The no. 11 Oklahoma State Cowboys proved once again on Saturday that they have not just one of the best defenses in the country but perhaps one of the best teams. The West Virginia Mountaineers scored on their very first drive to take a 3-0 lead over the Cowboys, but it was all Oklahoma State the rest of the way as they left Morgantown with a 27-3 victory and improving to 8-1 on the season.
Jared Doege and the Mountaineer offense are the latest victims to suffer at the hands of the Oklahoma State defense. After scoring a field goal on the first possession of the game—an 11-play, 64-yard drive that took 5:33 off the game clock—West Virginia wasn’t even able to get the ball past the 50-yard line until their final drive of the game.
The Cowboy defense was impressive in so many ways, I’m not sure there’s enough room here to list them all. The biggest impact on stopping West Virginia’s offense was Oklahoma State’s ability to get into the Mountaineer backfield. The Cowboys managed to get to Doege 8 times, finishing just one sack short of the all-time single-game high. 6 different players recorded a sack on Saturday, making it 6 different Cowboys who have recorded a sack this season.
West Virginia managed just 133 yards of total offense, less than half their season average. Oklahoma State’s defense has now held opponents to under 100 yards of offense in 4 straight halves of football, and if the defense continues to play like this, they just might find themselves playing in January.
Not Great, But Good Enough
Oklahoma State’s offense has been as polarizing this season as it has been in perhaps the last 20 years. The first few games of the season were decided in large part by the defense, but over the last few weeks, Spencer Sanders has played well and led the Cowboys in a big way.
Today, Sanders and the offense started off in typical fashion. They were unable to move the ball, and when it looked like some progress was being made, Dante Stills made an incredible play for West Virginia to pick off a screen pass by Sanders. Still, it was early in the game, and it was pretty smooth sailing from there.
Spencer Sanders finished the game completing 21-of-31 passes for 182 yards, two touchdowns (both caught by Tay Martin), and the one interception. He also rushed for 18 yards on 10 attempts.
Jaylen Warren has been a workhorse for the Cowboys all season long, but he only had to run the ball 16 times for 78 yards a touchdown. Again, it wasn’t his best game statistically, but it was enough to get the job done.
As long as the defense continues doing what they’ve done all season long, then Oklahoma State’s offense can continue to be “good enough.”
Don’t Worry about the Polls
The College Football Playoff Committee released their first rankings of the season on Monday, and it’s safe to say that there were more than a few questions surrounding their decisions. The Cowboys came in at number 11, which isn’t bad at all, especially considering the one loss.
While Oklahoma State has nothing more than an outsider’s chance of making the top four and getting into the College Football Playoff, it’s not outside the realm of possibility. If the Cowboys can win out, including beating the Sooners probably twice, then they could definitely sneak into that fourth spot.
It’s too soon to get ahead of ourselves, though, and regardless where the Cowboys are ranked over the next couple of weeks, it won’t matter until the very end anyway. So, in the mean time, let’s just enjoy the fact that Oklahoma State will likely be a top 10 team next week, and the Cowboys are finally getting their fair share of national attention.
Next up for the Cowboys is a home matchup with the TCU Horned Frogs. TCU is having a rough season, and they are fighting for bowl game game eligibility at this point with their 4-5 record. Still, they’re fresh off a 30-28 upset of no. 14 Baylor, and Oklahoma State cannot afford to overlook any team at this point.
Kickoff and television information has yet to be released.