It’s only week five and already Oklahoma State has seen its share of dramatic finishes. Last week the Cowboys narrowly escaped an upset bid from the Longhorns in Austin. However after capitalizing on some Texas mistakes and a few controversial calls, kicker Ben Grogan knocked down 41-yard and 40-yard field goals in the last 93 seconds of the game to escape Austin with the win. Fast forward one Saturday to Stillwater, Oklahoma and Grogan’s team was down, yet again, to another underdog but this time it would be Kansas State. It was 33-34 with :32 remaining and Grogan came through in the clutch again punching a 37-yarder through the uprights which would eventually give the Pokes a 36-34 win.
Cowboy fan’s hearts have skipped a couple of beats this year but, through it all, their Pokes are one of only 10 FBS teams in the country to reach a 5-0 record. The win would also represent the fourth time Gundy has led Oklahoma State to said 5-0 record.
Kansas State has also experienced their own drama in 2015. In their first game, they lost starting QB Jesse Ertz to injury. Enter Joe Hubener who, given the circumstances, did an excellent job of managing the offense and leading Kansas State to a 3-0 record. So, needless to say, the Wildcats are running a little thin at the QB position. Especially when you consider that Hubener’s backup is wide receiver and fifth-string QB Kody Cook. We know this because as luck (or lack thereof) would have it, Cook got his chance to sling the rock.
On the first series of the game Joe Hubener took a shot from Cowboy safety Tre Flowers as the QB slid to end the play. As he threw his legs out from beneath him to enter the slide, Trey Flowers of Oklahoma State dove over top of him, and Flowers’ shoulder pad connected with Hubener’s helmet sending it bouncing off the turf. The QB was out like a light.
Joe Huebner gets destroyed. pic.twitter.com/rsWcm7YgqY
— Pistols Firing (@pistolsguy) October 3, 2015
The next two guys in line were also out due to injury so Snyder had to break the glass on his Emergency Quarterback Kit, and turned to wide receiver Kody Cook. Amazingly Cook would have an outstanding first half leading Kansas State to a 28-13 late second quarter lead. However, Oklahoma State’s defense is just too talented to ask a fifth-stringer to bring home a win on the road, although he nearly pulled it off.
This game featured two of the top defenses in the Big 12 (if you listen closely you can hear the giggles from SEC fans), and two teams who had seen their share of tight finishes. So the fact that it was one of the best games of the weekend shouldn’t surprise us. Here’s a closer look at this thriller from Boone Pickens Stadium.
|3rd Down Eff||4-11||9-15|
|4th Down Eff||1-1||1-1|
|Yds Per Pass||6.7||7.6|
|Yds Per Rush||3.4||1.8|
Key Point In The Game
The third quarter. After scoring before the half to make it a one possession game, Oklahoma State dominated the third quarter. OSU made the adjustments they needed to after Cook ran all over the Cowboy defense in the first half, because in the third, K-State managed just one yard of offense. One yard! The Wildcats managed to do enough to keep it close, but you won’t win many games spotting the other team, a top 25 team, a whole quarter.
This play was also huge. Despite controlling the second half, OSU was down with time running out in the game. Before Grogan kicked the winning field goal though, the Cowboys faced 4th down and long. If they didn’t convert it, it was game over for the Pokes.
Positives For Kansas State
Even under the most dire of circumstances, this team has proven they can come together against any adversity they may encounter. Credit master-motivator Bill Snyder for this impressive effort on the road. K-State showed the very essence of “next man up” football. Also, they still managed to rack up 351 yards of total offense, win the turnover battle and keep penalties to a minimum. They were truly a couple of favorable bounces away from stealing what would have been a miracle win from the Cowboys. I really think they actually gain confidence from this game which will come in handy when a TCU team, who’s firing on all cylinders, comes to Manhattan next week.
Negatives For Kansas State
Oklahoma State figured out what Cook was doing to them, and made the adjustments. K-State’s offense went anemic in the second half, and the line didn’t have any answers for Oklahoma State defensive end Emmanuel Ogbah. It’s only going to get tougher from here for the Wildcats, they’ll need to find some offense to keep up in this league.
The injury bug hasn’t been kind to K-State. Even Cook left the game banged up, and Hubener returned to the game (Hopefully after he was cleared of any possible concussion by the medical staff). Given that he came back into the game, Hubener should be ready to go next week, but it’s something to keep an eye on.
What The Loss Means For Kansas State
These are the games that are going to decide the middle of the Big 12. Neither team looks to be a Big 12 contender, but there’s a big difference between 4th in the conference, and 8th. The loss puts the Wildcats in an early hole to dig out of, and looking ahead on the schedule, there aren’t many probable wins left.
Positives For Oklahoma State
I’d say the biggest positive for OK-State was confidence. Just when you think this team is about to let one slip away they find a way to win. Before the season started, I doubt too many analysts had them at 5-0 through five yet here they are for the fourth time under Gundy. The positive story-line for this team has been the defense who held K-State to 121 yards in the second half with 72 of those coming on one play. With the barrage of offensive talent remaining on the Poke’s schedule, that stingy defense will come in very handy.
Negatives For Oklahoma State
How long can this last? I hate to throw the word “luck” around as the Pokes have absolutely earned their 5-0 record. However, nobody can argue that they haven’t had some fortune on their side for these last couple of games. After barely knocking off a pitiful Texas team, and now narrowly defeating a K-State team who’ve been decimated by injuries, the Pokes can only live dangerously for so long until it catches up to them.
What The Win Means For Oklahoma State
The most important thing this game meant is 5-0 which is monstrous for a team that had a lot of question marks coming into the year. Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been pretty and many question marks still remain but they have built some great momentum to roll into the meat of their schedule which starts with WVU this week. But three things we know about the Pokes are: 1. They have a QB who is improving week-to-week. 2. They have a kicker they can count on when the pressure is on. 3. They have a defense who can seemingly make the adjustments they need to absolutely shut teams down in the second half. Again, they have some things to clean up, but this is a team that nobody wants to play right now.
Player Of The Game
Mason Rudolph absolutely came alive this game. The QB, after struggling to find some consistency, had his best game of the season (so far) against the best defense he’s faced which is has to be a huge confidence builder for Rudolph. He went 34-55 for 437 yards and three TD’s. He did have one pick but, overall, the QB had an excellent day spreading the ball around to nine different receivers. With an absolutely non-existent rushing attack, Oklahoma State will keep depending on the young quarterback.
Emptying The Notebook
Oklahoma State ran the two-point conversion trick play Thomas highlighted in this week’s Film Room! Although it didn’t quite work for the Cowboys. Rudolph is supposed to get lost in the endzone, but instead he decides to play offensive lineman, and left no one to throw to.
Oklahoma State receiver Marcell Ateman needs to be getting more attention. He’s quietly becoming one of the best receivers in the Big 12.
— Big 12 Conference (@Big12Conference) October 3, 2015
This was fantastic.
I'm convinced every Kansas State player is a decent QB.
— Josh Kopelman (@LatvianMissile) October 3, 2015