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Cox Notebook: OSU Beats Central Michigan Despite Second-Half Drama

Unloading the notebook after OSU’s win over Central Michigan.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Oklahoma State’s first half (after its first couple of drives) was nearly spotless. OSU’s second half (after its first drive) was covered in warts. But the offensive explosion was big enough in the first two quarters to allow the Cowboys to edge out a win over Central Michigan.

Here’s a look at my scribblings and thoughts as the game unfolded.

Of course they have to start it out replaying the untimed touchdown. Six years later and that replay still hurts.

• The two biggest question marks for OSU’s defense showed up big in the first series. Mason Cobb and Xavier Benson make a pair of plays to force the Chippewas to punt.

• Dominic Richardson, Brennan Presley and Spencer Sanders each make big plays by sacrificing their bodies in the Cowboys’ first offensive possession. Then John Paul Richardson pays it off with a 45-yard catch and score. OSU is not short on playmakers.

• CMU’s Myles Bailey took off for a 30-yard run and then an 11-yard scamper. Then Lew Nichols III breaks off nine. Cowboys need to adjust. Maybe still some communication to be worked out in the LB corps.

• They didn’t adjust fast enough. Chippewas hand it off five times and throw it thrice and march down the field to answer the Cowboys’ score. Tied up early.

• The Cowboys get this close on a couple plays on their second drive — including a would-be housecall by Brennan Presley — but ultimately stall out. It’s still early, right? Rust? Butterflies?

• Spencer Sanders is 6-of-12 for 94 yards and a TD. Central Michigan QB Daniel Richardson 9-of-11 for 85 and a score. Sanders misses short on third-and-long and is two for his last six going to the bench. Year 4. Maybe we can’t blame butterflies or rust.

• Cowboys D forces a safety on first play of Central Michigan’s third drive. Hopefully, this will be the fluky play of the game.

• Kendal Daniels has some Calvin Bundage vibes, and I like it.

• About No. 3. On his next play, Sanders finds Braydon Johnson for a huge 41-yard play.

• After a bit of a rusty start, Sanders is feeling it now.

• Jason Taylor II will make many more plays like this over the next few months.

• Chippewas sneak into the end zone in the final minute of the first half after Richardson hits Carlos Carriere for a 34-yard deep play, setting up a Lew Nichols TD and a 2-point conversion — 37-15, Cowboys.

• The Pokes answer nicely. In 32 seconds and just three plays, Dominic Richardson, Brennan Presley, Dominic Richardson. Cowboys answer and take a 44-15 lead into the half. #NeverKneel

• Brennan Presley looked ready to go full-Bedlam on the opening kick of the second half. A Central Michigan defender had to grab ahold of his facemask to stop him.

• Sanders2Johnson. Print the T-shirts.

• In near back-to-back plays, Collin Oliver records the Cowboys’ first sack of 2022 and then Kendal Daniels grabbed his first career interception.

• Sanders tries to dial up Gunnar Gundy with a deep ball but underthrows and nearly gets picked off himself. Braydon Johnson should get credited with the pass breakup. Gotta minimize those, but Sanders is feeling it now.

• Braydon Johnson, in his return from a year off, is already at a career game.

• The Cowboys are up big now on CMU. Hopefully, Mike Gundy can avoid going shirtless on the brand new turf.

• Seems significant.

• That’s four-straight punts for the Cowboys just seconds into the fourth. This one doesn’t feel like it’s that over. OSU needs to put some points up.

• CMU just scored two touchdowns in the fourth and the third unanswered. The fear is setting in.

• Fly the Gunnar flag.

• I’ve spoken too soon. That’s three-straight TDs for the Chippewas and we have a two-score game with more than two minutes to go.

• OSU’s defense digs in its heels and holds CMU. If the Chips had gotten a first down, the collective BP in BPS would have spiked 30 points.

• But, OSU wins and gets a long week to think about it before welcoming Arizona State.

• Seems legit.

Final Thoughts

OSU’s offense should be pretty good this year, and Spencer Sanders is the key. I would worry a bit about receiver health if OSU is going to play this pass-happy, but still think the Cowboys have plenty of playmakers. As far as the defense goes, I think this is Week 1 and there is a lot of gelling and teeth-cutting yet to be done. The Pokes have an opportunity to be pretty good on that side of the ball. It all depends on how long it takes for them to get seasoned. Despite the final score and second-half slump, there’s a lot to like about this team.

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