It was the only Top 25 showdown in the Big 12 Conference in Week 7 and it sure did live up to the hype. The Oklahoma State Cowboys went to Austin and after trailing 17-3, the Pokes came back and beat the Texas Longhorns 32-24. This game will go a long way in determining who is going to be playing for a Big 12 Championship at AT&T Stadium in Arlington in December.
Here are three thoughts on the Oklahoma State victory.
1. The Defense Won the Game for Oklahoma State
The Longhorns were averaging nearly 500 yards per game coming into this game, but they were held to 317 yards by the Cowboys defense. And while Bijan Robinson still had a good day in the box score, with 135 rushing yards and two touchdowns, he slowed down as the game progressed, as the Cowboys gave up just seven points in the second half, including pitching a shut out in the fourth quarter. In fact, Oklahoma State held Texas to just six total yards in the fourth quarter. The game felt like it shifted in favor of Oklahoma State permanently after a huge hit by Malcolm Rodriguez against Casey Thompson, that required Hudson Card to come in briefly at QB.
As the competition continues to improve, the Oklahoma State defense keeps proving that it is the real deal. Coordinator Jim Knowles deserves so much more credit than he gets outside of Stillwater.
2. Texas’ Second-Straight Collapse
One week after the Longhorns blew the biggest lead in Red River Rivalry history at 21 points, they blew a 17-3 lead on Saturday against the Cowboys. Texas scored just seven points in the second half.
For whatever reason, Steve Sarkisian isn’t making the second-half adjustments that his opponents are making and it showed against both Oklahoma programs the past two weeks. The offense was humming right along early in the game as Casey Thompson was looking sharp through the air, while Bijan Robinson was doing his thing on the ground.
But then the second half happened and it all started to unravel. After scoring a touchdown on their first drive, the Longhorns didn’t get another first down the rest of the game. Yes, you read that right. Texas had three-straight three and outs, then a turnover on downs, followed by an interception to end the game.
3. A Huge Shift in the Big 12 Race
A strong case can be made that Oklahoma State deserves to be the favorite in the Big 12 Conference right now. Their schedule has been solid thus far, and big wins over Baylor and Texas have been really impressive, including the latter on the road on Saturday. Defense travels, which is something Mike Gundy hasn’t been able to say, at least not to this level, during his head coaching career.
There are still concerns with Spencer Sanders and the play calling (can Kasey Dunn not call fade routes for a quarterback that isn’t that accurate?). And yes, the red zone offense was not good until late in the game. But still, it is wide open in the Big 12 this season, and given what the Pokes are proving every weekend, why not them? The defense combined with Jaylen Warren, who we haven’t even discussed and had himself 193 rushing yards, is a recipe to win the Big 12 this season.