No. 25 Colorado 22, Oklahoma St. 19

Sunday, October 28th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) _ After hurting itself with mistakes much of the game, No. 25 Colorado found a way to avoid a second straight disappointing loss.

The Buffaloes rallied in the second half Saturday night to beat Oklahoma State 22-19, one week after a 41-7 loss to Texas that coach Gary Barnett said left his team embarrassed.

Colorado (6-2, 4-1 Big 12) overcame 13 penalties, the loss of quarterback Craig Ochs and a number of missed chances to keep alive hopes of winning the Big 12 North Division title.

``God can only count how many mistakes we made today, but we survived it,'' Barnett said. ``You need to have a little luck along the way. Our luck and how hard we played gave us a three-point win.''

Ochs, who missed the Texas game with concussion-related symptoms, left in the second quarter after apparently injuring his foot. His replacement, Bobby Pesavento, wound up directing two second-half touchdown drives that erased a 19-7 deficit.

The game-winner came on a 21-yard pass to Daniel Graham with 5:54 remaining. The Buffaloes were hit with two unsportsmanlike conduct penalties after the touchdown, making the line of scrimmage the 33-yard line for the 2-point try. But Derek McCoy got open behind the coverage to catch the conversion pass.

Oklahoma State (2-6, 0-5) had the ball twice after that, but one drive ended with an interception and the other ended on downs.

``We challenged this team, we went after 'em hard this week and they responded. They played their butts off,'' coach Les Miles said after his team's fourth straight loss.

``We come to win. There's no second-place prize. It's very disappointing.''

The game-winning touchdown drive started after the Buffaloes had stuffed a running play up the middle on fourth-and-1 from the Colorado 34. Bobby Purify then carried three times for 42 yards to move the ball to the OSU 24, and two plays later Pesavento found Graham.

Pesavento wound up 15-of-20 for 180 yards. Purify had 109 yards on 23 carries.

``That kid has really fought hard for us the last two games, in some tough situations, too,'' Barnett said of Pesavento. ``He just keeps coming through for us.''

Colorado had closed to 19-14 on Marcus Houston's 16-yard touchdown run on the final play of the third quarter. It wouldn't have happened if Pesavento had not bowled over would-be tacklers to gain 16 yards on a third-and-15 scramble earlier in the drive.

Colorado, trailing 16-7 at halftime, started the second half by driving to the Oklahoma State 4, but came up short on a fourth-and-1 play. The Cowboys then used runs of 26 and 17 yards by Tatum Bell, and a 38-yard pass from split end John Wohlgemuth to John Lewis, to set up a short field goal that made it 19-7.

Colorado's first touchdown came on a 74-yard pass from Ochs to Matt Brunson, who ran through a tackle just across midfield and then went the distance. The play ended a drive that began at the 1-yard line _ Ochs had kept it alive with an 18-yard completion to Derek McCoy on a third-and-5 play from the 6.

The Cowboys drove 85 yards in the second quarter to tie the score at7. The big plays were a 39-yard completion from Aso Pogi to John Lewis and a 27-yarder to Rashaun Woods, both on third down.

The completion to Woods put the ball at the 1-yard line and Bell scored on the next play.

The Cowboys took the lead moments later when a snap sailed over the head of punter Mark Mariscal and through the end zone for a safety. Then just before halftime, linebacker Dwayne Levels intercepted a fluttering pass and returned it 57 yards for a touchdown. Pesavento was hit as he threw.

The Buffaloes could have been closer at halftime, but Jeremy Flores missed field-goal tries from 35 and 39 yards.