Oklahoma State Football: what went wrong against Central Michigan

With Central Michigan playing in the Miami Beach Bowl, we look back at how Oklahoma State lost in one of the biggest upsets of the season.

The Central Michigan Chippewas faced the Tulsa Golden Hurricane today in the Miami Beach Bowl. CMU was beaten by the largest margin of any game during this bowl season, by a score of 55-10.

For Oklahoma State Cowboys fans watching the game, it was a brutal reminder of what transpired at the beginning of the season. At the time, the no. 22 Cowboys took on an unranked but undefeated CMU team in Stillwater. Yet, it seemed like an easy victory for OK State.

You can view the full game between OK State and CMU here.

Starting in the first quarter, it looked like the Pokes would be able to coast to the easy victory they thought they would get with a 14-0 lead. However, the game would start taking a rough turn for OK State starting in the second quarter. The Pokes did not win a single quarter for the rest of the game.

CMU quarterback Cooper Rush responded from a weak first quarter with four total touchdowns the rest of the game. Rush actually outperformed OK State quarterback Mason Rudolph. Moreover, CMU outgained OK State by 80 yards.

Many of the problems that experts saw with OK State came to the forefront against the Chips. The offensive line did not hold up well and the pass defense struggled for most of the game. Rudolph battled his own consistency issues through the entire game as well. And, finally, the running game was largely nonexistent.

It’s a good thing for OK State that lots of these issues ironed themselves out as the season went along.

However, none of these issues would have been remembered after this game if not for the final few minutes of the game. OK State fans really got nervous until wide receiver James Washington caught the go-ahead touchdown pass with 5:12 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Pokes a 27-24 lead.

The ensuing drive saw the Chips come up short and it looked like the Pokes would escape with a win. Yet, the final play of the game saw Rudolph throw up a pass out of bounds that would be called back by an intentional grounding flag.

This flag never should have been thrown and the game should have been over, but it gave CMU one untimed down around midfield. A hook-n-ladder that officially went down as a nine-yard touchdown completed one of the most improbable upsets of the season.

CMU managed to pull off not only one of the greatest upsets of the season but also one of the most miraculous plays seen in the last decade. While many people look at this as something that should have never happened in the first place, there were other things at fault. If Rudolph played well, or the offensive line held their own, or the secondary didn’t get picked apart, this game would not have ended the way it did.