It's early, and Oklahoma State has been winning big in non-conference play, but wide receiver Josh Stewart has yet to put up huge numbers this season.
Stewart, a junior for the Cowboys, has just 12 receptions for 185 yards and a score through three games. That's nothing to scoff at, to be sure, but it currently doesn't place him among the top wide receivers in the Big 12, let alone all of college football.
To put that into context, Stewart finished the 2012 season with 101 receptions—good enough to finish ninth in the country—for 1,210 yards and seven touchdowns.
Clearly, Stewart has the talent and resume to repeat those kinds of numbers in 2013. The question isn't so much will he do it, but when will he break out.
Keep in mind that the football is being spread around a lot this season for the Pokes. Already, 14 different players have caught passes this season. Freshman Jhajuan Seales is instantly making an impact by recording 11 catches for 123 yards and a score.
Numbers are naturally going to decline for Stewart in a situation like that. But he will get an opportunity to post bigger numbers on Saturday against West Virginia. Last year, Stewart posted a career day with 13 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns, plus another 46-yard touchdown run, in a win against WVU.
The Mountaineers have improved on pass defense this season from a numbers standpoint, currently ranking 13th in that category per NCAA stats. That's also not terribly hard to do considering how bad WVU was in that category a year ago. Additionally, that number may not be a true reflection of how good or bad the Eers' pass defense really is. Oklahoma State will easily have the best passing attack West Virginia has seen to date in 2013.
If Stewart can take off for Oklahoma State on Saturday, things may begin to snowball for him (in a good way) for the rest of the season. There's really only one shutdown corner in the Big 12, and that is TCU's Jason Verrett. That will undoubtedly be the matchup when Oklahoma State and TCU meet in Stillwater in a few weeks.
Until then, Stewart has a great chance to break free for some bigger numbers.
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