#11 Oklahoma State 34 – Arizona State 17 | Spencer Sanders, Dominic Richardson Lead Cowboys to Win Over Sun Devils

The Oklahoma State Cowboys tied a program record for longest home winning streak at 10 as they soundly defeated the visiting Arizona State Sun Devils 34-17. The Cowboys struggled early on, but once they settled in, they were able to take care of business against a solid non-conference opponent.

The Defense Shows Up When It Counts

Last week against Central Michigan, the Cowboy defense was embarrassed time and time again, particularly in the secondary, but there were clear signs of improvement in tonight’s meeting with the Sun Devils. Arizona State did manage one huge play—a 73-yard strike from Emory Jones to Sean Michael Flanagan on the first possession of the second half that led to a touchdown—but Oklahoma State stepped up on multiple occasions to steal momentum away from Arizona State’s offense.

  • In the first half, the Sun Devils faced a 3rd & 1 near midfield, but Cowboy linebacker Brock Martin was able to hit Xazavian Valladay in the backfield to force a fumble which was promptly recovered by Tyler Lacey. On the ensuing drive, the Cowboys ran five straight running plays that ended with Spencer Sanders making his way into the end zone.
  • In the third quarter, Arizona State made their way into Cowboy territory with ease, looking at a 1st and 10 on the 34 yard line. With plenty of momentum and in need of a score, the Sun Devils were unable to get another first down, and as a result, kicker Carter Brown missed a 48-yard field goal.
  • After taking a 27-17 lead early in the fourth quarter, the Cowboys were comfortable but needed to put the game away. Arizona State’s offense had some momentum after scoring on the previous possession, but that any chance at a comeback was shut down quickly as Oklahoma State’s defense forced a 3-and-out to essentially put away the win.

On the night, Oklahoma State’s defense looked much better from a week ago, but they are going to play much more formidable offenses when conference play begins. Still, Cowboy fans should be encouraged by the progress, and with as solid as the defensive line is, if the secondary can play even at a mediocre level, then they will be in a good place to win on any given night.

Spencer Sanders Has Wheels

Spencer Sanders is in his fourth year as the starting quarterback for the Cowboys, and in his time in Stillwater, he’s never been considered a great passer. Sure, he’s had his moments of brilliance, but his mistake through the air have been overwhelming at times. For example, earlier tonight Sanders threw his first interception of the season, and it was a bad one. The defender—linebacker Kyle Soelle—was sitting back in a zone, and Sanders essentially threw it right to him.

Still, Sanders is notorious for finding a way to impact the game in a positive way—even if he’s made a mistake—and that’s exactly what he did tonight. The interception barely fazed Sanders, and he recovered from it with a solid game through the air, completing 21-of-38 passes for 268 yards and 2 touchdowns. But the area of his game that is going to befuddle defenses all season long is his ability to run the ball.

Whether it’s scrambling out of the pocket and avoiding a would-be sack or a designed run play, Spencer Sanders is a true dual-threat quarterback, and he put that one display tonight by racking up 54 yards and a touchdown on 14 rushing attempts. His ability to extend plays and get whatever his team needs is going to prove to be quite the weapon as the season continues.

Dominic Richardson Adds Key Piece to the Offense

Last week, the Cowboy offense was humming. It didn’t matter that Oklahoma State barely eclipsed 100 rushing yards as a team; they were able to get in the end zone plenty. Still, it was evident that they quickly needed to find their identity on the ground if they wanted to continue to find success moving forward. They managed to do that tonight thanks primarily to Dominic Richardson.

Richardson led the Cowboys last week, but he finished that game with just 61 yards and a touchdown on 11 carries. He was much more impactful tonight as he racked up 131 yards and a touchdown on 27 touches on the ground, not to mention 5 catches for 44 yards. Richardson is going to be a key focus for the Cowboy offense moving forward, and if he is able to maintain a level of consistency, I have a feeling that opposing defenses are going to be at a loss as to how to stop them from scoring.

Looking Ahead on the Schedule

Next Saturday the Cowboys will play host to the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions (2-0), an FCS school out of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. The Golden Lions are without a doubt the easiest game Oklahoma State’s schedule all season long, and this contest should be used to fine tune and tweak any necessary changes ahead of conference play.

Kickoff for the game is set for 6 PM and can be streamed via ESPN+.

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