Oklahoma State Cowboys gained leads early in both halves but were mostly trying to claw their way back from behind. That strange juxtaposition is a nice microcosm of the type of game that unfolded Saturday night as the Cowboys fell 30-36 in Austin for the first time since 2008.
The Cowboys stalled at weird times and sometimes it felt like the playcalling lacked inspiration, and sometimes it was the decision-making that left us scratching our heads. This started early with the Pokes settling for their first field goal after a nice first drive stalled in the red zone.
The Longhorns would take a 3-14 lead before the Pokes would ultimately go into half down 1 at 20-21. This was thanks to the first muffed punt of the night from the Texas.
That’s right, after years of agonizing over poor special teams play, a perfect 3 of 3 field goal night from Matt Amendola and two fumble recoveries basically kept the Pokes in the game.
But it didn’t feel like it had to be that way. The offense showed tons of promise at times, but then would stall out. Some of the credit can be given to a great red zone performance from Texas, but some of it just felt like stubborn playcalling or uncharacteristic mistakes. I don’t ever remember seeing so many botched snaps, and especially not ones that didn’t lead to turnovers (is Spencer Sanders the smoothest botched snap quarterback of all time?).
After taking the lead early on another stalled drive field goal early in the second half, the Longhorns would retake control with another healthy lead, this time 23-36. The Cowboys were unable to crack this score until too late.
Sanders flashed some true “wow” moments, but also made some frustrating mistakes. Kinda what you’d expect from an uber-talented redshirt freshman.
After the Longhorns coughed up a “white flag” punt they never should have been fielding in the first place, Chuba Hubbard would score on an outside run to breathe life back into their outside chances.
Ultimately, the Pokes almost had one more chance to keep the streak in Austin alive, but it figuratively and literally slipped through the usually sure-handed Malcolm Rodriguez’s grasp.
Sanders finished 19-for-32 for 268 yards and two picks, with another 109 yards and one score on the ground. Hubbard had to work hard with 37 carries for 121 yards and two scores. Wallace felt relatively quiet, but he ended up with five receptions and 83 yards as well. This team can be a lot of fun to watch on offense, but there are still a lot of growing pains we’ll have to endure along the way.
The Pokes fall to 3-1 on the year and 0-1 in conference play. Losing conference openers has happened a lot recently, and it’s something they’ll have to figure out next year, but for now they’ll have to regroup as they look to bounce back against a tough 2-0 Kansas State team under first-year head coach Chris Klieman.