Oklahoma State 19 – West Virginia 24 | Cowboys Lose to Mountaineers on Senior Day: Some Thoughts on the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Oklahoma State Cowboys entered Senior Day in Stillwater as a touchdown-favorite, but a number of factors—some unavoidable and others self-inflicted—contributed to a 24-19 defeat at the hands of the West Virginia Mountaineers.

The Good

Not a whole lot of good came out of the game for the Cowboys, but it should be noted that freshman running back Ollie Gordon very likely has a bright future in Stillwater. Before facing the Mountaineers, Gordon had run the ball just 33 times for 127 yards and a touchdown on the entire season. Take away a 53-yard touchdown run against the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff, and his stats are barely worth mentioning. Saturday was a new day for the young man.

It wasn’t until the end of the second quarter that Ollie Gordon was given his first carry—an 8-yard gain—but he finished the day with 17 carries for 136 yards and a touchdown. More importantly than his stats was the manner in which he came about them. On multiple occasions when the Cowboys seemingly had zero energy, Gordon came in and made a play to rejuvenate the offense.

No, the game did not turn out the way Cowboy fans would have liked, but Ollie Gordon’s performance is one that we will likely look back at as the start of a very illustrious career.

The Bad

The Cowboys have struggled all season long with injuries, and Saturday was a giant piece of evidence that proves just how bad it has truly gotten in Stillwater. No Spencer Sanders was a sure-fire sign that the offense would struggle, and Garret Rangel looked every bit the part as a freshman. He managed to complete just 18-of-42 pass attempts for 178 yards. The blame cannot be solely placed on Rangel, however, as a number of his passes were dropped. Why were so many passes dropped? Well, the weather was horrendous.

It’s been a while since the Cowboys have played in such poor weather as the rainfall they faced on Saturday. Yes, both teams have to play in the weather, but Oklahoma State has not been known for their rushing attack, and it wasn’t until Ollie Gordon got going perhaps a little too late that the Cowboys made some headway. Even then, the play calling still lent towards passing the ball, which doesn’t make a ton of sense in that weather.

The Ugly

The weather issues lead into the biggest, ugliest factor of the entire game: the coaching. Yes, players have to actually play the game and execute the game plan, but when the game plan sucks, maybe it’s time to try something different.

Offensive Coordinator Kasey Dunn has upset many Cowboy fans on a regular basis over the last couple of seasons with his questionable play calling. For example, throwing the ball as many times as you run it when the weather is down pouring rain makes no sense. Not only did Dunn decide to have his offense throw the ball far too often, the timing of some of the pass plays was absolutely horrendous.

Twice on fourth and short, when the run game was actually doing a decent job, and the Cowboys desperately needed a first, Dunn opted to have Garret Rangel—A FRESHMAN—throw a deep ball, both attempts which were incomplete.

I’m not going to claim anyone needs to be fired, because that’s not my place, but after a pretty terrible second half to the season, the coaching staff has to shoulder not just some but A LOT of the blame and make some serious adjustments. If they can’t figure some things out before the bowl game, then there might need to be some changeover at some coaching positions.

What’s Next?

The regular season is over, and 7-5 is far from what was expected from this team, even before they were rolling at the top of the conference. At this point, we wait and see what mediocre bowl game the Cowboys will be invited to attend, and hopefully enough guys will be healthy (and willing) to play.

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