A failure to convert on fourth down and a fumble on the one-yard line proved costly to Oklahoma State as the Cowboys were inches away from upsetting Baylor Saturday.
OSU lost 24-35 to the Bears after Baylor recovered a fumble late in the game and drove the length of the field for a touchdown. OSU lost three fumbles in the game.
“This game’s pretty easy to see,” said OSU coach Mike Gundy. “You travel on the road, turn the ball over three times and then defensively you give up way too many big plays. We got away with that last week. We had two turnovers that cost us points and we gave up big plays and we were able to overcome it. But now you’re traveling down here and playing a good team, and when you’re moving the ball and you turn it over, you just shoot yourself in the foot and then when you give up big plays, when you have them backed up against the wall, it’s hard to beat a good team. It’s really pretty simple.”
Oklahoma State hosts Texas at 11 a.m. Saturday on ABC. No. 21 Texas opened the season with an impressive 50-47 double-overtime win over Notre Dame in Austin. That win has dimmed a bit after the Fighting Irish has fallen to a 1-3 season record.
Texas clobbered UTEP 41-7 but then dropped a road game, losing at California 47-50. The Longhorns were idle last week and had two weeks to prepare for the Cowboys.
Last year, OSU hit two field goals in the last 1:33 of the game to slip pas Texas 30-27 in Austin. OSU outgained Texas 395 yards to 290 yards in that game.
“They’re very similar to what we’ve seen in the past,” Gundy said of Texas on Monday. “A lot of their guys up front are strong and they have a lot of speed on the perimeter. They’ve gone to a style of offense that a lot of people are going to, so it’ll be two weeks in a row that we’ve seen that style of offense. The young quarterback seems to be throwing the ball very well, accurately, and seems to be a good fit for them. The big guy that they’ve had the last few years has done a really good job for them in certain situations.”
After OSU quarterback Mason Rudolph threw for a national season-high 540 yards against Pittsburgh, Rudolph was hit 27 of 45 pass attempts for 279 yards against Baylor on Saturday.
“I’m really proud of our guys, our offensive linemen,” said Rudolph. “They did an incredible job all game of moving the ball well on the ground. Our running backs made some great cuts, some great runs and just ball security just got us. So we’ll work on that and we’ll move forward but really proud of those guys up front. You know, it sucks, but you know, nothing we can do now.”
It was Rudolph’s first loss in a true road since he started against Baylor two years ago in his freshman season.
“It’s very important to get off the field,” said Baylor linebacker Travon Blanchard. “(Mason) Rudolph, he’s a very smart quarterback. He has tremendous touch on his throws. He made a lot of really good, smart safe throws. We tried to show him a few different coverages, different looks and he was able to deliver.”
OSU held the ball for 41:27 against Baylor. It was the third largest time of possession total in school history and the most since OSU reached 42:58 in TOP in 1999 against Baylor.
“We felt like the last two years we got in a track meet with them, and we couldn’t run with them,” Gundy said. “And so we wanted to be able to establish some running game, use a little bit of clock with playing on the road. And that’s why I’m so upset at everybody. It’s not just the players. It’s coaches. We’ve got to coach them better and put them in a better position so we don’t give up those big plays. Because otherwise, our game plan, what our thought was, playing as a team, worked. But unfortunately turn the ball over three times and give up huge plays, you just throw all that out the window.”
Gundy was upset at the turnovers and giving up big plays on defense.
“Right, yeah, I mean, I’m not going to try to hide it,” he said after the game. “You can tell by looking at me, and I told the team the same thing. You have to learn to take care of the ball and you have to learn to quit giving up so many big plays on defense. Pretty easy press conference for me.”
OSU finished 12-for-20 on third down conversions. Baylor entered the game ranked 13th-nationally in third-down defense, allowing opponents to convert just 24 percent of the time. There was a lighting delay that began at 6:39 p.m. and ended at 8:15 p.m. It was the second straight week in which OSU dealt with a weather delay.
The Cowboys entered the game ranked third nationally in fumbles recovered and 14th nationally in turnovers gained, leading opponents in points off turnovers, 35-14, on the year. They added one fumble recovery, and one interception against Baylor.
OSU has forced at least one turnover in every game this season and in 14 of its last 15 games. Jordan Burton recorded his first interception of the season and second of his career in the first quarter.