Chuba Hubbard wasted no time in making a second-half statement Saturday night inside Boone Pickens Stadium.
Well, technically it took him – or at least the play took – 13 seconds to go 84 yards and give Oklahoma State a commanding lead early in the third quarter.
The OSU redshirt sophomore running back found a hole in his offensive line, cutback slightly to avoid a defender and was off to the races. The speedy former track star left several Kansas State players chasing him as he watched his run on the large video board in the east end zone.
“I’ve never done that before, but I was running and I looked up and thought, ‘Oh shoot,’” Hubbard said. “It’s pretty big, but yeah, it was cool.”
Hubbard did admit watching the video board was helpful.
“I thought no one was around me at first,” Hubbard said. “Then, I looked up and I was like, ‘Oh hold up.’ It definitely helped me out a bit.”
The long touchdown run set a career-high for longest run. His previous best was a 75-yard touchdown run on the first play of the game at Tulsa.
OSU coach Mike Gundy said the 84-yard to put the Cowboys up 23-3 was quite important.
“It was huge,” Gundy said. “… That gave us a chance to put them behind the eight ball with their offensive structure, and it was big for our team.”
The nation’s leading rusher ended the game with 25 carries for 296 yards and one touchdowns against a Kansas State defense allowing 137.3 yards per game. He out-gained the Wildcats’ offense by 52 yards, as they only amassed 244 yards from scrimmage.
It marked the third time in five games he’s surpassed the 200-yard plateau. He also beat his previous career high of 256 yards, which he set two weeks ago at Tulsa.
“Obviously, he was tremendous,” Gundy said. “Three hundred yards rushing, give or take whatever it was. In the second half, when we put (Tylan Wallace) inside, they started taking a safety and putting him high over the top on the hash to protect him, so that took one man out of the run. When that happened, we just have to try and block them up, and there’s no one in the middle of the field when he hits the seam.”
Hubbard admitted he’s having fun this season, but didn’t have as much fun in last week’s loss, which he accepted blame for following Saturday’s win.
“Football is fun, I’m not going to lie,” Hubbard said. “I just really care about winning. If I came here to have fun – I care about winning to be honest. Obviously, it wasn’t the best win, but winning is fun.”
Hubbard was limited early in Saturday’s contest, carrying the ball only three times in the first quarter. He did rack up 60 yards on those three carries, but one of them went for 53 yards.
He didn’t even touch the ball on either of the first two OSU drives.
By halftime, he was up to nine carries for 114 yards. However, 50 yards – on four carries – came on one drive that resulted in a Matt Ammendola field goal.
Hubbard nearly added a second touchdown on the night on a powerful short yardage carry where he carried Wildcat defenders into the end zone. However, it was called back because of an offensive holding penalty.
“That was fun,” Hubbard said. “The O-line just parted the Red Sea pretty much, so there was just one guy and that’s my guy to take care of him. They were pushing me in. That was fun. It got called back, and that’s whatever, but it was fun.”
The Cowboys later moved the ball down to the 1-yard line, but couldn’t punch it in on third down. The OSU fans wanted the Cowboys to give Hubbard a touchdown run, but OSU coaches elected for a fourth field goal from Ammendola.
Setting for field goals was a frustration for Gundy in last week’s loss at Texas. On Saturday, he was OK with field goals as his defense kept KSU to field goals, too.
“The good thing was tonight we traded field goals for field goals,” Gundy said. “That was the difference. We’re still not good enough down there. … It needs to improve. We’re not good enough down there yet.”