And.....exhale. For the second week in a row, the Cardiac Cowboys (8-2*, 6-1 Big 12) did their best to keep everyone inside the stadium (54,288) and outside the stadium guessing as to how the game was going to turn out before defeating Texas Tech (4-6, 2-5 Big 12) by a score of 45-44 - thanks to some good luck. More on that in a bit.
It started out exactly how the OSU fans wanted. 14 quick points on a touchdown pass to Jalen McClesky, and a 9 yard scramble by Mason Rudolph. The defense forced three straight three-and-outs, and it appeared like it would be all Pokes, all day.
Then this kid named Patrick Mahomes II (perhaps you’ve heard of him?) showed up for the Red Raiders, and started to make the Poke faithful look for their heart medicine.
Mahomes led TTU on an 11 play, 75 yard touchdown drive, capped by a 4 yard scamper by Mahomes to make the score 14-7 in favor of Coach Gundy and his ‘Boys. This was followed by each team alternating four straight touchdowns, with the Cowboys getting a score on a 1 yard plunge by senior Chris Carson, and Mahomes threw a 4 yard touchdown to Dylan Cantrell. The Cowboys countered with an 8 yard touchdown run by breakout freshman Justice Hill, which was followed by Mahomes’ second passing touchdown of the day to Justin Stockton.
OSU had a promising drive going in the last four minutes of the half, but after McCleskey was stripped and lost the ball, Mahomes ran a near perfect two minute drill to tie the game up at 28 at the half.
The two teams swapped punts to start the second half, but then Rudolph led the team on a 7 play, 92 yard touchdown drive in a little over a minute and a half. Carson scored his second touchdown of the game on a 19 yard run. Follow that up with another three-and-out forced by the OSU defense and a Ben Grogan field goal, and the Pokes had a 38-28 lead with 17:04 left to play in the game.
Mahomes trimmed the lead back down to three on the following drive, taking it in himself for a 7 yard touchdown. The Cowboys only needed one play to push the lead back to 10 at 45-35, as the weekly #Rudolph2Washington bomb was for 82 yards.
After another Texas Tech field goal, the Red Raiders took Gundy and Co. by surprise by executing the onside kick on the following kickoff. It didn’t matter though, as LB Justin Phillips forced a fumble on the next play which was recovered by Vincent Taylor. OSU wasn’t able to capitalize though, and punted just 5 plays later. Mahomes then led his team on a 13 play, 88 yard drive that lasted almost 5 minutes, which ended on a 1 yard Quinton White Jr. touchdown run, bringing the score to 45-44 OSU. Everybody assumed they would tie the game on the extra point and Rudolph would have about a minute and a half to lead this team to victory.
Well, you know what happens when you assume, right?
Texas Tech claws all the way back and are ready to tie the game with 1:39 left...except they missed the extra point!! OKST leads, 45-44. pic.twitter.com/k8TFQLTolF— Chat Sports (@ChatSports) November 13, 2016
Sophomore kicker Clayton Hatfield pushed the extra point wide right, and suddenly, all Mason Rudolph and the Cowboys had to do was recover the onside kick and kill the clock. Which is exactly what they did. This was highlighted by Chris Carson, who sacrificed his third touchdown of the day by getting the first down, then taking a knee to keep the clock moving and shut the door on the Texas Tech upset.
Rudolph was an impressive 20/28 passing today for 395 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hill had 18 carries for 126 yards a score, while Carson had 10 carries for 73 yards and he hit paydirt twice. Washington had a nice day, catching 6 passes for 158 yards and scoring the eventual game-winning touchdown, his only of the day. Chris Lacy had himself a day, catching 4 passes for 100 yards.
If I had a say in the defensive MVP for the week, I’d pick Justin Phillips. The dude balled out today. He led the team in tackles with 14 (9 solo), he forced the fumble after Tech recovered their first onside kick, and had this monster sack on the last Tech drive to do his best to get off the field.
Justin Phillips with the monster sack on Pat Mahomes. https://t.co/5xSGJfRNID— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguy) November 12, 2016
In case you lost track, Mahomes was directly responsible for five of the six Red Raider touchdowns. He paired his three touchdowns through the air with 344 yards on 34/51 passing. Mahomes added 33 yards and two scores on 15 rushes. There were no rusher or receiver that broke 100 yards for the Red Raiders, which just shows how well Mahomes spread the ball. He was sacked twice, but it should have been about a dozen times. There were many times the Pokes had Mahomes dead to rights in the backfield, but he somehow managed to sneak out of it and/or throw a pass to avoid the sack.
Looking at the team stats, the Cowboys exceeded the Red Raiders in total yards (605-518), yards per pass (14.1), and yards per rush (5.5). One stat that really surprises me is OSU was 4-9 on third downs. It isn’t the percentage that surprises me, it’s the total number of third downs. To compare, the Cowboys had 27 first downs. That’s right. The Cowboys had three times as many first downs as third downs. This shows me that the Cowboys were very efficient on first and second down, which is great to see.
Here’s the highlights from today’s shootout in Stillwater.
Overall, Senior Day was a solid day for the Oklahoma State offense. Not so much for the defense, but, as normal, they stepped up and made plays when it mattered to win their 6th game in a row.
Up next, the Cowboys will travel to Fort Worth to take on the TCU Horned Frogs (5-4, 3-3 Big 12) with a start time still to be announced. The Cowboys still control their own destiny in the Big 12. Win out, and they are conference champions.
Oh yeah, by the way, how about those new helmets?!?