Oklahoma State Staggered Early by Oklahoma Schemes and Player Edge
NORMAN -- In review the fight may have gone the distance because college football games are not ended early, they all go 60 minutes unless there is some act of nature that prevents it. That said, Oklahoma State was hit with a combination of round house haymakers and a series of body blows that put Oklahoma in a commanding lead and the Cowboys could never get back in it enough to make you think they could win it.
"I wish we could have had the first quarter back," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "We put ourselves in a hole, we never really could come back. We're not as explosive in certain areas as we have been in past years, so it was a bit tougher. We lost to a better team. They outcoached us. They outplayed us. You have to give them credit.”
With a defense that was geared early to stop the counter, an Oklahoma "go to" run play, OU head coach Lincoln Riley mixed in a screen that looked very similar to the one Oklahoma State had used early in the year with both Chuba Hubbard and LD Brown and also similar to the screen that Kansas State used effectively to hurt the Cowboys in the first half in Manhattan. Oklahoma mixed in a zone read quarterback keeper that looked unexpected as Spencer Rattler scored the first touchdown.
On defense, Oklahoma played with a very aggressive edge that depending on what the officiating crew will allow can either allow your defense to surge and intimidate or kill you with penalties. The penalties instead went against the Cowboys, including a somewhat mysterious intentional grounding penalty in the second play of the game.
Quarterback Spencer Sanders left the game in the first quarter after he was shaken up when being slammed to the ground by Oklahoma defensive end Ronnie Perkins, who was the obvious leader of the OU attackers on defense. Shane Illingworth replaced Sanders and he Cowboys on a drive that ended with a touchdown pass to cowboy back Logan Carter. Unfortunately, on that drive the Cowboys lost offensive tackle Teven Jenkins for the rest of the game with a back injury.
Jenkins injury caused a reshuffling of the offensive line to Josh Sills at right tackle and Preston Wilson came in at left guard joining right guard Hunter Woodard, center Ry Schneider, and left tackle Jake Springfield. Jenkins is the top offensive lineman for the Pokes and after he was out, the ability to run and protect was compromised.
“We just never could get anything established in the running game to really stabilize them so we could get a little bit of flow on offense,” Gundy said.
"Give credit to them," wide receiver Tylan Wallace said. "We were struggling kind of the whole game trying to make plays. We've just got to be better."
The general theme underneath Oklahoma Memorial Stadium as the Cowboys players and offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn and defensive coordinator Jim Knowles joined Gundy in zooming in disappointment to the media was to collect themselves and get ready.
Oklahoma State is still in a bunched up tie for second in the Big 12 with Oklahoma and Texas, but they have lost the tiebreaker to each. They will need help, but could still find themselves playing for a Big 12 Championship. However, a team that once thought of itself as a Big 12 contender and had others thinking that way too now looks very vulnerable.
Texas Tech coming in for the final home game at 11 a.m. on Saturday and fellow lower division Big 12 teams in TCU and Baylor that Oklahoma State will visit are going to be thinking about brightening the end of their season with a win over the Cowboys.