3 Cowboys Takeaways: OSU Finds Its Way To Arlington With 2OT Win Over BYU

The Cowboys are Arlington-bound after an 18-point comeback and a double-overtime victory over BYU that saw Ollie Gordon II run for five touchdowns. Here are your 3 Cowboys Takeaways.

Sunday, November 26th 2023, 6:56 pm

By: Drake Johnson


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The path to Arlington for Oklahoma State was clear on Saturday; win and you're in. But getting to that point for OSU, especially after games on Sept. 16, 23, and notably, Nov. 11, is one of the more improbable runs to Big 12 championship weekend for any team since the rebirth of the series in 2017, and maybe even the nation for a power 5 school.

Circumstances change ever so fast in college football nowadays, just like it did during the Cowboys' game Saturday.

The 'boys pulled off the third-largest comeback in school history, 18 points, to clinch a trip to Arlington for the second time in three seasons.

Fans are overjoyed, as they should be. What a regular season it's been. Takeaways from a dismal game against South Alabama include "2-0 was a mirage" and "poor coaching, poor execution."

The Sun Belt squad that finished 6-6 this year ran OSU off their own field in September, 33-7. That wasn't all.

A week later, Iowa State quarterback outplayed newly-named starter Alan Bowman and the Cyclones won 34-27. The lowest of lows for the season.

Then, circumstances changed. Oklahoma State Head Coach Mike Gundy stuck with a quarterback, changed the offensive philosophy and decided to feed Ollie Gordon. It worked magnificently.

A five-game win streak that ended with a Bedlam victory over Oklahoma put the Cowboys back on the Big 12 map this season.

A week later, doubt crept back in.

"Trip To Florida Ends With Nightmare 45-3 Loss To UCF" was the 3 Cowboys Takeaway headline on Nov. 11.

It ended up being irrelevant. OSU flirted with both Houston and BYU in the last weeks of the season but prevailed in dramatic fashion.

Now, OSU has its sights set on the Big 12 Championship trophy and the chance to knock Texas out of the College Football Playoff conversation.


1st Takeaway: Another Ugly Start

Oklahoma State hasn't held a lead at halftime since the Bedlam game, which is a problem worth fixing come this weekend.

The deficit to UCF was too big to overcome but manageable against Houston and BYU.

It wasn't as disastrous as it was previously, and the Cowboys were actually up 6-0 early on.

The offense was unable to punch it in the endzone either time during the first possessions, so two Hale field goals were crucial.

BYU took advantage of the defensive stops and put together a 9-play, 73-yard touchdown drive to take the lead.

The second quarter was all Cougars. A pair of touchdowns and a last-minute field goal put BYU up 24-6 at the break.

To open his postgame press conference, Mike Gundy addressed that.

"We sure make it hard on ourselves to get where we want to go," Gundy said.

Oklahoma State vs BYU - Nov. 26, 2023Image Provided By: Associated Press

2nd Takeaway: Gordon Grinds In The 2nd Half

The nation's leading rusher by nearly 100 yards, Ollie Gordon II has saved the Cowboys time and time again this season.

Saturday was one for the books, even without the two overtime touchdowns.

In poor weather, Gordon had 34 carries, 166 yards and FIVE touchdowns.

It's become normal for the star running back, the insane stat lines, the backbreaking runs, and now, a game on the national stage against Texas.

This season he has 1,580 rushing yards according to ESPN. The OSU Cowboy Football account said he's gone over 100 in eight of the last nine games.

His offensive counterparts were also impressive against BYU, especially Leon Johnson and quarterback Alan Bowman when it mattered.

John Holcomb reports that Johnson came to Stillwater with plans on redshirting, but injuries stacked up and now he's a difference-maker on the field.

He had 9 catches for 132 yards against BYU, reeling everything in that Bowman threw his way.

"Coaches did a great job adjusting at halftime and the players grabbed the information and took it out there," Gundy said.

On what should have been OSU's game-winning touchdown drive, he had two crucial catches for 13 and 21 yards.

Bowman didn't have his best showing but made plays when needed. Two interceptions, including a bad pick-6, dug the hole deeper for OSU but he settled down and made tough throws in rainy weather to keep Big 12 Championship hopes alive.

It'll have to be a perfect showing next week to take the trophy.


3rd Takeaway: Defensive Strip Sends OSU To Arlington

If it weren't for a blocked extra point on the go-ahead touchdown, this game would have been over in regulation.

The BYU offense executed a perfect drive to get in field goal range and Will Ferrin drilled a 48-yard kick right down the middle to send it to OT.

The road team, as an underdog in overtime rarely pulls out the win.

Oklahoma State vs. BYU - Nov. 25, 2023Image Provided By: Associated Press

That Ferrin field goal was the only point of the second half for BYU, they gave it their all but there was nothing left in the tank after that.

They used the OT momentum to punch in a score on the first possession but easily gave up scores to Gordon on the next drives for the Cowboys.

I say easily, but this last one where he cut back across the field is one of his top highlights of the season. He didn't seem fatigued at all as he dove over the goal line.

In double overtime, a score for BYU with a two-point conversion would win it. The Cowboys defense needed a stop or turnover now more than ever, and they answered the call.

Trey Rucker swarmed the BYU receiver near the sideline after a catch, held him up as he fought for more yards and ripped the ball out of his hands. He recovered the ball himself, sending Boone Pickens Stadium into a frenzy after a lengthy review confirmed the fumble recovery.

"A guy like Rucker that's been around the program and decided to become a leader, works hard, plays hard, competes and in the end.. the drill we work on that all the time (stripping the ball out) and it ends the game," Gundy said. "Couldn't be more proud of him."

BYU could taste victory but Rucker ripped away from them.

UP NEXT: vs. Texas in Arlington for the Big 12 Championship at 11 a.m.

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