PHOENIX, Arizona — The Cowboys featured ball carrier is back.
Jaylen Warren said Wednesday morning that he is back to full strength entering Saturday’s Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame. Warren didn’t record a carry in Oklahoma State’s Big 12 Championship loss against Baylor on Dec. 4 because of an ankle injury.
“I’m 100% right now,” Warren said. “I feel good.”
Warren transferred to OSU from Utah State this offseason and has 237 carries and 1,134 yards and 11 touchdowns.
His breakout performance came in Boise, where he rushed 32 times for a career-high 218 yards and two scores. That started a four-game streak of triple-digit yardage performances, a spree that included a 193-yard performance in Austin.
A senior without eligibility remaining, it wouldn’t have been too crazy in today’s climate if Warren chose to sit out the bowl game. Notre Dame running back Kyren Williams, who has 33 fewer carries and 132 fewer yards than Warren this season, opted out of the contest. But Warren will play.
“I think missing the last game kind of sealed my decision,” Warren said. “I mean, I would play with these boys if we have five more games. I just like playing with them. The brotherhood we’ve created kind of sticks out for me, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to keep playing with them. Like this last week of practice, it’s kind of been saddening knowing it’s my last week of practice with them.”
Without Warren in the Big 12 Championship game, Cowboy running backs mustered only 33 rushing yards on 26 attempts (1.3 yards a carry). It was different circumstances with a healthy Danny Godlevske at center, but when Warren played against Baylor in early October, he rushed for 125 yards on 36 carries.
“He was our go-to guy all year long, and to have him back and available for this game, at least so we think, that’s gonna make a difference,” OSU offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn said. “I mean, the kid’s a great player, and he’s a sparkplug for our offense. The kids love him and they rally around him. So yeah, it’s a difference-maker for us.”