Notebook: WVU Tried Korie Black, the O-Line Ran Too and Johnson’s Usage Increasing in Big 12 Play

STILLWATER — Things are looking up in Stillwater — the Cowboys are on a three-game win streak and it’s homecoming week.

Oklahoma State hosts Cincinnati at 7 p.m. Saturday to cap off the homecoming festivities. OSU players met with reporters Monday to preview the matchup. Here are three storylines that came from those availabilities.

Mountaineers Try Korie Black, Get Mixed Results

West Virginia was the first team in a while to test Korie Black’s coverage skills, and the results were mixed for the Mountaineers.

Black intercepted the first pass thrown his way Saturday, returning it 16 yards to set up Ollie Gordon’s first of four rushing touchdowns.

But, Black was also flagged for a pair of pass interference penalties. It seems as if pass interference calls have been less prevalent this year. After Black’s two PI calls this past week, OSU has been flagged for the rule only four times this season to this point.

According to Pro Football Focus, teams have now targeted Black 24 times this season, where he has allowed 10 catches for 119 yards, no touchdowns and one interception — not too shabby.

“It was fun — it was fun,” Black said. “But, ya know, those two penalties are something that I’m about to clean up. But I liked the challenge, though, it was fun for sure.”

The Big Men Ran Too

Ollie Gordon ran for a lot of yards Saturday — 282 of them to be precise. But you know who also did a lot of running in Morgantown? The Cowboys’ offensive line.

Gordon had touchdown runs of 46 and 53 yards in the game’s final five minutes. After providing the lane for Gordon to dart through, the O-line then chased Gordon down the field to celebrate with him in the end zone.

Right tackle Jake Springfield said the celebratory sprints aren’t nearly as tiring.

“That’s the best feeling in football, especially as an offensive lineman,” Springfield said. “Knowing that you were able to hold your block, all five of them across the board and then the running back saw the hole, took off and then you’re able to kinda run down the field, chase them and go celebrate in the end zone.”

Johnson Tougher Than He Originally Thought

UMass transfer tight end Josiah Johnson played 52 snaps in Morgantown, tied for his most this season with the Cowboys’ trip to Ames.

That’s part of a trend that has seen Johnson on the field more and more. During OSU’s nonconference, he averaged 30.3 snaps a game, per PFF. In Big 12 play, he has averaged 45 snaps a game.

He caught his only target in Morgantown, a big 10-yard reception on a 3rd-and-8 in the third quarter. Johnson is up to 11 catches for 83 yards this season.

With five regular-season games to play, he might end up having a career year, even after the step up to Power Five football. Johnson’s best year at UMass was last season when he caught 24 passes for 163 yards. Seven of Johnson’s catches this season have come in Big 12 play and have resulted in 50 yards.

“I’ve learned that I might be a little bit tougher than I originally thought because obviously these Big 12 boys can hit,” Johnson said. “We’ve had a couple bumps and bruises, but I’ve also learned how much I need to work on, that’s thanks to Coach Mac [Jason McEndoo], when blocking in the box and stuff like that, with feet and hands.

“Obviously these guys are good that we play against every week. I keep learning more and more how much better I’ve gotten since the week before and how much I need to keep getting better to get better blocking and stuff, which is something that I’ve really tried to work on this year.”

The post Notebook: WVU Tried Korie Black, the O-Line Ran Too and Johnson’s Usage Increasing in Big 12 Play first appeared on Pistols Firing.