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RECAP: Oklahoma State scores 24 unanswered, tops Iowa State 38-31

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Never a doubt as Oklahoma State rallies from 17 points to top Iowa State 38-31.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Oklahoma State Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

Nothing ever comes easy for Oklahoma State, does it? Maybe that’s why we love them. Heck, that’s part of why I love them.

The Cowboys failed to show up for the first 2 and 4/5 quarters, but dominated the Cyclones for the rest, and it was just enough to allow OSU to escape with a win, and ride high into the bye week with a win.

Iowa State took a 31-14 lead early in the 3rd quarter on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Joel Lanning, and at that point it appeared OSU was ready to pack it in and head to the bye week. Not so fast, my friend.

A touchdown, an Iowa State turnover and another touchdown brought Oklahoma State back within 3 just nine seconds after the start of the 4th quarter. The 14-point swing took only 2:33 of game time, and turned the game on its’ head quickly. That was where this game was won, in my opinion.

Today wasn’t lacking the wacky moments that we’ve grown so accustomed to in our years as fans of Oklahoma State. An all-too-familiar scenario in which Iowa State had a chance to shock the world with a trick play came up empty. The game was over ... until it wasn’t.

No matter how hard they may have tried, the demons of Central Michigan would not return to Stillwater today, and the Pokes can hang their beautiful orange chrome helmets on a valiant comeback, and another conference win.

Let’s move on to some thoughts I had during today’s game.

  • I’ll start you off with something light. The uniforms. Goodness gracious. I thought the orange pants would be awesome, but I was not prepared for what I saw today.
  • Mason Rudolph was not himself in the first half. Not even close. It is quite odd to see such a vastly different performance compared to last week. Whether it’s his footwork or confidence or anything else, I hope that we all understand what Rudolph does for the team. The guy is a natural-born leader, and brought his team back in it with some stellar quarterback play in the second half. Just look ...

He finished with a pretty respectable stat line. 26/44 for 351 yards, 4 touchdowns and no interceptions. All things considered, not bad at all.

  • Larry Williams did not play today. We had heard earlier in the week that he was spotted on campus on crutches and in a walking boot. Gundy added some perspective to the injury, but did not allude to what happened. Tough loss for a running game that really started to click the past few weeks.
  • Speaking of the running game, I thought it took a step back today. Understandably so, as the loss of Larry Williams was previously unknown. OSU was held to 108 yards on the ground on 33 carries. That’s 3.3 yards per carry, and that won’t get it done against the OU’s of the world. Hopefully the offensive line can patch it together in the bye week.
  • Speaking of the bye week, could it have come at a better time for this team? Coming off the high of rolling Texas last week, I’m really not surprised that OSU came out flat in this game. They escape with the win, and get some much-deserved rest after a wild first half of the season.
  • What is up with the defense? I know Jordan Sterns didn’t play today, and that’s a big loss. But this was the third week in a row that we’ve seen a flat-out bust in the secondary that immediately leads to points for the opposition. It’s been a trademark of the Glenn Spencer era to make incredible second-half adjustments. Today wasn’t an anomaly by any stretch of the imagination, but it is odd that this keeps happening.
  • But we can’t bash the defense and then choose not give credit where it is due. I hope you are sitting down, because this is an insane statistic. On the last seven Iowa State drives, the Oklahoma State defense held Iowa State to 33 yards on 18 plays and forced two turnovers. That’s a night-and-day adjustment from the defense, and it makes the first three quarters that much more of a conundrum.
  • James Washington is the best. No further analysis required. The President had yet another staggering stat line, hauling in eight passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Quite an impressive showing for someone who was literally unconscious on the turf this time last week. Very glad to see there are no lingering effects of that scary hit for Washington.
  • It seems like every week, we are gaining some sort of perspective on life after an Oklahoma State football game. Yes, we want to win and we care a lot about this often-silly game, but moments like this one are what make it special. Those kids will never forget the moment they met Mike Gundy and Mason Rudolph.
  • Let’s talk about clock management. Michael T. Gundy (I have no idea if that’s his middle initial), you are going to give me a heart attack. I’m always down with running the clock out, but this is the second time this season that we’ve kneeled the ball too early. I understand the concern with fumbles, interceptions, hurricanes, etc., but it was a little too conservative, and I thought a lesson would’ve been learned against Central Michigan. This time, they escape with a win, but my cardiologist will be hearing from me on Monday.
  • This is a huge win. I know it’s Iowa State, but I talked about it on our pregame show that the season hinges on this game. I have a feeling that we will be saying that for the rest of the season, but it’s true. By winning this game, OSU rolls into the bye week having righted the ship (ever-so-slightly), and then they go on the road to KU, host West Virginia at home, and then on the road at KState. That’s a manageable schedule, but you can’t look ahead to it until you take care of the business at hand, and that’s what Oklahoma State did today.
  • The Big 12 is OSU’s for the taking. Texas and OU traded blows, and I’m not convinced OU is good enough to get through the Big 12 unscathed. TCU narrowly avoided disaster, escaping Lawrence and the mighty Jayhawks with a 24-23 win. As I type this, Texas Tech is down to Kansas State on the road. Baylor’s toughest games are ahead of them. This goes back to the last point, but all OSU can do is control what they can control. This season looks like it may be a wild one in the conference, and if they can just win enough games while the rest of the conference cannibalizes itself, we may be looking back on this game with great fondness in December.

Check back with CRFF tomorrow for The Morning After, our thoughts on the game after sleeping on the win.