After dropping their home opener to TCU to begin conference play, the Oklahoma State Cowboys faced a road trip to Lubbock, Texas in a matchup with undefeated Texas Tech. The Red Raiders would bring an efficient offense and improved defense into the game vs. the 15th-ranked Cowboys. OSU looked to continue its offensive assault and prove they can stop a potent offense.
Oklahoma State Head Coach Mike Gundy couldn’t have scripted a better start as the defense forced a 3-and-out to open the game, followed by the offense marching 68 yards in 7 plays, capped by a 14-yard pass from Mason Rudolph to James Washington. The defense would force another Tech punt and then the game started to get that eerie feeling that an upset was brewing. Facing 2nd and 9 at the Tech 19 and threatening to go up two touchdowns, Rudolph’s pass to Jalen McCleskey sailed high, was intercepted by a Tech defender and returned 95 yards for a touchdown.
On the ensuing possession, Oklahoma State again drove deep into Texas Tech territory but came away with zero points after a Matt Ammendola 22-yard field goal attempt bounced off of the upright. Tech responded with an 8-play, 80-yard drive that gave them a 14-7 lead, but OSU would score two unanswered touchdowns coming by way of long drives, giving the defense a needed rest. The first of the two drives took 4:33 off the clock and 75 yards later Rudolph found Justice Hill on a 5-yard toss. Jalen McCleskey was the benefactor of a 4-yard pass from Rudolph on a drive that went 88 yards on 10 plays in 3:13. The Red Raiders added another field goal and the score at half was 21-17; give credit to the defense here as Tech threatened with 33 seconds remaining from the Cowboy 9-yard line. OSU dominated Tech in yardage gained at half, 343 to 172, but the pick-six and missed field goal kept the home team in the hunt.
With the feeling this game could go either way, the Cowboys started the second half the way they started the first, with an offensive touchdown and then a 3-and-out for the defense. Rudolph was making his throws, Justice Hill was grinding out the yards in the run game and it felt like the Cowboys were finally going to stay in control. Up 28-17, Oklahoma State blocked a punt and would begin their next possession inside the Texas Tech 10-yard line. Three plays would net only four yards and OSU was held to a field goal which would be answered by a Red Raider field goal to make the score 31-20.
At this point in the game it felt like a Cowboy touchdown would all but seal the victory for the Pokes. They nearly pulled it off but 8 plays and 65 yards later, the Red Raiders held OSU to another field goal. Tech would answer with a touchdown to get within seven points, 34-27, and they wouldn’t just hold the momentum there. The Red Raiders followed it up with an onside kick which caught the Cowboys off-guard and the recovery would give Tech the ball on the OSU 35 and eventually another score to tie the game at 34.
As the Cowboys became complacent, Texas Tech was smelling blood in the water. Facing 4th and 1 from the Tech 1-yard line, Mike Gundy elected to kick the field goal and Ammendola could not deliver, knocking another attempt off of the right upright. It would be up to the defense to make a stand they pulled it off to put the ball back in Mason Rudolph’s hands. He drove the Cowboys 79 yards in 6 plays and capped the drive with his second rushing touchdown of the night. As excited as Cowboy fans had to be, you wondered if OSU left too much time on the clock and would be going to overtime. The ‘Boys would answer the call one more time, taking over on downs after holding Tech, sealing the road win to make Oklahoma State 4-1 overall and 1-1 in Big 12 play.
Rudolph finished with 5 total touchdowns, Justice Hill racked up 164 rushing yards on 30 carries and James Washington and Marcell Ateman caught for 127 and 114 yards respectively. The Cowboys led time of possession and forced another turnover, there were plenty of bright spots considering the hype and atmosphere they were walking into. Cowboy fans deserve the upcoming bye week as much as the team; as your blood pressure is coming back to Earth, keep up with all of our coverage at CRFF!
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