Oklahoma State football fans can be forgiven for being down in the dumps about their team after the first two weeks of 2021.
Honestly, there are plenty of valid reasons for the pessimism: OSU has beaten an FCS team and a non-Power 5 team at home by only one possession each. Turnovers remain a problem. The offense has looked stagnant, and the energy just doesn’t look like it’s completely there on the Cowboys sideline.
OSU was outgained in total yards by Tulsa and might have lost to the Golden Hurricane at home for the first time since 1951 if L.D. Brown hadn’t returned that kickoff 98 yards for a score.
Despite two less-than-stellar wins to begin the 2021 season, Oklahoma State football still has reasons to remain optimistic about the Cowboys.
All hope isn’t lost in 2021, though.
Cowboys fans should remain in high spirits heading into a crucial Week 3 road trip to face Boise State.
First, a win is a win. And yes, this statement could be repeated from the aftermath of Week 1, when OSU won 23-16 against FCS for Missouri State.
Look around the nation. A historic number of ranked teams have fallen to unranked opponents, and FCS teams are beating their FBS counterparts left and right. The Montana Grizzlies beat Pac-12 title hopeful Washington, Tulsa itself lost to the UC Davis Aggies, and Florida State somehow lost to the Jacksonville State Gamecocks on a last-minute “Glory Be” (it wasn’t quite a Hail Mary, you know).
Not among the Power 5 Goliaths who have been slain by FCS Davids in the first two weeks of 2021: OSU. It wasn’t pretty in either week, but the Cowboys found a way to win. The team isn’t nationally ranked by the pollsters, so there’s no crushing weight of too much early hype.
Second, OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders helped the Pokes pull out the win in his first action of the season last Saturday. Sanders sat out Week 1 due to COVID-19 protocols, and he understandably showed some rust in his Week 2 debut against Tulsa. The Denton, Tex. native showed his big-play ability late, though, like on a 37-yard run in the fourth quarter to set up a late Cowboys touchdown.
Third, look around at how other Big 12 teams have fared in the season’s first couple of weeks. Texas Tech and Kansas State each had scares at home against FCS opponents in Week 2 (although honestly, OSU managed to let Missouri State make the scoreboard look closer than the game actually felt in Week 1) before pulling out wins.
OU, despite its AP Top 5 ranking, came within a yard of perhaps losing at home to the unheralded Tulane Green Wave. Kansas got walloped by a Sun Belt team in Coastal Carolina. And then there’s Texas: the Longhorns might be the most pilloried team in the nation after getting blown out by traditional SEC West bottom feeder Arkansas, 40-21.
Don’t worry too much about the first two weeks, Cowboys fans. OSU enters its Week 3 road trip to Boise as 4.5-point underdogs to the Broncos — but an upset win on the blue turf would assuredly erase any bad taste from the first two lackluster wins of 2021.