OSU-Texas Notebook: Cowboys’ Comeback is Historic

October 16, 2021

Oklahoma State pulled off a gritty comeback win over Texas, moving the Cowboys to 6-0 on the season and taking the Longhorns out of the Big 12 title race as things currently sit. The following notebook will serve as a living record of the ups, downs and twists and turns from Saturday’s upset in Austin.

• The Cowboys’ defense got all it could handle on the first drive, with Bijan Robinson cutting through the middle of the defense for 59 of UT’s 75 yards and a touchdown. OSU had UT to a third-and-7 deep in their territory and then third-and-goal, the Longhorns converted both. This will be a long game if OSU’s offense can’t keep up with the ‘Horns.

• Tay Martin laid out for what would have been a huge first play for OSU’s offense, but couldn’t hang on. On third-and-9, Warren draw play comes up just short. He might have gotten 8.75 yards. Cowboys go three-and-out on opening drive, down 7-0.

• OSU pushed the Longhorns back and had a huge third-down stop that had the Horns punting from the back of their end zone, but a block in the back on Presley’s return meant a UT 45 start turned into one on the OSU 45.

• One helluva tackle.

• Another three-and-out saved by UT horse collar tackle, the Cowboys finally started cooking with big plays from Warren (14 yards) and Martin (20).

• But then Spencer had Tay for a TD in the end zone, but he couldn’t hang on to it. That’s two big catches he couldn’t reel in so far.

• OSU had UT to a third-and-6, but Thompson found Marcus Johnson for 58 yards. UT is 3-for-3 on third downs. OSU was able to finally get a stop on third down when a ball was hauled in out of bounds. UT FG makes it 10-3.

• A nice throw-and-catch to Tay Martin is erased thanks to a holding call on Josh Sills. OSU’s O-line having trouble with UT’s pass rush so far. Let’s hope the Tay what-ifs don’t become a major storyline.

• Another third-and-long (11), Sanders had no where to go thanks to Texas blitz, has to throw it away. OSU is now 1-for-4 on third down. Texas doing much better (3-for-5) on the money down against OSU’s top-rated third-down D.

• And then OSU holds Texas to a three-and-out on the next drive. Offense needs to find the end zone here. OSU doesn’t feel like a team built to come back in the second half.

• Braden Cassity’s late shove puts the Cowboys far behind the chains. Second-and-26. Cannot afford those lapses.

• Everything I love about Jaylen Warren in one play.

• Spencer Sanders in one play.

• Bijan. That’s the note.

• Been a sloppy game both ways. Both teams have combined for eight penalties early in the second quarter.

• Make that nine, Jarrick Bernard-Converse picks up a PI.

• Malcolm Rodriguez gets to Thompson in the backfield, but a second too late. He finds Bijan who now has a TD on the ground and through the air, 17-3 Texas.

• Now would be a good time for a TD drive if OSU can muster one. Warren adds another tough run, but Sanders was high on a throw to Rashod Evans.

• And then he does it again. Sanders throws an ugly interception right to D’Shawn Jamison.

• And then Jason Taylor II puts the Pokes right back in it. I don’t know if there’s a player I can remember who is in the right place at the right time more often.

• Then the Cowboys force another three-and-out thanks to a Malcolm Rodriguez sack. Pokes’ defense keeping them in it.

• Jaylen Warren missed a wide open hole to the right, bounces left and picks up no game. OSU back in third-and-long and elects to call timeout. This is a huge possession. OSU can tie it going into the half, and they’ll get the ball to start the third.

• Weird end of the half management for OSU, opting to kick a field goal but needlessly leaving time on the clock. Fortunately it didn’t cost the Cowboys. OSU pulls within 17-13 and gets the ball back to start the third.

Second Half

• After a decent return by Dominic Richardson, OSU gets started by Sanders finding Braden Cassity for a nice pass-and-catch to beat UT’s blitz. Sanders almost throws his second INT of the game and then is flushed out of the pocket and has to throw it away on the next play. Sanders under A LOT of pressure so far, and it’s showing. Another three-and-out for the Pokes.

• Meanwhile, the Longhorns marched right down the field on a five-play TD drive. Bijan has 120 yards and three total scores. UT up 24-13. The Cowboys have got to figure out how to sustain a drive or Texas might run away with this one.

• Joel Klatt just pointed out that OSU is the only FBS team yet to score in a third quarter this year. That’s astounding, and it’s not changing on this possession. OSU starts out the second half with consecutive three-and-outs.

• OSU’s defense bows up and forces its own three-play drive, and UT punts it from the end zone. OSU drive to start in Texas territory. Cowboys can’t keep coming up empty on these opportunities This is like the fifth possession that feels like a must-score for the Pokes. At some point, they’re going to get buried.

• OSU is constantly in third-and-long.

• Pokes get bailed out of another three-and-out with a roughing the passer call, but quickly find themselves in third-and-11.

• Then Dominic Richardson did this.

• OSU did break it’s third quarter scoreless streak but once again had to settle for 3 points instead of 6. Not sustainable.

• Malcolm Rodriguez ROCKED Casey Thompson, causing the Texas QB to come out for a play.

• The Cowboys received a punt to start the fourth quarter and finally were able to string enough positive plays together to sustain a drive of at least four minutes and, more importantly, paid it off with a TD connection between Spencer Sanders and Brennan Presley. (At 4:37, it ended up being OSU’s longest drive of the day.)

• OSU went for 2 and came up short, but we’ve got a ball game. 24-22 Texas.

• Collin Oliver is going to be a star. All-Big 12 is his floor.

• The Cowboys go for back-to-back trick plays and the second would have worked if Presley found Sanders on the double pass. Maybe Gundy will illustrate Brennan’s footwork issues in the postgame.

• Jaylen Warren is the engine for this offense, when it is running. He’s outplaying Bijan.

• Cowboys settle for another field goal, but this one completes the comeback. OSU takes its first lead at 25-24 with 4:37 remaining. Gundy is gonna lean on his defense and run game and just win this dang thing, isn’t he?

• Yes, he is. Cowboys turn over Texas on downs. Just got to sustain a drive here.

• How about a touchdown instead. Texas might have let Sanders in to save a timeout, but the home team is against the ropes and the clock is ticking.

• And an INT by Tanner McCalister should seal it. This defense has been impressive in the second half. Jeez. What kind of team would OSU have if the offense could put together consecutive quarters?

• Welp.

• Now that OSU is 6-0, it’s time to start looking down the schedule for the second half of the season. I’m not super confident in this offense, but Jim Knowles’ group covers up a lot of sins.

Here’s what it looks like:

at Iowa State
at West Virginia
at Texas Tech

Let’s not get too ahead of ourselves, but that’s a run of winnable games heading into Bedlam. OSU has already beaten two of the top five teams in the league and is in the driver’s seat for a trip to Arlington.

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