OSU football: Chuba Hubbard looks like his usual self in Cowboys' rout of Kansas
LAWRENCE, Kan. — Chuba Hubbard had nowhere to go.
The Oklahoma State running back went all the way to his left, almost to the sideline, and every hole was plugged.
But with one step back, the blocks caught up to Hubbard’s vision. He exploded forward and reached for the goal line as he fell to score Oklahoma State’s fourth touchdown of a 47-7 rout of Kansas on Saturday at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium.
This day was different for Hubbard. That is to say, this day was normal for Hubbard — the type of game those in orange and black have come to expect from the Cowboy star.
He finished with 145 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries Saturday, hardly touching the ball in the second half with the game already well in hand.
“It was nice to see him get out there and run the ball like I know he knows how to run the ball,” said receiver Tylan Wallace, who had a special day of his own with 148 yards and two TDs on nine receptions.
Hubbard’s start to the season had raised questions. Was something off? Was it the injury-plagued offensive line? Was his motivation waning?
But the performance on Saturday put those questions to rest. Hubbard was dominant against a team he needed to dominate, rather than grinding out yardage in small, tough chunks.
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“Obviously, the last few games I haven’t done what I wanted to,” Hubbard said. “I just love to play football every day, work hard every day. Some days it’s not gonna be the best. Some days it will.”
The Cowboy defense was stellar once again, and quarterback Shane Illingworth looked even more comfortable than before, throwing for 265 yards and three touchdowns on 17-of-23 passing.
With injured starting quarterback Spencer Sanders inching closer to a return — and with an open date next weekend to give him more time to heal his ankle — the Cowboy offense took a big swing in the right direction ahead of an Oct. 17 date at Baylor up next.
Hubbard shouldered a lot of the blame for the offensive struggles in the first two games, a 16-7 win over Tulsa and a 27-13 win over West Virginia, even though the Cowboys had lost Sanders and multiple offensive linemen to injury.
But Hubbard had struggled, and lacked the big-play nature that helped him lead the nation in rushing a year ago.
“I thought the first two games, we actually did pretty good. I really put the first two games on me,” he said. “A lot of these mistakes, a lot of these things we were going through fall back on me. I thought we’ve been playing pretty good these last three games, but I just need to step up.”
That motivation showed on Saturday, from his first carry, a 12-yard gain on a delayed draw in which he moved forward, stepped right and burst through the hole for a first down. And he didn’t fumble — after losing the ball twice a week ago.
“It looked like he ran the ball effective and he made some cuts,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “He took good care of the football, which has been very lackadaisical for us as an offense. Today, he was much better taking care of the football, so that’s a plus.
“It seemed like he was hitting the holes and making cuts across the line of scrimmage, which is what he does best.”