No. 12 OSU can’t afford a letdown vs. No. 24 ISU

Mason Rudolph passed for 448 yards and five touchdowns while Justice Hill rushed 30 times for 228 yards. Oklahoma State scored 38 points in the first half and 52 points total. The OSU defense got two interceptions and recovered one fumble.

Those stats almost always point to a Cowboy victory.

But it didn’t happen Saturday as the host No. 12 Cowboys fell to in-state rival No. 5 Oklahoma 52-62. The loss was a big blow to hopes for the Big 12 Championship and virtually eliminated OSU from consideration for the College Football Playoff.

“That was a heck of a college football game,” said OSU coach Mike Gundy, who is now 2-11 versus the Sooners. “I wish we could have made a couple of plays at the end, but they ended up making a couple of plays at the end and we didn’t. We had our shot in the last couple of minutes and we didn’t. I told (his players) that I’m proud of their effort, being resilient. I’ve been in a lot of weird games at Oklahoma State, but I don’t remember being in one like that.

“We didn’t play as well on defense as well as we would have liked to. That was pretty obvious. Going into the game we felt like we wanted to try to control (Baker Mayfield), and we did a little bit in the first of the third quarter, but he made some plays. He’s a really good player. He makes plays and throws when he breaks contain that are pretty unusual. He’s a good player.”

OSU must rebound this week with a road trip to Ames, Iowa, to battle No. 24 Iowa State with an 11 a.m. kickoff Saturday. Whoever loses that game will be eliminated from being one of the top two teams in the Big 12 Championship game in Dallas.

Iowa State, the surprise team of the Big 12, was upset by West Virginia Saturday, 16-20.

In 2016, OSU held on for a 38-31 victory in Stillwater. In that game, Cowboy receiver James Washington caught eight passes for 152 yards as OSU fought back from a 17-point second half deficit. Rudolph passed for 351 yards and four touchdowns in that game. ISU coach Matt Campbell, in his second year, has transformed Iowa State from a bottom dweller to a title contender in the Big 12. ISU has upset wins over both Oklahoma and TCU – who are tied for first place in the Big 12.

Hill said the Cowboys don’t need wholesale changes this week to match up with the Cyclones.

“We just have to go out and execute the gameplan. We don’t need to change a whole lot up, but we need to make sure we go out, keep working hard and do what we need to do,” said Hill, who broke Barry Sanders’ Bedlam rushing record against the Sooners with 228 yards. The previous record of 215 was set by Barry Sanders in 1988.

Hill scored two rushing touchdowns to take his season total to nine and his career total to 15. The Cowboys shattered their previous record for total offense in a Bedlam game of 506 set in 2002, finishing with 661 yards.

Rudolph’s five touchdown tosses and 448 passing yards set new OSU records for a Bedlam contest.

James Washington, who was out much of the second half with an ankle injury, finished with 128 receiving yards . Washington’s 128-yard total coupled with a 118-yard night from Tyron Johnson gave OSU its first 100-yard receiving duo in a Bedlam game.

The OSU defense sacked Baker Mayfield on four-straight passing plays in the third quarter, with all them occurring within field goal range. The defense finished with five sacks in the game. Entering today’s game, no team had sacked OU more than twice in a game this season.

OSU linebacker Chad Whitener, who prevented an OU score with an interception of OU quarterback Baker Mayfield, said the Cowboys can’t afford to let up against Iowa State.

“This one obviously stings, but like Coach Gundy was telling us, we can’t let it fester because it will affect us in getting ready for Iowa State,” Whitener said. “Ames isn’t an easy place to play, so we just need to go out there tomorrow and be ready to learn from our mistakes.”

“The mindset doesn’t change at all,” said OSU defensive end Jordan Brialford. “We always come back ready to go. We always go out there, practice hard and focus on getting ready for the next opponent. We’ll be back out tomorrow to start another week and to get ready for Iowa State next week.”

Gundy is confident his team will move on from the loss.

“Do the losses sting? Sure,” Gundy said. “They do. Some people look at me and say, ‘You don’t act like it bothers you very much.’ And I told the team, ‘Listen, here’s the deal.’ I’ve been doing this 30 years as a player and a coach. One thing that I’ve learned is that everybody in that room wanted to win. And the competitive nature of what we do in this sport, it’s difficult when you have games like that. Lot of emotions involved. And it’s the same way with me.

“There’s not anybody in this stadium that wants to compete and win more than me. But I’ve done this long enough to know that when we get what we’re asking out of our players, we as a staff have respect for them and what they gave us. We just came up a little bit short.”