Cowboys Survive Bedlam Bounceback in Ames

One week ago, Oklahoma State saw their Big 12 Championship Game hopes all but melt away and their College Football Playoff dreams disappear entirely when they lost to Oklahoma 62-52 in Stillwater. Despite that loss, there was still plenty to play for today as the Cowboys defeated Iowa State 49-42 in Ames.

The Cyclones started off the game hot as they moved the ball down the field easily, but they were aided by penalties on Oklahoma State. Iowa State quarterback Kyle Kempt ended the successful drive with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Allen Lazard to take an early 7-0 lead. Oklahoma State took over possession with 10 minutes left in the first quarter, but they were forced to punt after three unsuccessful tries to get a first down. Iowa State continued their success as Kempt was able to move the ball down the field with ease, but it was running back David Montgomery who would break off a 22-yard touchdown run to increase the Cyclone lead to 14-0.

The Cowboys seemingly woke up at that point as they looked to establish the run early, and Justice Hill found success as he ran the ball five times for 28 yards. The success on the ground opened up the air raid for the Cowboys as Mason Rudolph would find Marcel Ateman for a 21-yard touchdown strike to cut the deficit to 7-14.

Oklahoma State continued their success, this time on the defensive side of the ball, as they forced Iowa State into a three-and-out situation. The Cowboys took over with fantastic field position due to a terrible 14-yard punt by the Cyclones, and after four plays, Justice Hill would run in for a touchdown from nine yards out to tie the game at 14 apiece.

The Oklahoma State defense kept up their efforts, forcing Iowa State to punt again on the next possession. Justice Hill would continue his domination for the Cowboys on the ground as he broke off a 52-yard scamper to set up a 2-yard touchdown run three plays later, giving Oklahoma State a 21-14 lead midway through the second quarter.

After a combined five touchdowns scored in the first seven drives of the game, the Cyclones and the Cowboys punted two times each over the next four possessions. Then, with two minutes left in the first half, Iowa State put together a 7-play, 91-yard drive that ended in a one-yard rush for a touchdown by Joel Lanning. At halftime, the game was all tied up at 21-21.

Oklahoma State started off the second half with the ball, and they looked like they were going to put together another impressive touchdown drive. Unfortunately, the possession stalled, and Matt Ammendola would kick a 35-yard field goal to give the Cowboys a 24-21 lead early in the third quarter. The Iowa State offense started off the second half much like they left off in the second quarter as they quickly marched 71 yards in eight plays to score a touchdown on a 3-yard run by David Montgomery, giving the Cyclones a 28-24 lead midway through the third quarter.

In need of an answer, the Cowboys once again looked like they were putting together a quality drive on offense, but Mason Rudolph would get sacked on third down, forcing Oklahoma State to punt. The Cowboy defense did its job, however, keeping Iowa State from finding much success and forcing the Cyclones to punt. On the first play of the ensuing drive for the Cowboys, Mason Rudolph would find Jalen McCleskey for a quick strike pass which turned into an 81-yard gain, giving Oklahoma State the ball on the one-yard line. Justice Hill would score on the next play to help the Cowboys retake the lead at 31-28 near the end of the third quarter.

The Cyclones knew that they were going to have to score to slow down Oklahoma State’s momentum, and it took them only 2:14 to do so. Cyclone quarterback Joel Lanning, filling in for the injured Kempt, would find Lazard for a 22-yard touchdown pass as Iowa State would go ahead for the third time of the day 35-31 early in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys would come out moving the ball, marching 52 yards in 10 plays, but they were unable to convert on third and long, and Ammendola would be forced to kick his second field goal of the day, this one from 41 yards out. Oklahoma State would trail 34-35 with just under 10 minutes left in the game.

