Unfiltered and somewhat unorganized thoughts immediately following the Oklahoma State football team’s victory on the road against Texas in the Big 12 opener for both teams.
Oklahoma State 30 Texas 27
What the hell just happened?
If you felt like you needed a shower after that win, you’re not alone. That was some dirty stuff.
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I know the saying is ‘a win is a win,’ but this honestly doesn’t feel like one.
Some way, somehow, despite the Cowboys coaching staff and players literally joining in on a collective effort to lose this game, Texas outdid them.
Somehow, despite sabotaging their offense and making completely asinine and unexplainable decisions, Texas outdid them.
Musical chair quarterbacking, playcalling that was so conservative that the team might as well of taken three knees or punted on first down, etc etc etc. No matter, it’s all good, Texas had their back.
Fortunately for Oklahoma State, Glenn Spencer exists. He exists over on his own oasis somewhere, where reasoning and solid playcalling flow freely from the River of Rationality and into the Lake of Sanity, of which he drinks and swims freely while listening to Jimmy Buffet.
Simply put, the defense won this game. They were consistent throughout, and came up big every single time the team needed them to, right down to the Longhorns’ last possession.
And the thing is, It’s not even like the Cowboys were shut down on offense overall. Yes, the running game sucked as usual (kind of,) but Mason Rudolph was having a typical outing until that first interception. The phantom fumble? No big deal. Interceptions though? He just wasn’t the same after. Had the Cowboys calmed down and went about their way on offense instead of bringing Walsh in every other play while curling up in the fetal position, things might have turned out a little differently.
But that’s not what they did. Gundy panicked, Rudolph wanted to evaporate, and Mike Yurcich was probably running around trying to find a better view of things or maybe a headset that would work.
Speaking of the headset situation, even if that had an affect on things, it doesn’t explain away the complete insanity that was the fourth quarter. With the run game being mostly ineffective, and with time rapidly running down, the Cowboys opted at one point to run on eight out of nine plays in two separate possessions for a total of 20 yards, 16 of which came on a draw run by Walsh against a prevent defense in a third-and-long situation.
If it wasn’t for the 40 yards of penalties on Texas in a span of 10 seconds, this game ends differently. It’s almost like Charlie Strong wanted to give Mike Gundy a handicap.
People can say all they want to about refs making weird calls, and the Texas punter gifting the ball to the Cowboys in the final two minutes. The truth is, a few of those calls were iffy. But that’s just what they were — iffy, not wrong. That’s football. There were about 12 other penalties on Texas that weren’t iffy. 12 freaking penalties. And if you want to talk about gifts, how about that time that Rudolph decided to perform a backwards pass to a Texas defender with nobody in his way en route to the end zone? That gift resulted in an easy touchdown that allowed a team down 14-3 to have some confidence.
The defense has nothing to hang their heads about. They won the game. They did their part time and time again, allowing a mere 13 points and 290 yards against an offense that went for over 650 last week.
Sep 26, 2015; Austin, TX, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Mason Rudolph (2) reacts after a touchdown against the Texas Longhorns during the first quarter at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brendan Maloney-USA TODAY Sports
The offense was actually fine in the first half, and didn’t even punt until there was just over a minute left in the opening half. J.W. Walsh had two touchdowns in two series by the time the third quarter was halfway over.
Then the interceptions started coming.
Everything unraveled after that. Once Rudolph was shaken after realizing that he was solely responsible for 14 Texas points and three turnovers, the offense became a panicking mess, forcing itself to run the ball, knowing that Texas knew what was coming. Walsh kept coming in, and the offense grew incredibly one-dimensional, even though Walsh is perfectly capable of passing, especially with the 358 quality receivers that OSU has on the field at any given moment.
They ignored everything they did that worked in the first half.
It literally looked like they were trying to lose, abandoning anything that helped them get their initial lead. Fortunately, Texas was there to save the day and hand the game back to the Cowboys like the gentlemen they are.
This game isn’t a case of being out-manned, or overpowered. This game wasn’t a case of being out-coached either. It was simply a case of coaches out-thinking themselves.
Oklahoma State has the personnel. A budding star at quarterback, a million receivers, capable running backs, an offensive line that is solid at pass protection and improving somewhat in run blocking, an increasingly dominant defense, solid special teams.
It’s all there. It’s time for this staff to figure out what to do with it — mainly on one side of the ball. Surprisingly, I’m still confident that this can happen. When you have a defense this good, it gives the offense some breathing room to get their crap together. And don’t forget: Mike Gundy is an offensive mind at heart. He is fully capable of righting the ship.
*Still, if you think you have any idea what to expect next week against Kansas State, you’re fooling yourself.*
My biggest takeaway from this is a sudden lack of confidence in most of the coaching staff, who showed us that they can completely lose their freaking minds when faced with difficult situations and adversity.
Let’s hope they got that out of their system today. If this isn’t a wake up call, I don’t know what is.
On a positive note, I’ll leave this here for you to get through the week:
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