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The Rundown: What Mike Gundy Said after OSU’s Loss in Ames

“They made the last play.”

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[Devin Wilber/PFB]

AMES, Iowa — For the first time in 2021, Mike Gundy had to talk about a game in which his team lost.

Oklahoma State fell to Iowa State 24-21 on Saturday. Here is everything OSU’s coach said in the postgame presser.

Opening Statement

“Hard fought game. I was really proud of our players. I told them in the locker room that their competitive nature and their willingness to compete throughout and fight. Early in the week we talked about when two good football teams go against each other, you’re going to exchange blows, just like we did last week. They’re gonna make a play, you’re gonna make a play, back and forth. And in the end, they made another play, one more than we did, came up just short on the fourth down, and so you give them credit. They played a good game. They made the last play, or the last coaches call whichever way you want to go with that. Basically an even game, no turnovers. We were down 30 yards in penalties, but we got the 30-plus yards back in return. So, when you look at special team yards and penalty yards, it was pretty even, 332 to 374 yardage.

“Couple things that stick out to me, 2-for-10 on third down is not good enough to win against a good football team. And obviously, we didn’t do a good job today, for whatever reason, of disrupting the quarterback. He got in a rhythm against us and started playing well. And he’s done that. There’s times people have talked about him not playing as good, you know, you read the media, but when he gets in a groove like he got into groove today, we couldn’t disrupt him much. In the second half, we didn’t get to him and disrupt his rhythm. In my opinion, that was the difference in the game. Everything else is very similar. There just wasn’t a lot of difference in the other categories.”

On if he thought Brennan Presley got the first down late in the game

“I thought he did. It looked like [Danny Godlevske] pulled him over the line, but I mean you know there’s a lot of plays in the game. I hate to — and I’m probably pretty partial to feeling like he made it. But either way, there’s a lot of plays in the game.”

On not being able to get to Brock Purdy late

“Well, we had some issues with pass rush, and [Purdy] moved around and dumped it off and threw it for three and [Breece Hall] ran for probably another 30. It almost looked like in the second half that they just said, ‘For get the run. We’re going to try to just run enough to throw passes,’ and that’s what they did. And he got in a rhythm. Like I said earlier, I mean, you’d have to ask them, but that’s what it looked like to me.”

On the Oklahoma State running game and productive pass plays

“Same thing. Both teams have good defenses, and both teams have been good versus the run. It showed today. Early we were rushing the ball pretty well. Then they slowed us down some. And we started throwing it around very similar to what they did. Really pretty even. Again, I just kind of go back to they made the last play.”

On whether this was one of Spencer Sanders’ better games this season

“I thought he played good, yeah. He made some throws, and I felt like he played good. He ran the ball OK at times and scrambled around and made a few plays. Again, without watching the tape I was pleased from the sideline of how he played.”

On decisions to kick field goals instead of go for it on fourth-and-short

“I think the 4th-and-1 was down tight. It’s hard to just not take the lead when you’re on the road. It’s a fairly easy field goal, and you’re on the road and you got a chance to take the lead. If I do it again, I would take the lead, I would kick a field goal. If I knew he was not going to make it I wouldn’t, but if I was in the same situation, I would do it again.”

On what range he would have been comfortable with for Tanner Brown on the final drive

“Well his range is there. The one he missed, he just missed it to the right a little bit. And that was 50ish. So, I’m OK with him.”

On if there were other options before the throw to Brennan Presley on the last offensive play

“I like the call. There was a lot of ways to look at it. Once the game’s over, you start thinking about four or five different calls. We liked the call. It was close and came up a little short.”

On issues with scoring in the third quarter

“I don’t know. We need to try to find a way to play better than the second half. But, you know the timing of the game, it’s hard to really tell. As I think about it, it’s hard to tell. Halftime adjustments are the only thing that I could hang my hat on and say we need to maybe look at a different way to present ourselves with opportunities in the second half, but sitting here right now, I really don’t have an answer for you.”

On protecting Spencer Sanders

“It was better today, and they got after us on (OSU’s second-to-last drive) and got us in long yardage. Sometimes that can happen. You’re not playing run, playing pass only. But overall, our protection was better today.”

On Iowa State’s star players playing well at the end of the game

“They’re a very mature team. They’ve got a number of ‘super seniors.’ They’re a really veteran team, in my opinion the most veteran team in this league. As I said on Monday, they’re playing really good football and much better in the last month than they did to start the year. And I said this coming into the game, going into this weekend, if you just look at the teams in our league playing together in all three phases, they might be playing as good as anybody in our league now. Debatable. We knew this was gonna be a four-quarter game. We knew this was going to be a tough football game up here.”

On if he learned anything about the team Saturday

“I told them I knew. They compete. They got a big fourth-down stop, went down and scored on the road in the fourth quarter and took the lead and gave ourselves a chance. They came back and made plays. Purdy got in a rhythm and was pretty good. They made plays, and they stopped us. We punted. We executed really well, and we stopped them again at midfield, essentially almost midfield. That’s not easy to do. Then we rallied back to almost midfield, or maybe even midfield. Then just came up a little short. I think I have a pretty good feel for the team, and I think they showed those qualities today. They just made the last play and we didn’t.”

On Brennan Presley’s game

“He made really nice catches today. Both of his touchdowns were fantastic catches. He’s a good football player. We’ve talked about trying to get him involved in the game more, and they did a good job of that today.”

On how he thinks the team will respond to its first loss

“I’m not concerned about them. We also have a number of guys that have been in this situation before. The locker room is exactly the way it should be. I had to get them going a little bit and get them up and around because they’re sitting there and they hurt. That’s the feeling you get in college football. You put a lot into it, and when you come up a little short, you should feel that way. If you don’t, then we have other issues. But I’ve told them the same thing I tell them every Saturday: whether it’s a celebration or it’s a tough loss like this, we have to come to work tomorrow, and we have to start preparing for the next game. That’s just the way college football is. That’s why it’s the greatest college sport there is because every game matters. You don’t have time to worry about what happened in the last one, good or bad. So, I would fully expect the staff and the team to come back to work tomorrow when they come over tomorrow night, and we’ll correct our mistakes.

“I told them, I said the coaches have to be very critical of themselves and look at where we made errors, scheme-wise and playcall-wise. Players have to do the same where they made mistakes. Then we have to correct those mistakes and move forward. Otherwise, we’re not very smart coaches and we’re not very smart players, and that makes us not a smart team. The principle and the culture and the discipline we live by, and the focus, is see what you did wrong, all of us, including me, correct it and how can we make it better and go back to work tomorrow night.

“But I told them I was proud of them. Sometimes you come up short. That’s the way it is. Fifty percent of the teams that play on Saturdays lose. Doesn’t mean you’re a failure, just means you came up a little short.”

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