Spencer Sanders returned from an ankle injury and threw for 235 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions, and No. 6 Oklahoma State defeated No. 17 Iowa State 24-21 to remain undefeated Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater.
Sanders, who was 20-for-29 through the air and had 15 carries for 71 yards and a score, missed more than a month with the injury he suffered on the second drive in OSU’s season opener against Tulsa on Sept. 19 in Stillwater. True freshman Shane Illingworth filled in during Sanders’ absence, but did not enter the game Saturday despite OSU coach Mike Gundy saying earlier in the week that he might play both at quarterback.
With the win, the Cowboys improved to 4-0 and 3-0 in Big 12 conference play. OSU has won two straight and nine of its past 10 games against the Cyclones (3-2, 3-1).
Chuba Hubbard rushed 25 times for 140 yards and one score for his 18th career 100-yard game to pass Barry Sanders for the fifth most 100-yard games in OSU history.
The Cowboys defense held Iowa State QB Brock Purdy to just 162 passing yards. Kolby Harvell-Peel would be on the receiving end of a Purdy interception early in the third quarter. It was a big test for this OSU defense, and they passed (no pun intended).
Did they give up two big plays to Breece Hall? Yes, a 66-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and a 70-yard run that wouldn’t result in points, But let’s consider for a second who they were up against. Hall is the real deal. It could have gone a lot worse. Tre Sterling was the leader of the valiant effort with eight tackles and a tackle for loss. Trace Ford will be in Purdy’s nightmares for a while after knocking down three passes and one sack.
Sanders drove the Cowboys 55 yards down the field on a 12-play opening drive of the game, but Tylan Wallace misjudged a jump ball in the endzone on third down and the Cowboys settled for a field goal. But Alex Hale missed from 37 yards, his first miss of the season after an 8-for-8 start through the first three games.
The Cowboys defense forced ISU to punt, but Sanders threw his first two interceptions on the day — on the first play of the “drive” — and the Cyclones didn’t waste the opportunity. Purdy ran in from 11 yards out for a 7-0 lead.
Connor Assalley, who may have the most unfortunate surname, missed a 48-yard field goal to set up a short three-play scoring drive for OSU with Sanders connecting with Jelani Woods for a 34-yard score to tie it 7-7.
Hubbard did Hubbard things and ran it in from 32 yards out for the Cowboys’ second score of the day and a 14-7 Cowboy lead.
Sanders redeemed himself from an interception that set up Hall’s 66-yard score and ran one in himself for a 14-yard score to put OSU up 21-14.
Early in the fourth quarter a targeting call on ISU cornerback Tayvonn Kyle was overturned after review then Sanders had a TD run called back on a Wallace holding call. Hale then hit a 31-yarder right down the middle for a 24-14 lead with 11:27 to go.
The teams traded punts back-and-forth until ISU completed an 83-yard, 10-play drive that ended with a 20-yard strike from Purdy to Xaiver Hutchinson to pull the Cyclones within 24-21. The Cowboys had ISU stopped on the drive at midfield, but a late holding call on Rodarius Williams extended the drive.
Assalley’s onside kick hit Wallace and OSU avoided any turmoil.
OSU hosts Texas (3-2, 1-2) at 3 p.m. (FOX) on Halloween at Boone Pickens Stadium.