first_imgOklahoma State showed flashes of improvement in the running game on Saturday, with Chris Carson and Justice Hill each showing off what they can do in space when the line gets some push. Carson showed physicality and overall looked to be improved mentally with him lowering his shoulder on several occasions and showing a willingness to pick up tough yards. And Hill improved from game 1 with more touches, which gave us a really good glance of the magic he can work in space. He’s explosive in space and showed he is a decisive runner, making key cutbacks like the one below:Justice Hill. ???— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguys) September 10, 2016Despite the box score which showed just 50 total rushing yards in Saturday’s loss to Central Michigan (Mason Rudolph had negative 19), Mike Gundy likes the groups improvement through two weeks of play.Taking out Mason Rudolph’s carries/sacks negative yards, OSU rushed for 4 yards per carry. But with just 16 touches, the option to move to the passing game — where OSU struggled Saturday — is a bit of a head scratcher that Mike Gundy acknowledged this week.“I think we were a little better last game, but we abandoned the run a little too quickly,” Gundy said in his coaches show. “It’s easy to look back and say you would have done one thing different or another thing different.“We had two technical missed assignments in the run game and two in protections. Last year, we averaged about four a game in the run game, so we’ve improved a little bit.”There were some bright spots: Larry Williams looked much improved from his week one effort, while Marcus Keyes showed signs of struggling at left guard, and Lundblade at center looked overmatched. Which isn’t surprising, given his smaller frame.Overall, though, the bottom line is that was a game against Central Michigan. OSU was more talented in the trenches, so they should have looked improved from the season opening FCS opponent SE Louisiana.The Cowboys face a stout test this weekend with Pitt bringing the No. 37 overall defense and No. 40 rushing defense nationally through two weeks. The Panthers are giving up 4.35 yards per carry and nearly 150 yards rushing per game. If Oklahoma State can get close to that number (they had 50 in game 2, and 144 in game 1), it would show marked improvement against a significantly higher quality opponent.It’s easy to say it looks improved, but the bottom line is that this is the first of several big tests. Added Gundy: “We’ll know a lot more on Oct. 1 about where we’re at.” If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img