Struggling OSU Settles, Fails To Convert Chances Against Longhorns
By: Zachary Barth, Staff Writer
The Oklahoma State Cowboys opened their 2019 Big 12 Conference slate in Austin, Texas.
Facing the Texas Longhorns would represent the Cowboys’ stiffest test to date as the Longhorns entered the matchup ranked number 12 in the Associated Press Poll.
Oklahoma State had beaten the Longhorns in four straight meetings, not losing a road game to Texas since 2008.
But the Longhorns would not let history repeat itself as they beat the Cowboys 36-30.
On the first drive of the game, the Cowboys marched down the field but had to settle for a field goal.
Despite their early success, the Cowboys wouldn’t score again until the second quarter, again settling for a field goal.
After punting on their first possession, Sam Elinger led the Longhorns on back-to-back touchdown drives to put the Longhorns up 14-3 early in the second quarter.
Oklahoma State cut the Longhorn lead to 21-20 at halftime and took a brief 23-20 lead out of halftime.
But the Cowboys were unable to keep Texas out of the endzone, seemingly allowing the Longhorns to score and extend the lead every time Spencer Sanders and the offense pulled the Cowboys within striking distance.
“We had our chances. We just didn’t capitalize. We kicked too many field goals,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said during the post-game press conference after the loss. “We’ve got to punch it in.”
Many wondered how Sanders would handle the pressure of his first Big 12 Conference game as the starting quarterback for the Cowboys.
Despite his hot start to the season, Gundy said he still believes Sanders has a lot of growing to do before he will have a handle on the offense.
“Spencer’s game hasn’t slowed down yet, and it won’t for another 10 games in my opinion,” Gundy said in a press conference prior to facing the Longhorns.
Sanders struggled to beat the Texas defense through the air, completing just 19 of 32 passes for 268 yards, adding two interceptions and no touchdowns.
While struggling to make an impact in the passing game, Sanders still was able to extend plays with his feet, totalling 109 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
Sanders said despite the outcome, he still felt good in how he ran the offense and believes the team will build on their performance over their next few games.
“I felt like I knew what I was doing – I knew where I was going with the ball like I was very confident with my play and the guys around me,” Sanders said in a post game interview.
The Cowboys won’t have much time to dwell on the loss as they host another ranked opponent in the Kansas State Wildcats in their next outing.
The Wildcats will test the Cowboy defense’s ability to stop the run. 72% of the Wildcats offensive plays this season have been running plays, and the Cowboys allowed the Longhorns to run for 217 yards last week.
As a result of their run-heavy attack, it will be critical for the Oklahoma State offense to score touchdowns instead of settling for field goals.
The Wildcats enter their matchup with the Cowboys holding the ball for 39 minutes a game on average, so it’s likely the Cowboys will have fewer offensive possessions to put points on the board.