Thanks to an upset loss to No. 9 TCU Saturday, No. 15 Oklahoma State will need some help to make it to the Big 12 Championship this season.
The Cowboys fell to TCU 31-44 in Stillwater to drop to 0-1 in the conference. The top two teams go to the title game and OSU will probably need to win all the rest of its games and hope for some upsets to finish in the top two with this early loss.
OSU coach Mike Gundy didn’t make excuses for the loss to TCU.
“It was really pretty simple,” Gundy said. “When you lose the turnover battle, (you aren’t going to do very well). We didn’t play very smart or very disciplined. And really, we got out-coached. I thought that they had better plans, and their players executed their plans better than we did. In looking at it from the outside without watching the tape, early in the game we made a couple of decisions that weren’t very good and set us behind the eight ball.
“They did a good job with the run. They rushed for about 238 yards. Way too many.
“Offensively, we turned the ball over. We didn’t protect as well as we needed to at times, but (TCU) played really hard.”
OSU was dealing with some key injuries.
“Anytime you have injuries it’s going to make it tougher, but there is a difference between acknowledging that fact and making excuses,” said OSU offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich.
“We as coaches have to say we all own this, and we are gonna get a chance next week to make it a lot better,” said OSU defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer.
It’s not easy to beat OSU in Stillwater.
“Number one, they have a good football team,” said TCU coach Gary Patterson. “Good quarterback, good skill. To come here and beat them is hard to do.
“We knew they were gonna make a surge. When they go fast, and he [Mason Rudolph] gets hot, you gotta maintain him. You’re not gonna stop him. We changed more coverages than I have changed in a while.
“Coach Gundy has really done an unbelievable job here. Fan base here is unbelievable. I love playing here. It’s the first time we won here, and I love playing here.”
“Oklahoma State has a ton of good receivers, but I felt like we were good too on our back end,” said TCU safety Nick Orr. “We have a lot of experience back there, and people that have been doing it for a long time. That really helped out.”
Against TCU, Rudolph set a school record with his fifth consecutive 300-yard passing game, passing Brandon Weeden’s previous record of four that was set in 2011. He became OSU’s all-time leader in total offense, passing Zac Robinson. Rudolph has racked up 10,250 totals yards in his career, surpassing Robinson’s 10,175.
Rudolph threw an 86-yard touchdown pass to James Washington in the first quarter that marked OSU’s longest pass of the season. Rudolph finished with 398 yards and two touchdowns in the game.
James Washington caught six passes for 153 yards and a touchdown and Marcell Ateman caught six passes for 100 yards for OSU.
OSU plays Texas Tech at 7 p.m. Saturday in Lubbock and the game is on FOX.
“We expect our guys to come back (Sunday) with a big smile on their faces,” Gundy said. “We’ll identify where we were deficient in all areas, then we’ll get ready to go back out and play next week out at Tech.”
Last year, the Cowboys won a shootout against Texas Tech, 45-44. in Stillwater. The Red Raiders missed an extra point kick with 1:39 left and OSU got the win.
In that game, OSU quarterback Mason Rudolph passed for 395 yards for two TDs, wideout James Washington caught six passes for 153 yards with one touchdown and running back Justice Hill ran for 126 yards and one score.
The good news is that former Texas Tech quarterback Patrick Mahones now plays for the Kansas City Chiefs. The bad news is that Tech is 3-0 and quarterback Nic Shimonek passed for 321 yards and two scores in a 27-24 upset win over Houston Saturday.
Texas Tech coach Kliff Kingsbury credits better defensive play for his team’s perfect record this season.
“I think it’s consistency in the defensive coordinator position,” Kingsbury said. “That’s something we haven’t had in a long time. All the teams traditionally in the Big 12 who have had success have had long-time defensive coordinators. You have to be able to build that culture and mindset and it looks like we’re heading that way.”
Red Raider defensive coordinator David Gibbs, who has a combined 24 years experience in college and pro football, has been at Texas Tech for three years. Besides Houston, Tech has beaten Eastern Washington and Arizona State this season.
OSU receiver Jalen McCleskey said the Cowboys have to put the TCU loss aside and get ready for a tough Texas Tech team.
“The biggest thing, no matter if we win or lose, is to come in tomorrow, break down the film, correct the mistakes and then head down to Texas Tech and play as hard as we ever have,” McCleskey said.
“We’re ready to win again,” said OSU safety Ramon Richards said. “We’re ready to win. That’s our mindset regardless of any game, whether we win or not. We always come prepared and ready to win.”