With a one-point lead, Iowa State had no intentions of playing conservative. They came out with their foot on the accelerator as they were able to go 75 yards in four plays and score on a four-yard run by David Montgomery to take a 42-34 lead midway through the fourth quarter. Oklahoma State had plenty of time by their standards to score, and in less than three minutes, the Cowboys found themselves in Cyclone territory, but an offensive holding call on third down put Rudolph and company in a bad situation. On the 30-yard line with 22 yards to go to get a first down, Rudolph pinpointed a pass in the end zone to Ateman who would make an incredible catch for the touchdown. After back-to-back penalties on the two-point conversion try, Justice Hill would take a direct snap to run the ball in and tie the game up at 42-42 with just under six minutes left in the game.

Feeling the pressure but unable to convert, Iowa State was forced to punt after only three plays, and due to another mediocre punt, the Cowboys would take over at their own 49-yard line with five minutes to play. It would take only three plays 1:14 for Oklahoma State to go 51 yards, giving the Cowboys a 49-42 lead with 3:47 to go. On the next drive, the Cowboy defense would continue to put pressure on the Iowa State backfield, and for the seventh time of the game, the Cyclones had to punt the ball away.

With a touchdown lead and a little over three minutes left on the clock, the Cowboys needed to play conservative, but at the same time try to put some points on the board for cushion. Iowa State, however, had other plans as they successfully stopped Oklahoma State, all while strategically using their timeouts to only lose 20 seconds on the game clock. On 4th and inches at midfield, Oklahoma State would punt the ball away. The Cyclones made quick work of their opportunity and marched down to the Cowboy 13-yard line before Trey Carter would sack Zeb Noland, the third Iowa State quarterback of the day, for a 9-yard loss. On 4th and 13, Noland found Montgomery wide open for a 19-yard gain and first down all the way down to the 3-yard line. The Cyclones would try to throw the ball, and on the the second pass attempt, Cowboy defensive back A.J. Green would intercept the pass in the end zone for a touchback, securing the 49-42 win for Oklahoma State.

3 Quick Thoughts

  • The Season Ain’t Over: Despite a slim chance of reaching the Big 12 Title Game, Oklahoma State still has a chance to make it. The Cowboys have lost to both TCU and Oklahoma, who both have one conference loss, and who play each other today. If the loser of that game loses another game before the season’s end, and Oklahoma State manages to win out, the Cowboys would find themselves at Jerry World on December 2nd. While the odds are not good, there’s still a chance.
  • Don’t Count This Team Out: After a rough loss a week ago, the Cowboys came in looking flat right out of the gate. The defense struggled to get stops, the offense wasn’t doing much, and Oklahoma State’s Bedlam hangover looked to be reality. That all changed rather quickly, however, as the Cowboys were able to establish Justice Hill on the ground, and Mason Rudolph was able to connect with his receivers. Hill finished the game with 134 yards and three touchdowns on 25 carries. Rudolph finished with 376 passing yards and three touchdowns while completing 25 of his 31 attempts. This offense continues to rack up the points, and with Kansas State and Kansas left on the schedule, they should have no problems continuing to score.
  • Defense Is Streaky: After the highest scoring Bedlam game in the history of the series, the Cowboy defense faced a lot of questions coming into today’s game. Oklahoma State gave up 14 points to the offense in Iowa State’s first two possessions of the game, but then the Cowboys forced the Cyclones into four consecutive punts before giving up another touchdown right before halftime. In the second half, Oklahoma State allowed three touchdowns on Iowa State’s first four drives, but then the Cowboys managed to force two punts and intercept a Cyclone pass to seal the game. This team has a lot of potential to make plays and get stops, but the effort doesn’t seem to be there every play. Despite being 10 games into the season, it’s never too late to improve.

Looking Ahead

Next Week, the Cowboys host the Kansas State Wildcats in Stillwater. Oklahoma State owns the all-time series 39-24, and the Cowboys have won seven of the last ten matchups, including five in a row in Stillwater. Kickoff time and television schedule has yet to be released, but the game will be broadcast on 96.1 FM.

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