Another Oklahoma State football season has come and gone, and with that came another series of plays that had us awestruck (or even searching for the rulebook to find out if that was legal.)
Here are the top 10 plays of the Cowboys’ 2022 football season.
10. Tom Hutton-Induced Safeties
The ever-accurate Tom Hutton was responsible for 4 points early in OSU’s 2022 season.
In OSU’s season-opener vs. Central Michigan, Hutton pinned the Chippewas at their 2-yard line with a 43 yard dart throw, and one play later, Tyler Lacy and Co. wreaked havoc on CMU’s offensive line and tackled running back Lew Nichols in the end zone for a safety.
Then in the Cowboys’ conference-opener against Baylor, Hutton did it again.
OSU had a 4th-and-4 from Baylor’s 39, and some folks probably went crazy that Mike Gundy sent the punt team out. But with a weapon like Hutton, it worked out for the Cowboys’ coach. Hutton’s 37-yard boot pinned Baylor on its 2. And — again — it took the Cowboys’ defense just one play to blow things up and leave with 2 points and the ball.
9. Demarco Jones Makes Everyone Check the Rulebook
This isn’t you’re traditional big play, but one that everyone had to watch a few times to wonder what the heck was going on.
Texas Tech likes to attempt surprise onside kicks in Stillwater, and the past two haven’t gone so well. This season, the Red Raiders busted one out after scoring on their first possession of the game. The kick looped straight into the air, and with hardly anytime to think, Demarco Jones waved his hand in the air, signaling a fair catch, nullifying that the Red Raiders recovered.
It had us running to the rule book, which states: “During a free kick, a player of the receiving team in position to receive the ball has the same kick-catch and fair-catch protection whether the ball is kicked directly off the tee or is immediately driven to the ground, strikes the ground once and goes into the air in the manner of the ball kicked directly off the tee.”
The Cowboys won this game 41-31, but if Tech was able to run to a two-score lead before OSU even got the ball, who knows what happens?
8. Jason Taylor Puts the Bears on Ice
Jason Taylor didn’t have an interception quite as consequential as his 85-yard pick-six against Texas last season — but for goodness sake, the man did have six interceptions in 2022.
He iced two games with INTs this season, but we’ll stick with his one against Baylor for this list (mainly because it looked like his leg snapped in half in his one against Texas).
With the Cowboys nursing an 11-point lead in a rematch of the 2021 Big 12 title game, Baylor got the ball and needed to score quickly. This game had a ton of hype going into it, being the Cowboys’ first conference game of the season (and their first since coming up inches short of a Big 12 title in 2021).
With the Bears needing to push the ball down the field, Taylor baited Blake Shapen into throwing a pass down the OSU sideline that Taylor coolly hopped in front of, grabbed and did an even cooler hop over the OSU bench.
7. Sanders Plays Savior against Iowa State
The Cowboys’ win against Iowa State was … unique.
Gunnar Gundy started the game at quarterback with Spencer Sanders and Garret Rangel each reportedly nursing injuries. But midway through the game, Gundy’s helmet popped off, allowing Sanders to come in and hand the ball off for a play. … Then Sanders came in and closed the game.
With OSU down 14-10 in the fourth quarter Sanders capped the win off with a little pop pass, where it looked like he was going to run to his right before he calmly flicked the ball to Jaden Nixon in the end zone. Sanders finished his Mariano Rivera-esque performance 9-for-13 with 84 yards and the touchdown.
6. Spencer’s Scamper vs. TCU
Entering Oklahoma State’s Top 15 matchup with the now-natty bound Horned Frogs on Oct. 15, there was a lot of hushed discussion about the health of Spencer Sanders.
Was he even going to play? Was it an ankle? A shoulder? The injury questions ended up being valid as Sanders dealt with nagging injuries throughout the remainder of the season, but for a brief moment — as Sanders scooted by TCU’s defense for a 29-yard touchdown run — everything seemed possible for Oklahoma State.
5. Gunnar’s Laser to JPR
There is something beautiful about a deep ball that hits a receiver perfectly in stride, and that’s how Gunnar Gundy connected with John Paul Richardson on Nov. 12.
From his own 10-yard line, Gundy hummed a ball about 35 yards down the sideline that Richardson barely had to move to catch. The play was 83 yards in total, and the seven points that play provided ended up being big for the Pokes, as they won that game against Iowa State 20-14.
4. The Ollie-Oop
There aren’t many 1-yard touchdowns that will make a “plays of the season” list, but Garret Rangel’s wizardry in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl garnered some national headlines.
Dead to rights off a blown zone read on fourth down, Rangel found the wherewithal to flip the ball to Ollie Gordon at the last moment with one Badger wrapped around his legs and another closing him down. The player who had Rangel wrapped up started celebrating — not knowing Rangel went Houdini and hocus pocused the ball to Gordon.
The score gave the Cowboys some life and made the end of the Guaranteed Rate Bowl interesting.
3. Bryson Green Gives the Cowboys the Lead vs. UT
Oklahoma State’s Homecoming tilt with Texas was a back-and-forth affair.
At one point the Cowboys were down 31-17 in the second quarter but fought back to tie things up at 34 early in the fourth.
Then with about three minutes to go, Spencer Sanders hit Bryson Green on a fairly routine slant route, but Green muscled through a would-be tackler and side stepped another before capping off the 41-yard play with a touchdown — the go-ahead points in the Cowboys’ big win.
2. Jaden Nixon Keeps the Momentum Rolling in Waco
Oklahoma State had a 16-3 lead at the half in Waco during the team’s Big 12 opener — months removed from losing to the Bears in the Big 12 title game.
It was a good start, but the Cowboys still needed a good second half to start league play with a win — and Jaden Nixon provided about as good a start to a half as a team can get. He housed the opening kickoff 98 yards for a score. He speed was on full display, as he was able to stumble for a few steps before regaining his balance and jetting off.
1. Stephon Johnson Boogies 84 Yards to the House
With the Cowboys in an early 3-0 deficit at the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, freshman receiver Stephon Johnson gave the OSU faithful something to be excited about when he put the team on his back for 84 yards.
Catching a simple screen pass, Johnson seemed corralled by five Badgers on the OSU sideline, but he somehow squirted free. He cut across the field, avoiding another five or six Wisconsin defenders in the process before it turned into a footrace that Johnson was able to win.