Hubbard is a force, but can he make up for Cowboys’ losses?

WVU Football

With Joe Burrow, Justin Fields and Jalen Hurts sitting at the top, the Heisman Trophy race is once again dominated by quarterbacks. If Mike Gundy had his way, though, running back Chuba Hubbard would be booking travel plans to New York.

Statistically speaking, he’s not too far off. Hubbard leads the country with 1850 all-purpose yards and 1726 rushing yards, and holds the second-highest touchdown mark with 21 on the year.

“He’s the complete package. He runs for power, he runs for speed, he’s been incredibly durable,” said WVU coach Neal Brown. “He just wears you out….And so I’m in [agreement] with Coach Gundy, that he’s definitely deserving of being in the Heisman Trophy race for sure.”

Unfortunately for the Edmonton, Alberta native, Heisman voters and oddsmakers don’t quite feel the same way. He’s a 100 to 1 longshot to get the honor, with ballots going out to voters on Monday.

Regardless of where he finds himself on Dec. 15, he still has to play football — and he may have to give a Heisman-like effort for the rest of the season to make up for some major losses on the Cowboy offense.

Tylan Wallace was the first major piece to go down for Oklahoma State. Despite missing their last two games, he is still the leading Cowboy receiver with 903 yards and 8 touchdowns. He tore his ACL in practice, ending his season after just 8 games.

Quarterback Spencer Sanders then started to get in a rhythm with Dillon Stoner, who replaced Wallace as OSU’s top pass-catcher. That connection was then disrupted after Sanders underwent surgery on his thumb, effectively ending his regular season.

Now the Cowboys will have Dru Brown calling their signals, who came to Stillwater as a grad transfer from Hawaii. In two seasons, he threw for 5,273 yards and 37 touchdowns. Luckily for him, the wide receiver Stoner has thrived as the top guy so far, catching for 243 yards and 4 touchdowns in their last two games.

Similar to their opponents this weekend, the Cowboys have a very youthful defense. Most of their starters are underclassmen, with just one senior — cornerback AJ Green — starting on that side.

“Those corners have played a lot of football,” Brown said. “They’re long, they’re physical. We’ll have to be ready for those guys.”

Brown adds that safety Kolby Harvell-Peel is “maybe playing as good as anybody in the country right now,” and the numbers back him up. Oklahoma State is second in the Big 12 with 12 interceptions, and Harvell-Peel has 5 of those on his own.

The Cowboys’ youth on defense exists in the box. Junior Amen Ogbongbemiga sits atop their sack column with 3.5 so far, but Brown is keeping his eye on freshman defensive end Trace Ford.

“He’s starting to really come on,” he said. “He’s really talented. I’m sure those guys are excited about him.”

Mike Gundy ties this team all together in his 15th year. It’s been a long time since he was 40 years old, but in that time, he’s built one of the strongest programs in Big 12 football.

A program, Brown says, that is something to emulate.

“The consistency that he’s built in that program is what we’re working for every day here, trying to build,” he said.

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