Unlike the last three weeks, very few things seemed to go Oklahoma State’s way today. The offense struggled out of the gate, the defense could not seem to get stops, and the mistakes came far too often as the Cowboys lost to the Horned Frogs of TCU 31-44.
TCU came out on their first possession of the game and put together some solid handiwork as they marched down the field, but they were forced to kick a field goal to score first. After that, Oklahoma State was unable to get the offense going, and the Cowboys were forced to punt. After a weird defensive holding call on Oklahoma State during a TCU punt, the Horned Frogs were given a first down which they turned into another field goal to take an early 6-0 lead.
Oklahoma State answered quickly when Mason Rudolph found James Washington on an 86-yard bomb on just the second play of the drive. The Cowboys took the lead at 7-6, but TCU wouldn’t trail for long. The Horned Frogs scored on their next two possessions off touchdown passes from Kenny Hill to Darius Anderson and John Diarse as they entered the half with a 20-10 lead.
The Cowboys came out in the second half looking to cut the deficit to a single score game, but Mason Rudolph threw an interception, which TCU subsequently turned into a touchdown on the next possession to go up 27-10 off a 6-yard run by Darius Anderson. The Cowboys would answer to cut it to 27-17 when Mason Rudolph found Dillon Stoner for a 14-yard strike, but the Horned Frogs continued to answer as they scored a touchdown off a controversial 1-yard run and a field goal to take their largest lead of the day at 37-17 with just 12 minutes left in the game.
Mason Rudolph scampered in to the endzone on the next possession to cut the score to 37-24, and the Cowboys were deep in TCU territory prepared to score again before a failed trick play turned into a turnover. The Horned Frogs were forced to punt, however, and the Cowboys came down as Justice Hill punched in a 1-yard run for a touchdown to cut the lead to 37-31. On the next possession, TCU faced a 3rd and 4 situation as Oklahoma State went all in on to stop the run, but Darrius Anderson was able to break loose for a 42-yard scamper for his third touchdown of the day. The 44-31 lead for TCU would ultimately seal the game.
Three Quick Thoughts
This Defense Needs Work: TCU came into the game averaging 500 yards and 42 points of offense per game, and Oklahoma State could do nothing defensively to slow the Horned Frogs down. Last week I said that the defense was not pretending and looked really good through three games, but today’s effort proved me wrong. Not only was TCU able to rack up 466 yards and score 44 points, the Horned Frogs didn’t even have to punt the ball until the fourth quarter as they finished 11/19 on 3rd down.
Injuries were Key: Starters having to miss a game because of injury is never a good thing, but it was especially an issue today for the Cowboys with starting right tackle Zach Crabtree and starting right guard Larry Williams out for the game. For much of the afternoon Oklahoma State struggled to get the run game going and to protect Mason Rudolph, which stalled the offense. Crabtree is expected to return sooner than later, but Williams is out for the season with a broken leg, so the Cowboys will need to make some serious adjustments from here on out.
Down But Not Out: This loss is a huge blow to the Cowboys and the high expectations that they had for the season, but this isn’t the end. Oklahoma State still has a chance to make the Big 12 Championship game, and maybe even an opportunity to climb back into College Football Playoff hopes, but it certainly isn’t going to be easy. The Cowboys simply need to take each game a week at a time and see what they can make of the season.
Oklahoma State heads to Lubbock where the Cowboys will take on the Texas Tech Red Raiders next Saturday, September 30th, at 7 PM. Night games in Lubbock are no easy task, but the Cowboys should be primed and ready to recover after the loss to TCU today.