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No. 15 Oklahoma State falls to TCU

The Pokes fall in Fort Worth, eliminated from Big 12 title game contention.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Texas Christian Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

I’ve been sitting here for a few minutes trying to think of a decent lede, but this tweet is all I can really think of.

Today’s game was the opposite of the Texas game. Oklahoma State lost to Texas, but was in the game down to the final play despite four turnovers. Against TCU, it was in the game down to the final play despite forcing five turnovers and finishing +4 in the turnover department. The result of both games is a loss, this time a 29-22 decision in Fort Worth.

The loss mathematically eliminates Oklahoma State (6-3, 5-3 Big 12) from contention for the final spot in the Big 12 title game. While this probably could have been said after Bedlam, yet another OSU football season will end well short of pre-season expectations.

“Gundy” is currently the No. 18 trending term on Twitter and I don’t think that’s because folks like how he called the game.

The Pokes started out relatively hot by scoring the first 13 points of the game. TCU (5-4, 5-4 Big 12) out-scored them 29-9 the rest of the way, including a 22-6 advantage in the second half. The Horned Frogs sent a message by authoring a 75-yard touchdown drive right out of the locker room, including a back-breaking 42-yard touchdown run from TCU quarterback Max Duggan on 4th-and-1.

That score pulled TCU within two and then the Frogs forced a three-and-out in 42 seconds before leading another touchdown drive to take the lead. The score-stop-score to begin the half gave TCU all the momentum as OSU’s nine-point lead quickly turned into a five-point deficit.

TCU gave Oklahoma State plenty of chances to win the game. The OSU defense forced five turnovers and recovered two of those inside the TCU 30 yard line. Brock Martin returned the first TCU turnover — a forced fumble by Malcolm Rodriguez — for a touchdown. The OSU offense scored zero points off the remaining four turnovers despite starting with great field position on two of those turnovers.

Noticeably absent — as has been for most of the season — was explosive plays on offense. the longest run of the day was 26 yards from Dezmon Jackson which resulted in a first down; the OSU offense went three-and-out after that run. Perhaps the only explosive play to speak of was this wheel route grab from Tylan Wallace for a 55-yard score. Wallace reportedly hurt his knee on the play and did not return. Wallace was OSU’s leading receiver, catching seven passes for 92 yards and one score.

Spencer Sanders was thoroughly out-dueled by Duggan. Sanders completed less than half his passes for 270 yards, a touchdown and and a late interception that ultimately decided the game. Duggan threw for 265 yards, a touchdown and a pick on 12-for-26 passing: nearly identical lines. However, Duggan threw for three more yards-per-completion and racked up 102 yards and two scores on the ground, compared to Sanders’ 30 rushing yards.

Losing Tre Sterling, Rodarius Williams and Tylan Wallace to injury all before the fourth quarter certainly did not help. While it certainly isn’t the reason OSU lost the game, it gave up seven first half points with Sterling on the field and 22 second half points without him.

TCU’s running back by-committee approach racked up 132 yards outside of Duggan’s 102 and highlighted by Darwin Barlow’s eight carries for 40 yards. The Horned Frogs offense can essentially by summed up by three players: Duggan’s numbers, three catches and 114 yards from Quentin Johnson and six catches, 139 yards and a touchdown from Derius Davis.

It wasn’t a particularly good game from the TCU offense, made even more painful by the lack of capitalization from it’s five turnovers. The TCU run defense made the difference in the game. The passing game was essentially a wash, but the Frogs held OSU to 148 yards and 3.7-yards-per-carry.

Oklahoma State will close out its regular season in Waco against Baylor next weekend in a game previously re-scheduled due to COVID-19.