STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) -- Oklahoma State's game against Iowa State provided some bright spots for the struggling Cowboys. What it didn't provide is what was needed most -- a victory.
Aso Pogi, in his first start at quarterback, showed the kind of poise and strong arm that should be encouraging to Oklahoma State fans. He finished with an OSU freshman-record 328 yards and accounted for three touchdowns in the 33-26 loss Saturday night.
"I thought Aso made great decisions, gave us a chance to move the football throwing and running," coach Bob Simmons said.
"I thought he got us in the right plays. For the most part, he got us in the right checks. He's going to be a very good quarterback."
Pogi, who completed eight of his first nine passes, two of them for touchdowns, looked settled from the start and said there was a reason for it.
"I've always thought if you're prepared mentally and physically, you have no butterflies or nervousness," he said. "I didn't really have any nervousness."
Pogi did commit two turnovers, and Iowa State turned them into 10 points. The first came when he fumbled while getting blind-sided. The second was an interception thrown into double coverage in the final two minutes.
That set up the Cyclones' final drive, which ended with a 33-yard touchdown pass with 18 seconds remaining.
That final drive included a breakdown by the Cowboys' defense, which allowed quarterback Sage Rosenfels to scramble for a first down on third-and-10 from the ISU 39-yard line.
"That hurt us, and then we got beat at the end for the touchdown," defensive lineman Zac Warner said. "It just hurts."
Said Simmons: "I told the squad, plays like that, those are the kind of things that you can't do."
But they are the kinds of things the Cowboys (2-4, 0-3 Big 12) have done too often during their four-game losing streak.
In the second quarter, the Cowboys sacked Rosenfels on a third-down play, but a personal foul kept the drive alive. They had two other personal foul penalties, the last one the most costly.
It came in the final two minutes, after Jamaal Fobbs took a short pass from Pogi and ran 47 yards to the Iowa State 39. The Cowboys appeared in good shape for a field goal, but were penalized for excessive celebration. On the next play, Pogi was intercepted.
"The official said he threw the ball way up in the air. That's his call," Simmons said.
"Going down to the wire, you have to be smart -- get up, hand the ball to the official and go about our business."
The Cowboys finished with 460 yards of offense, an improvement over recent weeks. And their 26 points were three more than their total in the previous three games combined.
But the defense gave up 500 yards and continued its practice of giving up big plays. Rosenfels hit several clutch passes and hurt the Cowboys with his running. Tailback Michael Wagner, a gametime replacement for Big 12 rushing leader Ennis Haywood, had 170 yards on 26 carries.
"Are we close? Yes," Simmons said. "It gives us a chance offensively because did have some success. But we need to regroup defensively and see why people are moving the ball on us and why we are not tackling. Those are things I think we need to look at."