Picking three things for Oklahoma State to improve on against Iowa State should be pretty easy. Offense, defense and special teams is the easy answer. Someone always comments that on this post whenever OSU played especially bad. Right now all I really want to do is list offense, defense and special teams and post a 40 word blog and be done with it, but who would want to read that?
1. Spencer Sanders....and turnovers
If the easy answer is offense, defense and special teams the second easiest is Sanders and his turnover issue. He only threw one interception against Baylor but it was bad. With a chance to go up by 10, or at least by 6, before halftime, Sanders threw an interception. Of course it would be on (another) fade route, highlighting the lack of creativity in the offense.
The back breaker was Sanders’ fumble in the fourth quarter that Baylor returned for a touchdown. Sanders started doing too much, feeling pressure to score quickly. Gundy made a comment about Sanders being good until he started to freelance late in the game and that seems like a fairly accurate statement. Two fumbles made three total turnovers for Sanders. It becomes so hard to win football games when you turn the ball over that often.
2. Big Plays
The defense gave up several big plays in the second half. JaMycal Hasty’s long touchdown run to put Baylor up 45-27 sealed the game. Josh Fleeks took a slant 64 yards to the house to give Baylor a 24-20 lead. All of this was en route to giving up 536 yards to the Bears. OSU gained 469 of its own, and the difference came in the fourth quarter. OSU went down 38-27 after the Sanders fumble and everything was downhill from there.
I know I just talked about the defense but I think this group is too talented to be giving up as many big plays as they did against Baylor. The defense really only allowed 37 points, but the big plays in the second half were concerning.
Aside from a few games, I haven’t really liked anything OSU has done on defense since 2016. Glenn Spencer might not have been the best, but I think he’s better than Jim Knowles has been in Stillwater. I wouldn’t mind seeing a change after the season is over. The Oklahoma State defense gives up too many big plays to not force many turnovers.
Maybe some of these issues were masked by having such a good offense before Spencer left, but something needs to change on the defensive side of the ball.