May 25, 2024

Cowboys take down Jayhawks to win second-straight Big 12 game

Oklahoma State Cowboys Football

Oklahoma State wide receiver Brennan Presley (80) celebrates with teammates after rushing for a six-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter against Kansas Saturday October 14, 2023 at Boone Pickens Stadium. (Lynn Harrington/stayaliveinpower5)

STILLWATER, Okla. — The Cowboys came out on a mission Saturday afternoon, and put together a bunch of offensive fireworks that showed the rest of the Big 12 they’re a new and improved team.

There’s no denying that Oklahoma State has hit the reset button on the season, after outlasting No. 23 Kansas 39-32, in front of a crowd of 53,855 at Boone Pickens Stadium. Which shouldn’t come as a surprise considering the Cowboys have won seven straight over the Jayhawks at home.

Mike Gundy’s boys got revenge for last year’s loss in Lawrence, and now they’ve won 13 of the last 14 games in the series. Gundy feels the team he has now is like a night and day difference from a month ago. The Cowboys are responding to adversity, and playing their best ball. After all, Oklahoma State (4-2) racked up a season-high in points and yards in the victory over Kansas.

Everything is coming full circle in Gundy’s eyes, and he’s proud of Oklahoma State’s growth midway through the season.

“With South Alabama we coached poorly, and we played poorly,” Gundy said. “So you have to be able to look in the mirror, and say our coaching was awful in that game, which didn’t allow our players to play good, because we didn’t give them a chance.”

The Cowboys swept the two teams from the Sunflower State, and now they have plenty of momentum. Oklahoma State led Kansas in yards, plays, first downs and time of possession. Gundy is the longest-tenured coach in the Big 12, and knows that’s a recipe for success. Kansas (5-2) never gave up, and battled to the end.

The game was an absolute shootout, and had four lead changes. Not to mention the Cowboys averaged seven yards per play. The difference in the ball game was the fact that the Jayhawks committed two turnovers, while Gundy’s squad had none.

Quarterback Alan Bowman put together an amazing performance. He completed 28 of his 41 passes for 336 yards and two touchdowns. Running back Ollie Gordon dominated, and showed his workhorse capabilities. He carried the ball 29 times for 168 yards and a touchdown. Gordon also caught six passes out of the backfield for 116 yards and a score.

On top of that, Wideout Rashod Owens posted a game-high, nine catches for 112 yards. His teammate Brennan Presley got in on the action too, with eight receptions and scored two total touchdowns. It’s mind-boggling that Oklahoma State only punted the ball four times the entire game, and scored on all four possessions in the red zone.

However, Gundy is concerned about his defense. The Cowboys basically allowed the Jayhawks to score at will through the first three quarters. Gundy challenged his players in the second half, and thought the fourth quarter was when everything came together for the defense, in which Oklahoma State held Kansas scoreless.

“The halftime adjustments were good, not great the way it panned out,” he said. “The fourth quarter adjustments were great, so I asked them to listen to the adjustments, and to please play with energy, enthusiasm and effort.”

Kansas was scrappy though, and racked up 500 yards of total offense, which were the most Oklahoma State’s defense has surrendered all season long. Gundy thought his defense came through in the clutch, despite giving up so many explosive plays. He’s in awe that the Cowboys put the the Jayhawks’ quarterback Jason Bean to the turf four times, and stopped them on to fourth down attempts. The crowd fed into the energy too, and started to overwhelm Kansas.

“We had momentum at that time that knocked it to a one-score game, and I didn’t want to lose momentum,” the 56-year old coach said. “We had the crowd on our side, and I just felt like if we can do that, then we might force them into making a mistake on the road.”

After the win Oklahoma State is currently in a four-way tie for third place in the Big 12 standings, but holds a tie-breaker over Kansas State. With six more games to play, Gundy is confident the Pokes can make a run at the Big 12 Title down the stretch.

“Now we’re working in sync, that’s why we’re looking better.”