Connect with us


Four Things We Learned from OSU’s 39-32 Win over Kansas

On playmakers making plays and continued red zone struggles.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

For the second straight week, the Cowboys were home underdogs and for the second straight week they came out on top.

Oklahoma State defeated No. 23 Kansas 39-32 on Saturday bookending a pretty weird second and third quarters with an early offensive outburst and a late defensive stand.

Let’s take a look at four things we learned from the Cowboys’ fourth win of the season.

1. It Pays to Give the Ball to Your Playmakers

This will be a well-tread talking point, but it bears repeating.

The Cowboys force-fed Ollie Gordon on Saturday and he repaid it with a historic performance.

No. Zero took a career-high 29 careers and dragged the Cowboys’ offense 168 yards down the field and scored a touchdown. That, on its own, is a career game. Then you add six catches for 116 yards and another score, and we’re talking about one of the top performances in college football this season, and a game OSU fans will remember for some time.

The Cowboys also remembered that Brennan Presley is really fast and skilled with the ball in space and acted accordingly.

Presley was targeted a team-high 13 times. With that, he reeled in eight catches for 79 yards (both season highs), and he scored twice including the go-ahead touchdown that facilitated the win.

Earlier this season, when the Cowboys were struggling to move the ball consistently, it was no coincidence that their two best playmakers weren’t touching the ball. Against South Alabama, OSU’s leading returning receiver, Presley, had three catches for 11 yards and its leading returning rusher, Gordon, took three handoffs for 12.

It’s still mind-boggling to think that these two were so under-utilized early while position battles played out long into the season, but at least they finally figured it out.

2. Kansas is Good on Third Down (OSU Got Good)

KU came in ranked sixth nationally (atop the Big 12) completing 53.3% of its third downs, and that continued in Stillwater. OSU came in ranked ninth in the league, allowing teams to convert on 39% of their tries. That trend continued on Saturday, until it didn’t.

Through the first three quarters, the Jayhawks were 7-of-10 on third down, and that felt low. By the second half, it seemed like a third down was almost a sure thing for Kansas. But that all changed in the fourth quarter.

KU went 0-for-3 on third down in the final period as part of a stretch in which the Cowboys’ defense locked down the Jayhawks.

3. OSU Needed Those Turnovers

After forcing just two turnovers in the first four games, it looks like the Cowboys have figured out how to take it back.

Last week, it was a 3-0 turnover edge that helped the Cowboys take down the Wildcats. This week, it was back-to-back picks late in the game that stole the momentum back and allowed for the win.

Kendal Daniels’ interception in the red zone won’t likely get its just due, but it was really the play of the game. If he doesn’t make that play, KU likely pushes its lead to 39-27 (or 38 because PATs were awful).

That started a streak of four stops, along with Dylan Smith’s pick, and two straight stops via turnover-on-downs. And the Jayhawks never got that close to the end zone again.

But the momentum shift from Daniels’ INT was huge. I don’t know if the Cowboys would have survived a sixth TD from Jason Bean.

4. Red Zone Issues Still There

The last few yards across the goal line are often the toughest to get, but the Cowboys have had an especially hard time picking them up all year. The Cowboys had to settle for a field goal on three of their red zone trips, and in all of those, OSU had made it within the 11-yard line.

The Cowboys could have sealed the game earlier than they did if they could have picked up less than a yard on third down. Instead, Gordon was stonewalled. Alex Hale kicked a field goal to make the lead 39-32 with 15 seconds left, and it worked out for OSU, but you’d like to be able to take a yard when you need it.

Things are improved mightily in the run game, but there’s still some room for growth. OSU has a thin margin the rest of the way to salvage what they can of the season, and this issue could come back to bite them.

Most Read

Copyright © 2011- 2023 White Maple Media