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10 Thoughts On Oklahoma’s 38-20 Win Over Oklahoma State

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BOX SCORE

I just typed the words “someone should put a mullet on a Crying Jordan” if you wanted to know how this Saturday is going. Oklahoma State got beat up in Norman 38-20 on Saturday with the Big 12 title on the line. The score was only that close because Samaje Perine had mercy and took a knee at OSU’s 1-yard-line with a few seconds left.

Shoutout to Perine for doing that, by the way. As one of our PFB squad members said: Joe Mixon probably would have run that in and thrown the ball in Jordan Sterns’ face.

On Saturday, an injured Sooners team showed out in a game where OSU (and specifically Mason Rudolph) did not. It seemed everyone but Bob Stoops got hurt for the Sooners on Saturday, but OU kept coming and eventually overwhelmed OSU. The Cowboys ran the ball spectacularly in the first half (181 yards) but OU answered with 301 (!) on the ground in the second.

It got away from Oklahoma State in a hurry, too. After somehow taking a 17-10 lead with two minutes to go in the second quarter, Oklahoma State was outscored 28-3 over the final 32 minutes. It was a second-half whipping for a team that is now 2-10 in Bedlam under Mike Gundy.

Joe Mixon, fittingly, delivered the knockout blow with 10 minutes left in the game when he scampered 79 yards for a touchdown seconds after Ben Grogan missed a 38-yard FG that would have pulled the Pokes to within one score (and possibly changed the entire complexion of the game).

We have much to discuss. Let’s get to work.

1. Mike Gundy was not great

For some reason Mike Gundy continues to coach Bedlam like he either A. Has the better recruits than OU or B. Is Kansas State. Why he chooses to do either of these is completely beyond me.

Oklahoma State has to be creative in big games like this because it has worse players. This is just factual. Look at recruiting. Look at the rosters. I know this. You know this. Literally everyone who watches college football knows this. And yet, there is no creativity out of Mike & Mike. Year after year, that’s disappointing.

There were two big issues when it comes to Gundy (well, really big issues) on Saturday that we need to address here.

First, why did Oklahoma State not throw a Hail Mary from OU’s 45 with 10 seconds left in the first half after running it on first down? Even worse, why did Oklahoma State not try to throw a 15-yard pass from the 50 after Barry Sanders’ return? You had 18 seconds left in the half and Ammendola has 50-yard range. You have to get 16-17 yards and have all the time in the world. What are you doing?

I really felt like this is where Oklahoma State lost its edge in the game. It was coming off a defensive drive in which it had just given up a game-tying touchdown, and OU was about to get the ball to start the second half. How do you not even try for points? It’s not like you were on your own 10-yard-line. This was the most unforgivable mistake (to me) for Gundy on Saturday. There’s just no “F you” in him when Stoops is on the other sideline.

I want to see stuff like this out of Gundy:

I want to see Gundy finger-wagging Stoops after big-time TDs. I want to see him winking at the camera and taunting the OU crowd after huge scores. Instead, he just tucks his mullet between his legs and heads for the locker room. Sad!

The other issue is kicking the field goal with 10 minutes left in the game before Mixon put a dagger in our hearts (more on him in a minute). I have less of an issue with the decision to kick the FG and more of a problem with the way you ended up in that situation to begin with.

Let’s recap: There is a three-minute replay of a potential first down earlier in the drive. If you don’t get it, you know you have fourth and inches in your own territory. You have literally three minutes to think about this. Then you send the punt team on the field before calling a timeout and changing your mind. What in the world?

There was little to no rhythm to the OSU offense all day, and it seemed to be the result of indecision from Mike & Mike. And we can continue to talk about Gundy’s poor showing all we want (and I’m sure we will!), but the reality is that OSU did not lose that game because Gundy chose to kick a field goal instead of go for it on fourth down. OSU lost this game for two reasons …

2. Mason Rudolph was horrific

Just downright putrid. He was 11/25 for 186 yards, but that doesn’t even begin to tell the story. He dropped two balls including one under center on the goal line that could have cost OSU a touchdown, and he wasn’t even remotely close on a lot of his throws. Gundy said it as kindly as he could after the game, but Rudolph was bad.

“We just couldn’t get a very good grasp of the ball,” said Gundy. “It wasn’t a really good day for us to have an opportunity to throw it down the field.”

Rudolph’s struggles created two issues. The first is that Mike & Mike got gun-shy on throwing the deep ball (even though they should have probably done it on every down despite Rudolph’s woes because, well, it worked both times they tried it).

The other issue is that OU realized this at halftime, loaded up the box and kept an OSU team that ran for 181 yards in the first half to 36 yards in the second. An offense that came alive early was buried late because No. 2 was no threat at all.

There is no bigger Mason Rudolph fan on the planet than yours truly, but there is not a rational human being alive who could have watched what Rudolph did on Saturday and said he was anything but terrible. That crushed OSU’s chances of winning a Big 12 Championship.

3. OSU didn’t take advantage in the first quarter

The other reason OSU lost is because it didn’t take advantage of its stingy defense in the first quarter. This game started a lot like the Texas Tech game at home in November. OU’s first three drives went like this:

  • Punt
  • Punt
  • Punt

OSU led by just three points after those three drives. If you didn’t think the OU offense — one of the best in Big 12 history — was going to come on late in the game, then you haven’t been paying attention to OU all year.

