Saturday night in Stillwater was about as true to the Bedlam name as ever as the #7 Oklahoma State Cowboys managed to comeback from a 9-point deficit in the fourth quarter against the #10 Oklahoma Sooners to score 13 straight points before coming away with the 37-33 victory.
In my 20+ years of Oklahoma State fandom, I don’t know that I’ve ever watched a crazier Bedlam football game. The lead changes, the point swings, the penalties, the MISSED penalties…I could go on and on. Before I dig into the details of the game, let’s be very clear: yes, there were some missed calls, and yes, some of them hurt Oklahoma’s chances of a comeback, but don’t get it twisted—Oklahoma State had plenty of reasons to fuss about the officials as well.
With that out of the way, let’s dig into the game.
Defense Lives Up to the Hype
Coming into Bedlam, the Cowboy defense had not given up more than 24 points all season. At halftime, the scored was all tied up at 24-24, and it was pretty obvious the Sooners were not done scoring. Still, the defense couldn’t be blamed entirely for the first half: the offense couldn’t stay on the field long enough to give the defense a chance to breathe.
Still, it was the second-half defensive performance that ultimately changed the game and saved the day for the Cowboy faithful. After giving up 261 yards of total offense in the first half, Oklahoma State gave up 180 yards to the Sooners, but that includes a 56-yard scramble by Caleb Williams on the final drive of the game. By the end of the night, the Cowboys had sacked Caleb Williams 6 times, setting a new school record for total sacks in a season with 49. 3 of those came in the final minutes of the game.
Questions continued to surround Oklahoma State’s defense prior to Bedlam, but after tonight’s performance, I think it’s safe to say they’re legit. It’s going to take another stellar performance next weekend if the Cowboys want to defeat the Baylor Bears for the Big 12 Championship.
Both teams entered tonight’s game with a few key injuries, but by the end of the night, the Cowboys were obviously playing at less than 100%. After missing time over the last couple of weeks, offensive lineman Josh Sills started tonight, but he went down in the fourth quarter before returning to the game. Jaylen Warren was obviously hurting, but he still managed to make an impact on the game with his performance of 17 carries for 56 yards and the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.
With the Big 12 Championship just a week away, I’m hoping the Cowboys can try to find something close to full health. Baylor’s defense is legit, and Oklahoma State is going to need both Sills and Warren at their peak level of fitness.
Spencer Sanders Makes Good on His Word
Earlier this week, Spencer Sanders guaranteed a Bedlam victory saying, “Well, I already know what’s going to happen. You know, obviously, I’m going to say we’re going to win. I’ve got confidence in our team. Yeah, just I can already feel it.”
If you take a look at the stats, Sanders could have had a better game. He finished with 2 interceptions, and a fumble which he nearly lost, but really only the first interception was on him. Aside from the pair of turnovers, he had a great game, completing 19-of-30 passes (63.3%) for 214 yards and a touchdown, but he made his biggest impact on the ground, running the ball 16 times for 93 yards and a touchdown.
With Spencer Sanders, you don’t always necessarily know what you’re going to get statistically, but you can guarantee that he’s going to bring 100% effort every single time he steps on the field. I’m sure he’ll do the same next week in the Big 12 Championship, and then hopefully again in a College Football Playoff game.
Big 12 Championship Bound
The Oklahoma State Cowboys are Big 12 Regular Season Champs, but that means nothing if they can’t beat Baylor a second time next weekend. This is the first appearance ever in the Big 12 Championship Game for Oklahoma State, and with a win, they very well could find themselves in the College Football Playoff.
Kickoff for next weekend is set for 11 AM and will be televised on ABC.