Quantifying Quarterbacks: Mason Rudolph Dices Up Texas in Big-12 Showdown

Quantifying Quarterbacks: Mason Rudolph Dices Up Texas in Big-12 Showdown

zz Optimum Scouting

Quantifying Quarterbacks: Mason Rudolph Dices Up Texas in Big-12 Showdown


The BIG12 continued to cannibalize itself this week as Mason Rudolph and the Oklahoma State Cowboys knocked off the No.22 ranked Texas Longhorns. It was a high scoring event from both sides, but the Rudolph-lead passing attack of Oklahoma State was too much for the Longhorns. Oklahoma State handed Texas their second loss of the season, presumably knocking them out of the Top 25.

By: Derrik Klassen

Rudolph, the spearhead of Oklahoma State’s offense, was on fire. Pass rushers had little effect on Rudolph and he was able to connect with a receiver down the field almost every time he attempted to. After a fairly slow start to the season, this was a much-needed performance for Rudolph’s reputation.


  • ADJ = Adjustment from receiver
  • DE = Drop w/ effort or defended pass
  • DB = Dropped blatantly
  • TD = Touchdown
  • INT = Interception
25+ 1/1 1/1 (1 TD)
21-25 2/2 0/1
16-20 1/1 1/1 (1 TD) 0/1 (1 DE)
11-15 1/1 1/1 1/1
1-5 1/1 0/1 (1 DE) 1/2
0 3/4 1/1 0/4 (3 DE) 4/4
Throwaways: 0 Left Outside Left Middle Right Middle Right Outside

Total:  19/28 (67.86%)

Rudolph’s pass chart can be split up between passes behind the line of scrimmage and passes not behind the line of scrimmage. Between an uncanny combination of pass rush, miscommunication, poor execution and misfires, Rudolph failed to complete five of his thirteen passes behind the line of scrimmage. That is the highest single-game incompletion rate on those passes that I can remember this season. While some of the misses were on Rudolph, there were a handful of them that he could not salvage and it’s tough to blame him for those.

Beyond the line of scrimmage, Rudolph was eleven of fifteen. Rudolph had no problem sifting through Texas’s coverages and finding his receivers, particularly down the field. He threw with confidence, both in his reads and in his accuracy. It was a great display of aggressive downfield passing, especially down the seams and on ‘dig’ routes. The offense did not call for Rudolph to test the intermediate range, though. Rudolph only threw three passes in the 6-15 yard range, but he did complete all three of those passes.

Pass Rush Breakdown:

  • 3 Man Rush: 1 Time, 0 Pressure – 1/1
  • 4 Man Rush: 17 Times, 4 Pressures – 11/17 (3 DE, 2 TD)
  • 5 Man Rush: 10 Times, 5 Pressures – 7/10 (2 DE, 1 TD)

Passing When Pressured: 6/9 (2 DE, 2 TD)

The abundance of screen passes makes it tough to determine which pass rush counts Rudolph truly thrived against, but his numbers against pressure are tough to dispute. Rudolph kept his cool, stuck to his reads and delivered strikes in the face of pressure. He looked more comfortable than he had in previous games this season and that made all the difference for an Oklahoma State offense that needed to keep drives alive to win this shootout.

Situational Passing:

  • Play Action: 8/11 (2 DE, 1 TD)
  • 3rd/4th Down: 8/9 (2 TDs)
  • Red Zone: 0/0

Play action passing plays are good opportunities for quarterbacks to take advantage of defenses. Against Texas, Rudolph did an excellent job on play action and completed a good majority of those simpler throws. Throws on critical downs, however, are not simple. Quarterbacks have to be hyper aware of the situation and be decisive with their throws. Rudolph missed just one of his nine critical down passes against Texas, and even converted two of his completions into touchdowns. Giving up touchdowns on critical downs can be devastating for defenses. Rudolph made sure to get his message across.

Somehow, Rudolph never had to throw a red zone pass in this game. Oklahoma State continued to score from outside the red zone. The one time Oklahoma State’s offense got down there, Rudolph ran for a touchdown instead of throwing for one.

Route Break Key:

  • S = Screen, Shoot, Swing
  • O = Out-breaking
  • I = In-breaking
  • V = Vertical
  • C = Crossing
S 8/13 (3 DE)
O 3/6 (1 DE)
I 4/4 (1 TD)
V 4/5 (1 DE, 2 TD)
C 0/0

Rudolph is a fiend for in-breaking and vertical routes. He completed all but one of his throws on those types of routes, and those routes produced all three of his touchdowns. The offense is geared toward those types of throws, just as Notre Dame’s is geared that way for DeShone Kizer. Oklahoma State’s spread structure differs from Notre Dame’s more pro-style set up, but both offenses accommodate for their offenses the same way, and Rudolph was able to join Kizer in dicing up Texas’s secondary because of that.

Target Distribution

Jalen McCleskey (No.1) 4/4 (2 TD)
Keenan Brown (No.6) 1/1
Tyron Johnson (No.13) 0/1
Chris Lacy (No.15) 3/3
Rennie Childs (No.23) 0/1 (1 DE)
Barry Sanders Jr. (No.26) 1/4 (1 DE)
James Washington (No.28) 3/6 (3 DE, 1 TD)
Blake Jarwin (No.47) 4/4
Jhajuan Seales (No.81) 3/3
Obi Obialo (No.88) 0/1

Week in and week out, wide receiver James Washington sees more targets than any other player in Oklahoma State’s offense. Washington has garnered attention from the NFL Draft community, largely for his big play ability. That’s what Rudolph counts on him for, too. Rudolph likes to get Washington the ball and let him be the playmaker that he is.

Washington was not a heavy favorite for Rudolph, though. Rudolph spread the ball around well and kept the defense guessing. He did not allow Texas’s defense to get a feel for his desired target and he had no issue throwing the ball underneath if it was necessary. Barry Sanders Jr.’s target numbers look bad for Rudolph, but those were largely on screens, only some of which were the fault of Rudolph.

Mason Rudolph quietly helped his draft stock with his performance versus Texas. Oklahoma State needed this conference win and Rudolph himself needed some sort of rebound game coming off of his slow start to the year, and he delivered. Rudolph looked as confident, comfortable and accurate as he has all season. If this is the version of Rudolph that the Cowboys will get all season, they will be in good shape moving forward into the heart of conference play.

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