The Oklahoma State Cowboys are the real deal. And you saw it play out on both sides of the ball on Saturday afternoon in Stillwater as the Pokes beat their toughest opponent of the season thus far, the Iowa State Cyclones 24-21.
The score looked closer than the game felt down the stretch as the Cyclones put together a final drive in (relative) garbage time that went 83 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown when Oklahoma State was up two scores. If you take that drive out of the equation, Iowa State was held to 307 total yards all afternoon as Brock Purdy was feeling pressure most of the afternoon. Purdy, who some pundits consider to be an NFL-caliber QB, was held to 19/34 for 162 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
But the game wasn’t always going in Oklahoma State’s favor. In fact, the Cyclones jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first quarter after a Mike Rose interception of Spencer Sanders in OSU territory turned into a Brock Purdy 11-yard run.
But then it was Oklahoma State scoring 14-straight points on a 34-yard touchdown pass from Sanders to Jelani Woods, followed by a Chuba Hubbard 32-yard score in the second quarter that put the Pokes up seven, a lead they took into halftime.
But Iowa State then turned to running back Breece Hall, who put up the first points of the second half with a 66-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 14.
But the Pokes responded right away, going 67 yards in just four plays, as Sanders ran it from 14 yards out into the right corner of the end zone as the Cowboys never looked back from there on their way to a 24-21 victory.
Iowa State kicker Connor Assaley did miss two field goals in the first half from 48 and 33 yards that that came back to bite the Cyclones in defeat. He was five of six on field goals coming into this game..
Sanders was playing in his first game since suffering an ankle injury in the season opener vs. Tulsa. There were rumblings, coming from head coach Mike Gundy himself, that the Pokes were considering going with a two-QB system with Sanders and true freshman Shane Illingworth. That turned out to not be the case, and it was the right call.
Sanders finished 20/29 for 235 yards, with one touchdown, plus 15 carries for 71 yards and a score. Sanders did throw two interceptions on the day, which were his lone blemishes.
The Pokes defense had Purdy running for his life all afternoon., and while Breece Hall had a big day, with 185 yards on 20 carries, but the passing game was unable to compliment Hall. Iowa State was forced into five-straight punts in the second half.
The Cowboys played, by far, their toughest opponent on the schedule thus far, and their first game in three weeks after last week’s game vs. Baylor was postponed (Bears’ COVID-19 issues), and put together a complete performance against the No. 17 Cyclones.
The Pokes are now 4-0 and 3-0 in Big 12 play, tied for first place with the Kansas State Wildcats, who rolled KU earlier.
The Cowboys host Texas next weekend, while Iowa State (3-2, 3-1) travels to play the Kansas Jayhawks.
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