencer Sanders completed 27-of-39 pass attempts for a career-high 400 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. He also lost two fumbles, the first of which was the result of an awkward exchange between him and Chuba Hubbard.

The second fumble came in the final minute of the first half and was returned 33 yards by six-foot-four, 295-pound Ta’Quon Graham. Hubbard made the tackle on the play, chasing down the defensive lineman and cutting out his legs to make the stop.

Hubbard got involved in the passing game on Saturday, making four receptions for 34 yards and one touchdown. His rushing output was the lowest of the season with 72 yards on 25 carries.

One of the reasons the star Canadian returned for his redshirt junior season was to show NFL scouts that he can be effective as a receiver out of the backfield. He entered the game against Texas with just three receptions on the year, so he’s starting to show that he can do more than just run the ball.

Hubbard has now rushed for 550 yards on 119 carries through five games this season. He remains well off the pace to match his 2,000-yard performance from a season ago for which he received serious Heisman Trophy consideration.

The decline in Hubbard’s production is largely due to a lack of big plays. His longest carry against Texas went for just nine yards, which won’t end up on any highlight reels. He has yet to reach 35 yards on a play this season.

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Hubbard had six touchdown runs of more than 50 yards in 2019, including three of 75 yards or more. These home run carries greatly boosted his average, finishing the season with 6.4 yards per carry.

The Texas offence was quiet through most of the game with 21 points coming off four Oklahoma State turnovers. Sam Ehlinger’s touchdown pass to Jake Smith with four minutes remaining was the result of a takeaway following a fumble by LD Brown.

Sanders was sensational in the final minute of the game, leading a six-play, 63-yard drive to set-up a 24-yard field goal by Alex Hale that forced overtime. That magic didn’t translate to overtime as the Cowboys failed to complete a pass to extend the contest to a second mini-game.

No. 6 Oklahoma State (4-1) visits No. 16 Kansas State (4-2) next Saturday for another tough Big 12 match-up. Kansas State suffered its first conference loss of the season on Saturday in a 37-10 upset against West Virginia.

The Cowboys remain atop the Big 12 Conference standings despite Saturday’s loss but will need a win over the Wildcats to keep hold of the top spot.

John Hodge is a Canadian football reporter based in Winnipeg.