STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State has utilized at least 11 different receivers in each of its three games, but senior David Glidden has led the way.
Sophomore quarterback Mason Rudolph has distributed the ball fairly evenly to a deep corps of talented receivers through three games — all victories for the 24th-ranked Cowboys — as players like Marcell Ateman, James Washington, and Brandon Sheperd have each made plays.
Glidden, however, has made more. He's come through in the clutch and has demonstrated consistency, hauling in the most catches in each game. Overall, he leads the squad with 12 receptions for 283 yards (fifth in the Big 12, just four yards behind Texas Tech's Jakeem Grant in third) and three touchdowns. His average of 23.6 yards per catch is also fifth in the Big 12 and 12th in the nation.
"He's played well," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "At this point, he's kind of mastered his craft, and maximizes the opportunities that he has. He's a good route-runner, he makes his catches, plays physical.
"At times, we can't really determine who gets the ball. It's more dependent upon how we're defended at times, and he's been in the right place at the right time in the first few games."
After a team-best five receptions for 71 yards in Oklahoma State's season-opening 24-13 win over Central Michigan, Glidden elevated his game another notch in Oklahoma State's 32-8 win over Central Arkansas on Sept. 12.
In that one, he recorded a career-high 145 yards and two touchdowns on four receptions. With the Cowboys leading just 10-0 early in the third quarter, Glidden came through with a nice catch, displaying speed and elusiveness to turn it into a 67-yard touchdown. That pushed Oklahoma State to a 17-0 advantage and calmed any doubts the Cowboys might let the game slip away.
Last week against UTSA, Glidden made another key play on the first drive of the second half, slowing up to catch an underthrown long ball, then shaking a would-be tackler on his way to a 46-yard touchdown. That gave Oklahoma State a comfortable 38-7 lead, erasing any hope of a comeback bid, and the Cowboys cruised to a 69-14 win.
The 67-yard touchdown against Central Arkansas remains the Cowboys' longest individual play of the year so far. Glidden has accounted for three of the seven longest plays, and five of the top 13.
"David, he's a consistent guy, he's a veteran leader," said Rudolph, who has done quite well himself, completing 62 of 90 passes for 947 yards and five touchdowns, with one interception. "He's a go-to, but all of our receivers are go-to, they make tremendous plays in big-time situations. David's stepped up this past week and has stepped up in the past."
While Glidden entered the season with just three career touchdowns, his performance should not be considered a surprise. He led the squad last year with 42 receptions, although his 598 receiving yards were second to Sheperd's 737.
"We feel we have pretty good depth at the receiver position, but David is a guy that continues to prove himself and produce," offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said. "And production will be rewarded. He's a very skilled receiver, he understands the game very well, he understands the coverages. He takes a lot of pride in his ability to manipulate defensive backs' hips. He's a savvy, game-time player."
Look for Glidden to continue to have an impact as Oklahoma State visits Texas (1-2) on Saturday in both teams' first conference action.