Would you have kicked it?
It’s an easy call now having already seen the results but I’m talking about in the moment. On 4th and 2 at the 33 on the first play of the second quarter with a 7 point lead on the road would you have trotted out your kicker to try 50 yard field goal?
Again, this time on 4th and inches from the 15 and the game tied at two touchdowns each, would have the kid that already missed the long one try the chip shot? Or would you have tried to pick up the first down?
Cases can be made for both but it’s the results that either make you brilliant or a coward. Tanner Brown missed both those kicks for Oklahoma State Saturday in a game ultimately lost by 3 points. He had plenty of leg for the long one it just drifted on him. He just plain missed the shorter one.
I’m not knocking the kid. He’s only been the kicker a few weeks and Ames is a tough place to play, especially on Homecoming weekend with 60,000 in attendance.
I’m disappointed in the result of the game (how can those be the only camera angles for that 4th down?!?!) but I’m not mad about calling for the kicks. Not being mad makes me the minority among the Cowboy fans though. “If only Gundy were more aggressive,” they cry! “That’s calling plays scared!” I saw more than one reference that Gundy must’ve left a specific part of his anatomy back in Stillwater.
Had he gone for both times and failed would they have been okay with it? That chip shot, the 33 yarder, if Gundy goes for it there and Sanders misfires or Warren is stopped behind the line would think it was worth it or would you moan “why didn’t we kick it!?”
Going for it on fourth down is exciting but with a game on the line it’s also a risk. Up in Lawrence, Kansas the Sooners only escaped the woeful Jayhawks because their freshmen phenom quarterback Caleb Williams ripped the ball from his own running back’s hands while he was being tackled for a loss and managed to get across the line to gain. Anyone watching that game knew if Kansas got it back they were going to go score against OUs suddenly toothless defense. So did Lincoln Riley and that’s why he didn’t punt it away.
Gundy’s situation was a little different. His defense is good. Iowa State is good offensively but the Cowboys defense made it difficult all game except for a few blown coverages and poorly timed pass interference calls. He wasn’t worried about the Cyclones getting the ball back scoring as much as he was concerned with his own offense’s ability to get back in scoring range against a stout defense of it was facing of its own. Iowa State makes you work for every yard.
It’s easy to say Gundy made the wrong call but it was only wrong because it didn’t work. It’s easy to be a coach from the couch. Just for the record I’d have gone for it instead of kicking the 50 yarder but I for sure would’ve trotted Brown out for the chip shot to retake the lead.
OSU fans need to get over their disappointment and their anger fast. The season isn’t lost yet. Everything you wanted is still there for the taking. Well except for the Playoffs where having Pistol Pete on the side of your helmet doesn’t get you in with a loss unless a lot of crazy things happen with the big brands. The only chance left for that exists but it is slim. It would take winning out and beating an undefeated OU and then beating them again the next weekend. A Herculean task on its own, but then the team would have to overcome the logo bias of the Playoff Commitee. Manage to end the season 12-1 by handing the Sooners their only two losses probably just gets you a trip to play undefeated Cincinnati in a New Years Day bowl outside the playoffs.
The only thing that’s really changed is there’s just no more room for error. Win out and you’re in the Big 12 Championship game. Win them all except Bedlam you probably are too what with you owning the head-to-head with Baylor and the Bears and the Cyclones both still having to play Sooners and Texas. OU may not look like normal OU but they can still beat anyone they play in this league. Same with Texas. Don’t be surprised if Iowa State and Baylor both drop a game to one of those two.
The Oklahoma State schedule has also hit the easy stretch. Kansas will be hungover from the near upset of Oklahoma, and since Oklahoma State can actually play defense it should be an easy win. Texas Tech, TCU, and West Virginia can’t be over looked but with the best defense in the league (other than their own) behind them now and the offense in finally getting back to full strength the Pokes should be favored in, and win, every game until the Bedlam showdown.
It’s been a remarkable season! OSU crawled into the top ten after starting out the season unranked and should be back up there before Bedlam. This team is capable of playing in its first Big 12 Championship game and winning its second. It’s hard to go undefeated in college football, especially as a non-blue blood. Even the Cowboys best team ever in 2011 couldn’t get it done (seriously what’s your problem, Iowa State?).
So shake it off. There’s plenty to cheer for still in Stillwater!