A week after narrowly escaping from Ames, Iowa, with a win over the Iowa State Cyclones, the Oklahoma State Cowboys came into today’s game in Stillwater against the Kansas State Wildcats as heavy favorites. Despite the expectation that Oklahoma State should have been able to pick up an easy win, the Cowboys struggled out of the gate.
The Wildcats went to work as soon as they took the opening kickoff. Quarterback Skylar Thompson ran the ball six times on the opening possession for 65 yards, capping off the drive with a 5-yard touchdown run to give Kansas State a 7-0 lead. Oklahoma State did nothing in its first drive of the day, and they were forced to punt, but the Cowboy defense held strong on its second chance, making the Wildcats punt as well. Oklahoma State’s offense would make some plays quickly, scoring in just 19 seconds after a 32-yard run by Justice Hill and a 38-yard touchdown pass from Mason Rudolph to James Washington to tie the game up at 7-7.
The Cowboy defense would stay locked in as Kansas State was held to a three-and-out for their second possession in a row. Oklahoma State would make some movement down the field, but the drive would stall, and Matt Ammendola would kick a 38-yard field goal to give the Cowboys a 10-7 lead. On the next possession, Kansas State had to punt after its third three-and-out in a row to bring the first quarter to a close.
Oklahoma State’s offense would start off the the second quarter looking rough, as they were held on three downs and had to punt. It would then be Kansas State’s turn to score in only two plays, a 21-yard run by Skylar Thompson and 47-yard touchdown pass from Thompson to Byron Pringle, giving the Wildcats their second lead of the day at 14-10. Mason Rudolph would then lead the Oklahoma State offense down the field before another drive would stall, and Ammendola would kick his second field goal of the day, a 27-yarder, to narrow the deficit to 13-14.
On the ensuing Cowboy kickoff to Kansas State, the game took a turn for the worse. Byron Pringle would score for the second time of the game for the Wildcats, this time returning the kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown to give Kansas State their largest lead of the day at that point at 21-13. On the next possession, Mason Rudolph threw an interception on just the third play of the drive, giving Kansas State the ball at their own 19-yard line. The Cowboy defense would hold the Wildcats, however, forcing them into another three-and-out. The Oklahoma State offense would take over at midfield, but Rudolph threw another interception, giving Kansas State possession at their own 39-yard line. This time, the Wildcats would take advantage of the turnover as Alex Barnes would rumble into the endzone from 39 yards out to push the lead to 28-13 headed into halftime.
The Cowboys would receive the kickoff to start the second half, and despite being in desperate need of points, the offense could get nothing done and was forced to punt. The Oklahoma State defense seemed a little more interested in the game, holding Kansas State to punt, but the Cowboys continued with their lackadaisical attitude on offense, and punted yet again. It would take the Skylar Thompson just three plays to lead the Wildcats to another touchdown, finding Byron Pringle again, this time for a 46-yard strike to extend Kansas State’s lead to 35-13 with midway through the third quarter.
Trailing by 22 points, the Cowboys almost definitely needed to score, but they were unable to get anything done, punting away after no success with moving the ball. Skylar Thompson quickly found Byron Pringle for the third time of the day on a 60-yard bomb to give the Wildcats their largest lead of the day at 42-13. With the game essentially out of reach, the Cowboy offense decided to wake up, and in five plays that took just 87 seconds, Justice Hill dove into the endzone on a 2-yard run to trim the deficit to 20-42.
Kansas State would take over, and like their offense had done for most of the day, they continued to march on the Oklahoma State defense. The Cowboys managed to stop the Wildcats on third down in the redzone, but Matthew McCrane was able to knock in a 33-yard field goal to put the Wildcats up 45-20 just a couple of minutes into the fourth quarter.
With the clock ticking, the Oklahoma State offense would take over, and Mason Rudolph would quickly lead the Cowboys down the field. It would take 13 plays and 3:55 off the game clock, but Rudolph managed to find James Washington for an 8-yard touchdown pass to draw the Cowboys a little closer to the Wildcats at 27-45 with nine minutes left in the game.
On the next possession, Kansas State was able to take some time off the clock, but the Cowboy defense would hold, and the Wildcats would have to punt. Despite playing poorly for much of the game, Mason Rudolph would manage to orchestrate yet another quick scoring drive, capped by his 2-yard touchdown run to make it 34-45 with five minutes to play.
On the first play of the ensuing drive, linebacker Justin Phillips and defensive end Trey Carter would tackle Skylar Thompson, forcing a fumble and recovery by the Cowboys at the Wildcat 39-yard line. Mason Rudolph would move the ball the rest of the way down the field before finding Dillon Stoner for a 14-yard touchdown to bring the game as close as it had been since the first half at 45-40 with only four minutes to go.
The Cowboy defense would hold one more time, and with two minutes to go, Mason Rudolph threw three passes in a row that were all dropped. Then, on fourth down with the game on line, Rudolph sailed a pass over Marcel Ateman’s head, and Kansas State would take over with nothing left to do but run the clock out. Despite Oklahoma State’s best efforts, the Cowboys would fall 40-45 at home.
Wrapping Up the Season
The Cowboys will wrap up the regular season next Saturday at home in Stillwater against the Kansas Jayhawks, who are 1-10 on the season. Oklahoma State owns the all-time series with Kansas 36-29-2, and the Cowboys have won the last seven in a row and 12 out of the last 13. Kickoff time and television schedule has yet to be released, but the game will be broadcast on 96.1 FM.