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Three Things Houston Coach Dana Holgorsen Said ahead the Cougars’ Game against OSU

Holgorsen talks OSU’s game in Orlando, the Pokes’ run game and Alan Bowman.



[Liz Parke/Big 12]

Outside of Mike Gundy, there probably isn’t a more popular Big 12 head coach to the Oklahoma State fanbase than Dana Holgorsen.

Holgorsen was the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator in 2010, commanding OSU to the top three nationally in yards and points per game that season. That year ended with an Alamo Bowl victory against Arizona.

His one year in Stillwater propelled him to head coaching opportunities. He spent eight seasons at West Virginia, where he went 61-41 as the Mountaineers’ coach. He is now in year five at Houston, where he is 31-26.

Holgorsen will meet the Cowboys at 3 p.m. Saturday in Houston for each team’s penultimate game of the regular season. Here are three things Holgorsen said entering the matchup.

‘Throw [UCF] Game Away’

The Cowboys travel to Houston after getting eviscerated in an Orlando monsoon.

OSU lost to UCF 45-3 after the Cowboys had gone on a five-game winning streak beating many of the Big 12’s contenders. It was a puzzling performance from the Pokes to say the least, but Holgorsen said not to read too much into it. He also pointed to the fact that OSU has a lot to play for in regards to finding a way to Arlington for the Big 12 title game.

“You can take that and throw that game away — last week,” Holgorsen said. “They’re coming off Bedlam. They’re coming off five big Big 12 wins. That was a perfect storm down there — literally. It rained the entire time. That’s not Oklahoma State. I don’t even want to watch it.

“Coach Gundy, I’ve got a lot of familiarity. This goes way back. He’s been there forever. He’s one of the best coaches in the country, and I think this might be one of his best coaching jobs that he’s done. ”

‘I’ve Never Seen So Many Called Run Plays Ever’

It’s obvious to anyone who had remote knowledge of OSU this season that the Cowboys like to run the rock.

OSU tailback Ollie Gordon is the nation’s leading rusher with 1,250 yards. He had such a lead on the rest of the country that Gordon retained his top spot even after rushing for only 25 yards in Orlando.

Holgorsen is known for his offensive prowess and his play-calling abilities. OSU’s commitment to the run game seems to stand out quite a bit to him.

“Offensively, it’s about that running back,” Holgorsen said. “I’ve never seen so many called run plays ever. They call 90% run plays, and then hand it to that back, and the backup is pretty good, too. Then they RPO the heck out of you with big receivers.”

Bowman Has His ‘Mojo’ Back

The last time Alan Bowman played against a Mike Leach team, Bowman left the game with injury and didn’t return for about a month.

That was in 2018 — Bowman’s true freshman season at Texas Tech. Holgorsen was the coach at West Virginia. The game saw Bowman complete just nine of his 20 pass attempts for a season-low 123 yards.

Holgorsen spent eight seasons on Mike Leach’s staff at Texas Tech, so as familiar as Holgorsen might be with Oklahoma State, he is likely more in the know in Lubbock. As Holgorsen recalls, it sounds like former Texas Tech (and Arizona Cardinals) coach Kliff Kingsbury was high on Bowman’s abilities, evident by the fact that Bowman broke through as a true freshman in Lubbock.

“We hurt him in 2018,” Holgorsen said. “When I was at West Virginia, he got hurt and knocked him out and then he ended up transferring after that. Big kid, got a live arm. He’s 6-[foot]-4. He’s 210 [pounds]. Kliff (Kingsbury) loved him when he coached him. Thought that he could be as good as any of them that he has had.

“He’s kinda got his mojo back after transferring to Michigan and getting beat out by a pretty good one up there. He’s kinda found a home and fits what they do.”

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