You needed to be up 14-0 or 17-0 at the end of that sequence like you were against OU. That’s where the game was lost, not in Gundy’s decision to kick a field goal with 10 minuets left.

4. Dr. 1st Half, Mr. 2nd Half

Are you prepared to look at the rushing charts for the first half and the second half? I’m not sure you are, but here is what they looked like.

First half

  • OU: 40 rushing yards (ESPN previously had this number at 3, I have since corrected … apologies)
  • OSU: 181 rushing yards

Second half

  • OU: 301 rushing yards
  • OSU: 36 rushing yards

[monkey covering his eyes emoji]

OU’s plan was pretty clear — let Baker give you the lead and ride Perine and Mixon until they break. They almost did. Perine fumbled in the fourth quarter in a scene quite reminiscent of 2014.

Alas, OSU could not take advantage.

5. Those drive charts

After OSU took that 17-10 lead, this is how each team progressed.

  • OU: TD-TD-TD-Fumble (that would have been a TD-TD-Perine kneels on 1
  • OSU: Ends half abruptly-Punt-FG-Missed FG-Turnover on downs

OU closed like a Big 12 champ is supposed to close on its home field. Oklahoma State closed like a bartender who over-served himself.

I’m not sure if the moment overwhelmed the Cowboys or if they just didn’t have the horses to shut it down, but the game seemed to flip when OU went 76 yards for a TD at the end of the first half and Gundy ran the clock out at the 50. OSU strained to get field goals in the second half, and OU had its way on the ground.

After that mess at the 50-yard-line before the half, OSU never truly got off the mat.

6. OU was battered

One of the most frustrating things about all of this is that Dede Westbrook was eviscerated in the second quarter and didn’t play at all in the second half. OU has no other receivers. This is not hyperbole. Their second-best true receiver came into the game with 320 yards on the season, and Mayfield still found a way to do work.

Even further, Mixon didn’t look like himself and Perine was injured multiple times. OU was without defensive players all over the field, and OSU was completely healthy.

And they still closed when it counted. Mostly because …

7. Baker is a baller

I hate it. I hate it so much.

I sports hate him with a passion when he’s playing Oklahoma State.

This was my personal hell after the game.

But that dude can go. He can play some college football. Johnny Mayfield is the best improviser in the country and he showed up when it mattered most. He’s a dude.

(It also helps when he has more time in the backfield than it takes me to dress my two toddlers in the morning)

“I think it’s pretty clear what happened,” said Gundy after the game. “One of the things that I had concerns with coming in was them getting in big plays, and that’s what happened. Unfortunately we played pretty good, in fact maintained some quality drives and had some defensive stands, but they big-played us.

“I was concerned about Mayfield and his ability to buy time, move around and sling the ball down the field, and he was able to do that. He’s obviously really good at that.”

8. Where Was Washington?

The President had eight targets and it felt like two. Why not at least throw it up a couple times, especially when he’s making grabs like this?

I do think the rain helped OU in that Baker’s improv skills allowed his receiver to run around until OSU’s defenders fell down. Rudolph doesn’t do that (at least not like Baker), and you could tell the timing and patterns were all askew all afternoon. Especially for Rudolph2Washington.

9. The Lone Bright Spot

Justice Hill is a dog (and was the lone bright spot offensively for the Pokes — along with Chris Carson). He went over 1,000 yards on the season after a 16-rush, 99-yard performance on Saturday, and he was a complete maniac all day. /Whispers OU didn’t even recruit this guy, and he was the best RB on a field of great ones … at least for the first half.

He was even impressive when his runs got called back.

10. What’s next?

Oklahoma State will get (probably) Colorado in the Alamo Bowl. This is a great outcome for the Pokes from a postseason perspective. The Alamo Bowl is the second-best Big 12 bowl game, and Colorado is a good matchup for the Pokes. It will be fun to play a former Big 8/Big 12 brethren in a bowl game, and you don’t have to worry about getting run off the field like you would if USC was the opponent.

From a big picture standpoint, I don’t really know how to feel. I came into Saturday thinking Oklahoma State was either going to win or make it dang close. It did neither, although Grogan making the FG late could have made it a lot tighter than it turned out to be. Gundy now has 10 losses to OU in 12 years and is 1-3 in de facto Big 12 title games.

You have a lot coming back next year for Round 3 (and Round 4?) with Baker and Co., but this was a butt-whupping of the most frustrating variety. It wasn’t like last year. Last year, you were hurt and OU was immense. This year, you caught a ton of breaks. It is OU that was riddled with injuries and hanging on by one of Baker’s facial handlebars.

OSU couldn’t get it done when with the chips were down in Norman and a Big 12 title on the line. Just as winning 10 (!) Big 12 titles in 18 years likely never gets old for Bob Stoops, the sting of knowing your team wasn’t good enough (again) doesn’t dull. OSU had a real chance to turn the Big 12 and Bedlam tide on Saturday, and it failed as spectacularly as possible.

On to the next one (which happens to be basketball tonight at Maryland!)

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