Despite losing the turnover battle 3-0, the Oklahoma State No.19 defeated No.21 Baylor 24-14 and rose to 5-0 for the first time since 2015.
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Oklahoma State led from wire to wire and did not allow the Bears (4-1) to score until the end of the third quarter. But a game that the Cowboys (5-0), apparently, could have canceled at halftime turned into a defensive battle thanks to the Pokes leaving points in the field.
In opening practice, OSU’s offense was reminiscent of the type of production we had grown used to when the 2011 Cowboys performed it against the Big 12 enemies. This team was honored at half-time and had to steal some of that mojo as OSU didn’t score again until the fourth quarter.
In the game’s first offensive play, Jaylen Warren rebounded to the left and ran for 21 yards, setting the tone for the Cowboys’ first strike – and he never slowed down. Warren finished with 36 carries for 125 yards and two touchdowns. It was his third straight game with at least 100 rushing yards.
Tay Martin was also active on Saturday, recording seven catches for 108 yards. Rashod Owens added three for 53 yards and one score.
But as long as the Cowboys moved the ball over to Baylor’s much-vaunted defense, they’re gone. a lot points on the ground. Spencer Sanders had a bad interception from the Baylor 18-yard line, and on the next possession, a trap play Tay Martin managed to make on the 12-yard line was called back due to a flag for a ineligible receiver on the field. There are more examples to come. After that first TD practice, OSU’s next two possessions ended in interceptions and the next two ended in punters.
A week after his best outing of the year against Kansas State, Sanders finished 13 of 23 for 182 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions. But he also added much needed 76 rushing yards.
OSU’s defense was, once again, the stabilizing force for the Cowboys. They limited Baylor QB Gerry Bohanon to a low season completion percentage (13 of 27) and just 173 goalless yards.
After seeing his offense give up on him three times – and seeing his defense knock out the Bears in the first half – Mike Gundy seemed content to play the possession game for the final two quarters. Unfortunately, the Bears did not cooperate.
At the end of the third quarter, after it looked like the OSU defense had once again recovered the ball for their offense, Baylor made a draw for fourth base and caught the Pokes off guard.
If there’s one thing you can say about Sanders, he seems to have a short memory. After his third interception – a ball that went through Rashod Owens’ hands and bounced through the air on his face mask, Sanders led another long field run with dart after dart towards Tay Martin. The last one should be on SportsCenter tonight.
OSU should settle for three after stalling on the goal line. That gave the Cowboys a 10-point lead with seconds left of the final period. But the Bears wasted no time, responding with an 84-yard drive in seven games, scoring a touchdown in just under three minutes to get closer to the 3.
After his offense proved empty, OSU’s defense made another dramatic save. Baylor got there again in fourth, but this time the Cowboys were ready.
The penalties almost made the difference at the end of a close match, in both directions.
Down three and poised to prepare for a third game on defense, Baylor gave the Cowboys a first try when Sanders went out of bounds on the Baylor sideline. The Bears’ scrum that followed around him ended in a flag for unnecessary roughness in order to cut the field in half. But then a hold from Braden Cassity pushed the Pokes back out of the goal line. Faced with the great race of the third and 12 Sanders was so close at the conversion on the third try (bad point), which would have sealed the match.
OSU chose to go on the 4th and 2nd of the 4-yard line and Jaylen Warren paid it off with a bow on his big day.
OSU has shown flashes of offensive prowess, but whether through self-inflicted injuries or stumbles, they have yet to put together a full game. Fortunately, his defense has yet to take a quarter.
The Cowboys forced five three-and-outs, allowed the Bears just three conversions on 15 third downs, and kept them to just 280 total yards and a season low in scoring.
After tallying just one interception in three games ahead, Sanders threw three picks on Saturday, tying the career high he set against Texas Tech in 2019. OSU’s defense followed up on each of those turnovers by forcing a three -and-out.
Next, Sanders and the Cowboys head to a well-deserved week off. They’ll be back in action on October 16 with a trip to Austin to face the Longhorns.