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The Monday After: Final thoughts on Oklahoma State’s win over Texas Tech

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A wild one in Stillwater on Saturday left me with plenty to talk about.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State is on a tear. Having rattled off what is now six straight wins, the Cowboys are within striking distance of their second Big 12 title.

Oklahoma State had to get past a Texas Tech team that threw the kitchen sink (and then some) at them on Saturday. Tech came ready to play, and they came prepared for a win. They ran a triple reverse, faked a punt, ran a surprise onside kick, and found themselves with an opportunity to get a road win against the 13th-ranked Cowboys. This was unfamiliar territory for the Red Raiders, who had lost seven straight in the series.

Tech scored a late touchdown to bring it to 45-44, and all they needed was an extra point to tie the game.

They would not get it.

The missed extra point and a heavy dose of Chris Carson propelled the Cowboys to a much-needed win that keeps them alive in the Big 12 title race. The margin for error is now non-existent.

Let’s get to some thoughts I had during Saturday’s game.

Senior Day is always sad.

There may never be truer words spoken in the English language. Take a look at all of the names on this list who played their last home game at Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday.

What a way to go out for the seniors.

Mason Rudolph is getting better every week.

I think this is probably obvious by now, but Rudolph is on a hot streak and is playing the best football of his career. QB1 threw for 395 yards and 2 touchdowns on Saturday. Less surprising? He threw no interceptions. Rudolph has thrown just four on the season, the fewest among Big 12 starting quarterbacks. He also currently ranks fifth in the nation in passing yards.

Thanks a lot, Yurcich...

Patrick Mahomes ... Good at football.

While Mahomes was kept in check (relatively speaking), it seemed like he was making play after play. There was a rumor that he was banged up during the game and wasn’t fully healthy. When he makes plays like this, it’s hard to think about him being hurt while doing it.

He consistently found open receivers in the middle of the field, which is something that quite a few teams have been able to do against OSU. His ability to move around the pocket and throw on the run was quite problematic for OSU.

Justice Hill ... also good at football.

I think I’ve tweeted these exact words at least twice this season. For a true freshman, there are just some plays that you don’t expect him to make, but he just does it. Like this one.

Hill has provided a spark to the running game, and it seems like every time he touches the ball there is a chance for him to do something special with it. That’s a trait that we haven’t seen in Stillwater, for a true freshman, since Kendall Hunter was carving up Nebraska. As it stands right now, Hill has three games to break the single-season freshman rushing record (Mike Hamilton, 961 yards) at Oklahoma State. Hill currently has 792 yards rushing on the season, and has more than a snowball’s chance to crest the one-thousand yard mark on the season.

That was a mid-2000’s OSU/Tech game.

This “rivalry” has given us some dandies over the years. When I was a kid, this game always delivered. The 2004 classic between these two teams was one of my first OSU games, and it left the impression that that is what Tech/OSU games were supposed to be like.

While it’s great for my blood pressure that OSU has started to distance itself from Texas Tech as a program, it’s kind of fun when these games go the way they did on Saturday. It gives it a nostalgic feel that brings me back to 2004. It also gets me to my next point ...

We got a night game! Kind of!

Texas Tech and Oklahoma State games historically take longer than at a Cici’s Pizza buffet counter. With all of the moaning and groaning about not getting a true night game this season, we at least got a taste of #BPSAtNight on Saturday, and that was good enough for me.

Barbed Wire Helmets. Let’s talk about them.

OSU announced they would be wearing the orange chrome helmets before the game, much to the chagrin of OSU fans on Twitter. They did that, only to pull an epic switch and unveil these bad boys.

I mean, these are honestly among my favorite helmets that I’ve seen in all of college football this season. They could have been better with an orange chrome facemask, but I’m nitpicking. From the blinged-out bandana print to the orange accents on the back of the helmet, I am pushing all of my chips to the middle on these lids.

Don’t freak out about the TCU kickoff time. It’s a good thing.

It’s as simple as this; Would you rather play a dangerous TCU team at 11 on the road in front of a dead crowd, or would you rather play them at 7 PM in front of a juiced-up Amon G. Carter crowd?

The choice is simple. Just win.

OSU’s playoff chances are dangling by a thread, but they exist.

There is a path for Oklahoma State to get to the College Football Playoff, but that path includes two trips south on I-35. As a two-loss team, Oklahoma State has to win out in order to even have a shot at the Playoff. That said, there are teams ahead of Oklahoma State that will have to lose at some point. Michigan, Ohio State and Wisconsin are all ranked ahead of OSU in the CFP poll. Michigan and Ohio State still have to play each other. Wisconsin will more than likely end up in the Big 10 Championship game, and they’ll face either Michigan or Ohio State. There’s another loss.

There are plenty of matchups remaining that I expect to further increase OSU’s chances at a run towards Tampa, but all of them are moot if OSU doesn’t beat TCU and OU on their home turf. Can it be done?

Yes.

It would take a legendary performance against both teams, but it can be done.

There’s one thing you can take from this, though. No matter how the season ends up, the team fought back after a disastrous 2-2 start. Now having won six straight games, the Cowboys are playing their best football of the season. They’ll need to build on that in order to keep their name in the mix. First things first ... Win the Big 12.