Chuba Hubbard accomplished a feat no one believes has ever happened.
His big game Saturday even earned a Heisman Trophy campaign from his quarterback.
“Chuba is a great runner,” Oklahoma State redshirt freshman QB Spencer Sanders said. “I believe he needs to win the Heisman. Just having him back there is awesome. He’s an amazing guy. I just hand the ball off and let him go.”
Hubbard, a redshirt sophomore running back, rushed for more yards than anyone has against TCU coach Gary Patterson, according to sources close the OSU program.
The nation’s leading rusher helped keep the Cowboys’ offense grounded in a game where it was missing key players. Hubbard helped the Cowboys defeat TCU, 34-27, and become bowl eligible for the 14th-straight year.
“A very well played game by our team,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “We were a very disciplined team, with 37 yards of penalties. We rushed for over 300 yards and had very minimal turnovers. They took care of the football. We averaged almost eight yards a snap. Obviously Chuba was fantastic.”
Gundy added it was nice to once again get that sixth win to get a bowl game later this year.
“The bowl eligibility is special for the university,” Gundy said. “It’s special for our organization, the players, the families and everybody to get that.”
The OSU victory marked its second-consecutive Big 12 Conference win. The Cowboys (6-3 overall, 3-3 Big 12) have three regular season games remaining, with two of those at Boone Pickens Stadium.
Hubbard was a big part of the OSU offense – accounting for 48.5 percent of the offensive yards. He carried the ball 20 times for 223 yards and two touchdowns.
Saturday marked the fourth time Hubbard has eclipsed the 200-yard mark this season. He’s earned 1,604 rushing yards this season, which significantly leads the country.
“He’s really good. He always has been and particularly against the rush,” Gundy said. “I just looked, Chuba had 223. I don’t know if anybody has ever rushed for 200 yards on Gary. I was going to say, in his career I doubt anybody has every rushed 200 yards on him. He has been pretty good against the run for 20 years or however long he has been a head coach and probably as a coordinator.”
Hubbard was limited in the first half to 34 yards on just seven carries. Yet, the Cowboys were tied 17 at the half. On the Cowboys’ second drive of the second half – less than eight minutes into the third quarter – Hubbard broke free.
After TCU pinned the Cowboys down to their 8-yard line on a Jordan Sandy punt, Hubbard found a large hole to run through on the first play of the drive. Once he hit the second level, he was gone.
The speedy back left the Horned Frogs in the dust for a 92-yard touchdown run. Hubbard once again caught himself looking at the jumbotron as he ran toward the east side of the stadium.
“I really don’t remember stuff like that,” Hubbard said of his 92-yard run. “I just know the O-line made a big hole and I just started running.”
Someone who wasn’t watching was Sanders. He could have watched from the other side of the field, but opted to go celebrate with his back.
“I’m not watching, I’m running, trying to catch up to him,” Sanders said. “If you watch, I’m catching up – slowly. It’s a great feeling. I was running down the field throwing fists in the air and he ain’t even scored yet.”
Hubbard’s 92-yard run tied Justice Hill for the fourth-longest rushing play in school history. It was also the longest run allowed by the TCU defense since a 95-yard run in 1993.
Almost a full quarter later, the Cowboys still led by seven as both teams traded punts. Less than five minutes into the quarter, OSU sophomore defensive back Kolby Harvell-Peel intercepted TCU quarterback Max Duggan for a second time.
Duggan drastically overthrew his receiver, which left Harvell-Peel trying to intercept the pass like he was fair-catching a punt or tracking down a ball in deep center field. He made the catch, returned it a few yards, fumbled and recovered the ball.
“They’re fired up. This is a difficult league to play defense in,” Gundy said. “I’ve told them, you guys have to generate some energy among yourselves. Coaches can try to do it, but we can’t. We don’t play in games. … Somebody has to generate some energy and some power and momentum.”
Two plays after Harvell-Peel’s interception, Hubbard burned TCU again. This one was a 62-yard touchdown run, where his speed was once again on display.
Hubbard helped the Cowboys rush for 301 yards on a typically stingy TCU defense. OSU redshirt freshman quarterback Spencer Sanders, who completed just 9 of 15 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns, also ran for 88 yards on 19 carries.
“First off, nobody has rushed the ball on TCU for 300 yards,” Sanders said. “It’s not just Chuba, it’s the offensive line. They gave him great gaps, so just as much credit goes to them as it does to Chuba for me, because I love all my guys. The offensive line really stepped up, especially losing Johnny Wilson.”
Sanders thought he eclipsed the century mark early in the fourth quarter. He weaved through the TCU defense before turning on the jets for a 43-yard touchdown run.
Unfortunately for Sanders, the run was called back for an illegal shift on the Cowboys. He wasn’t too pleased, in a joking manner, after the game.
“It was tough, but it’s the game,” Sanders said. “I think I was very frustrated at the time. To other teams, I feel like they’re going to look at that and say they have to watch Spencer, but after they watch me, that’s going to open up down the field passing. I hated that it got called back, but we won, so we’re good.”