Oklahoma State fans should be rooting for Texas Tech to win Saturday.
After beating No. 21 Iowa State 49-42 Saturday, the Cowboys still have a shot at the Big 12 Championship game because No. 3 Oklahoma beat No. 11 TCU.
First, the Cowboys need to win their last two regular season games – this Saturday at 2:30 p.m. against Kansas State and then November 25 against Kansas. Both games are in Stillwater and OSU should be favored in both, especially lowly Kansas.
Secondly, TCU needs to lose one of its last two games – either this Saturday against Texas Tech in Lubbock or November 24 at home against Baylor. The best hope for an upset would be against the Red Raiders.
Both OSU and TCU have two losses in the conference and since TCU owns the tiebreaker because they beat the Cowboys, the Horned Frogs would have to lose again for OSU to make the championship game (probably against league-leading Oklahoma).
It would have been a moot point had OSU not intercepted a Cyclone pass in the endzone with only seconds left Saturday. Oklahoma State has rallied from at least 14 points in each of the past three seasons to defeat Iowa State.
“We knew this was going to be a difficult game,” said OSU coach Mike Gundy. “I had concerns during the week, not about our preparation mentally, but being a little bit fatigued after last week’s game because of the total number of plays. I think there was probably some truth to that. In the end, I think the defense made three stops at the end. Offensively, we were able to make some plays.”
“It’s a gut-wrenching loss,” said ISU coach Matt Campbell. “It’s not easy, but college football isn’t easy. It’s a game of inches and our job is to win every inch, and we came up a little bit short today. I give credit to Oklahoma State, they’re obviously a really good football program, and they made more plays than we were able to make by the end of the day.”
The Cowboy offense accomplished a lot that no other Big 12 team has against Iowa State, which upset both OU and TCU.
Cowboy quarterback Mason Rudolph is now 30-8 as a starting quarterback and has led OSU to 10 victories in games in which the Cowboys trailed during the second half. Rudolph’s 81-yard pass to Jalen McCleskey marked the longest passing play against the stingy ISU defense this season. The previous long passing play record was 63 yards by WVU. The pass was also Rudolph’s second 80-plus yard completion of the year. Rudolph passed for 376 yards (304 came in the second half).
OSU’s 49 points today are the most allowed by Iowa State this season.
“They’re an interesting team,” Gundy said of Iowa State. “They’ve been that way the last couple years, and especially this year. There’s just not enough flash when you watch them to make people think anything other than, ‘How are they as successful as they’ve been?’ Then you play them and they’re just good at what they do. They don’t make a lot of mistakes.”
OSU running back Justice Hill’s 52-yard carry in the second quarter was the longest rush by any player against the Iowa State defense this season. The previous long rush record was 35 yards. It was also the second-longest rush for Hill of the season and his career.
Hill finished with 134 yards on 25 carries with three touchdowns. He entered the game leading the Big 12 and ranked 14th nationally in rushing yards this year and also leading the Big 12 in rushing touchdowns.
Hill has now rushed for at least 100 yards in six of his last seven games and in 10 of his last 14 games. Hill’s 134 rushing yards are the most allowed by the Cyclones this season.
Iowa State had only allowed two 100-yard rushers all-season entering the game, with Akrum Wadley of Iowa having the previous high of 118. Hill had 101 yards at halftime.
A.J. Green’s game-clinching interception continued OSU streak of 24 consecutive games with a forced turnover.
“In the last series when we broke the huddle, we told 4 (A.J Green) and 8 (Rodarius Williams), ‘They’re going to go after you and post up their big guys and throw it at you,’” Gundy said. “8 came up with two big plays and obviously 4 made a big one in the end. I was very proud of those guys for that.”
Campbell thought the call could have gone either way.
“They felt like he had possession of it when they came down on the ground,” Campbell said. “It’s one of those bang-bang calls. I could sit here and complain about it, but that’s not who we are, and that’s not what we do. There’s a million different plays that we could have made in the game to not be put in that situation. That was a tough situation.”
OSU receiver James Washington has caught a pass in 42 straight games, the second longest active streak in the nation. Matt Ammendola has now connected on five of his last six FG attempts.