The no. 10 Oklahoma State Cowboys looked as good as they have all season on Saturday night as they overcame an early fumble on the first possession of the game to absolutely dominate the visiting Texas Christian Horned Frogs. TCU was on the verge of scoring after recovering a fumble at midfield just a couple of plays into the game, but the Cowboy defense held strong, and then the offense took over. It didn’t take long for the points to pile up, and at the end of the night, Oklahoma State put up their highest scoring game of the season, defeating TCU 63-17.
Consistency from the Offense is Key
At the start of the season, quarterback Spencer Sanders and the Cowboy offense looked as bad as an offense in orange has ever looked in Stillwater. The days of owning the nation’s most potent offense are long gone, but after the last few weeks, maybe this Oklahoma State offense isn’t too bad after all.
Sanders played yet another great game tonight, or at least most of one. For the second time in the last three weeks, the junior quarterback didn’t even get to the play the entire game because of how badly his team was dominating the opponent. Sanders finished the evening completing 17-of-25 passes for 235 yards and a touchdown. He also had 53 yards running the ball.
As a team, the offense racked up an incredible 682, 447 of which came on the ground. The offensive line that was such a huge problem last year and at the start of this year has now turned themselves into the workhorses that drive the offense to success. The Cowboys managed to rack up 8 rushing touchdowns. Jaylen Warren scored three, Dezmon Jackson scored two, Dominic Richardson scored two, and freshman Jadon Nixon broke loose for a 63-yard run for the final touchdown of the night.
On a night where Oklahoma State honored Barry Sanders, the greatest running back in college football history, Jaylen Warren had a first half performance that would impress even Sanders. Before sitting out the rest of the game, Warren racked up 123 yards and 3 touchdowns. He also became the 25th rusher in Oklahoma State history to eclipse the 1,000 yard rushing mark.
Needless to say, if the Cowboy offense can maintain this level of consistency moving forward, I feel confident that they can compete with anyone—and I mean anyone—in the country.
Defense Keeps Rolling
For weeks now, Oklahoma State’s defense has received their share of attention, even from a national perspective. Once again, they’ve put on quite the performance, and they continue to look like one of the country’s best.
Through the first three quarters, TCU had just 3 points, and of the 14 they scored in the fourth quarter, only 7 of those were relinquished by the defense, and by then, the starters hadn’t been on the field for quite some time. Coming in, the Horned Frogs had only given up 13 total sacks on the season, but the Cowboy defense managed to get to the quarterback 7 times.
Before Saturday night, the Horned Frogs were averaging 450.6 yards and 31.3 points per game. Oklahoma State held them to just 273 yards and 17 points. Again, most of that production came in the final quarter when the game was in hand and the starters were no longer playing.
It’s refreshing to see the Cowboys getting the respect that they deserve, because it’s obvious that they perform at the highest level every single week. If there was any doubt who the best team in the Big 12 currently is, then this defense should have you doubting no more: it’s the Oklahoma State Cowboys.
Is the College Football Playoff Actually Possible?
After tonight’s win over the Horned Frogs and the Oklahoma Sooners’ loss to the Baylor Bears in Waco this afternoon, the Cowboys are tied with the Sooners atop the Big 12 standings. Oklahoma State needs to win out to guarantee a spot in the Big 12 Championship game, but even if they lose to the Sooners in the regular season finale, they still have a good chance at making their way into it. If the Cowboys can somehow finish out the season beating Oklahoma twice on their way to becoming Big 12 Champs, will it be enough to convince the College Football Playoff committee to give them a shot at a top 4 ranking?
I’m not convinced, but there’s always a chance. A 12-1 record and a Power 5 conference championship is a solid resumé, but with the lack of favor that the committee has shown the Big 12, Oklahoma State is going to need some extra help.
The Cowboys will move into the top 10 of next week’s College Football Playoff rankings, but even if they win out, a number of teams are going to have to lose. The good news is that several of those teams ahead have to play each other. If Georgia and Alabama win out in the regular season, they will meet in the SEC Championship. Ohio State has to play both Michigan and Michigan State, so there’s no telling what all could shake out there. Even if all of those games shake out in Oklahoma State’s favor, it might not be enough if the CFP committee looks favorably at Cincinnati, Oregon, and Notre Dame.
In summation, is the College Football Playoff possible for the Cowboys? Absolutely. However, is it going to be easy? Absolutely not. Right now, the best thing for the Oklahoma State football team to do is to start preparing for next week’s game against Texas Tech. The only thing the Cowboys can do is keep on winning. If they do that, who knows? This season just might be extra special.