STILLWATER – They had dubbed themselves the Dream Team and received a bit of ribbing by Mike Gundy in the fall.
The trio of Jordan McCray, C.J. Moore and Patrick McKaufman – who all stand over 6-foot-5 – were supposed to be the perfect pairing opposite play-making junior receiver Tylan Wallace, a Biletnikoff Award finalist a year ago who has kept pace with his sophomore season two games in.
It was a lofty name, comparing themselves to arguably the greatest collection of NBA players in the early ’90s – the Dream Team that dominated the global competition in the 1992 Summer Olympics with 11 eventual Hall of Famers.
The nickname may seem a little farfetched for comparison sake, but as for their place within the Oklahoma State offense it may not be far off.
“From what I saw in August, they’re further along than I thought they would be,” Gundy said. “We’ll find out as we go along. They weren’t as far along as I wanted them to be three weeks ago, but they’ve played better in-game.”
While Wallace will continue to put up numbers and draw opposing secondaries toward his side of the field, the presence of McCray, Moore and McKaufman will be in greater demand. And two games in, they are showing glimpses of being able to deliver.
Following the season opener at Oregon State in which McCray and Moore combined for four catches – two apiece – and 38 yards – 22 for McCray and 16 for Moore, who also had a touchdown catch – they jumped out again against lowly McNeese from the Southland Conference in the FCS.
Three of McCray’s first four catches went for first downs on Oklahoma State’s third and fourth scoring drives of the game.
He ultimately finished the game with those four catches for 45 yards with a long of 13 yards, catching all four of the targets from Spencer Sanders.
Moore’s only catch went for a 59-yard touchdown off a slant over the middle on his only target of the game, giving him two touchdowns on three catches this season.
“Coach (Kasey) Dunn just told us to go up and make plays, go up and grab the ball,” Moore said. “So that’s what we’re trying to do. We worked on it a lot more this week, and working on it really instilled it in us for this week.”
McCray and Moore combined for five catches for 104 yards to give balance to the pass attack opposite Wallace – who finished with 180 yards on five catches – while inside receivers Dillon Stoner (three catches for 25 yards) and Braydon Johnson (one catch for a 69-yard touchdown) were able to exploit the middle of the field.
The Dream Team is slowly gaining experience in the offense and creating an option for Sanders outside of the top target, which will be essential when Big 12 Conference defenses – with more talent in the secondary – may be able to keep Wallace on lockdown and putting more pressure to perform on the other side of the field.
“I’m sure we’ll see some coverage-related things with as much as Tylan has done – if you’re a smart coach, you’re going to try to take away one of the best players,” OSU offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson said. “So those guys, at some point, are going to have to step up for us. And luckily, thus far, they have.”
Jason Elmquist is sports editor of The Stillwater News Press. He can be contacted at email@example.com.