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Kansas State Superlatives: Game MVPs, Top Plays, Stats that Stood Out and More

Who and what stood out from OSU’s wild Friday night win.



[Devin Wilber/PFB]

Oklahoma State avoided a losing streak Friday night with a 29-21 win against Kansas State in Boone Pickens Stadium.

In a game that was as surprising as a Friday night college football game could be, here are the contest’s MVPs, play of the game and more that stood out.

Offensive MVP: Alex Hale

Yes, the kicker isn’t technically an offensive player, but Alex Hale was OSU’s best offensive weapon Friday night.

Hale was responsible for 17 of OSU’s 29 points. That’s over half. He was 5-for-6 with makes from 43, 34, 53, 31 and 25, plus two made PATs. The only miss was a block. And Hale’s five makes tied a school record for most in a game.

Defensive MVP: Cameron Epps

Two weeks ago, Cameron Epps struggled in his first start at safety against Iowa State. On Friday, Epps was the best player on the field.

Epps nabbed his first career interception in the first quarter to tally OSU’s first takeaway since Week 2 against Arizona State. The next quarter, Epps got his second interception and returned it for a 35-yard touchdown for the play of the game (more next).

Epps ended his second career start with the two interceptions, five tackles and two pass breakups.

Play of the Game: Epps Pick-6

Fitting that the player of the game also executed the play of the game.

Safety Cameron Epps took his second interception of the night and his career for a 35-yard touchdown to give his team a 20-7 halftime lead.

PFB is having technical issues embedding Tweets (Exes?), but you can see the top play here.

Defensive Honorable Mention: Nickolas Martin

It’s hard to outdo the night that Cameron Epps had, but linebacker Nickolas Martin was dang close.

Martin was the other Cowboy to intercept Will Howard, with his coming late in the fourth quarter. The play gave the ball back to OSU with a chance to end the game, but the offense failed to convert a first down and gave the ball back to K-State.

Martin also led OSU with 17 (!!) total tackles, including 10 solo. He recorded a sack and 2.5 tackles for loss, as well.

Call of the Game: A Fake Punt from Mike Gundy?

In the second quarter, fans at Boone Pickens Stadium booed as the OSU offense trotted off the turf on 4th-and-1 from its own 44 as the orange faithful expected the usual conservative 4th-down decision from Gundy. But with the Cowboys lined up to punt, the ball went straight to Elijah Collins, who ran it for four yards and a first down.

Although the call was ultimately for nothing after a blocked field goal, it was still a breath of fresh air. That call was the highlight of a very unusual (in a good way) night play-calling wise from Gundy & Co.

Offensive Stat that Stood Out: 174 Rushing Yards

Considering OSU’s lack of run-game production and K-State’s success at stopping it, this number was expected to be even lower than usual– never higher.

K-State entered the game with the sixth-best run defense in country, holding opponents to 73.2 rushing yards a game. OSU had averaged 121.8 rushing yards a game– 104th in FBS.

The Cowboys exploded for a season-high 174 rushing yards, though. Ollie Gordon accounted for 136 of those yards.

Defensive Stat that Stood Out: 3 Interceptions

The Cowboys hadn’t forced a turnover since their last win against Arizona State Week 2. Probably not a coincidence OSU finally recorded not one but three turnovers in its return to the win column.

OSU intercepted Will Howard three times, with Cameron Epps grabbing two of them. Howard had thrown one interception in every game before.

Mike Gundy Moves Up Wins List

As it looked like Mike Gundy was starting to move down some all-time wins lists, a win Friday night moved him right back up.

Gundy entered the K-State game tied for fourth with Utah coach Kyle Whittingham with 158 wins on the list for most wins at current school. The most recent win gave Gundy sole possession of fourth place, at least for a week while Utah is off this week.

Clemson’s Dabo Swinney is in third with 164 wins. Alabama’s Nick Saban leads the group with 198, followed by Iowa’s Kirk Ferentz at 190.

Don’t Count Out Gundy at BPS

Brett McMurphy tweeted after OSU’s game Friday night that Gundy’s team has won eight of the last nine times that OSU was an underdog at home. The Cowboys were 11-point dogs against K-State.

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