Another Saturday is here as we have a full slate of Big 12 football. The race for the conference title continues as there are just three games left in the regular season.
While some teams are still fighting to win the Big 12, others are just trying to become bowl eligible. That is exactly what we saw in Stillwater on Saturday afternoon as Oklahoma State hosted Iowa State.
The Cowboys are coming off back-to-back losses as their conference championship hopes are hanging on by a thread. Meanwhile Iowa State needs to win two more games to become bowl eligible. In this game full of turnovers, Oklahoma State found a way to come out on top 20-14. Here are my three thoughts on their victory.
1. Spencer Sanders Saved the Day for Oklahoma State
I am just going to be completely honest, other than the 83-yard touchdown pass to John Paul Richardson, this offense did nothing with Gunnar Gundy at quarterback. Outside of that play, Gundy was 4/11 for 20 yards and two interceptions. Gunnar ended up getting the start and played for three quarters of the game. Luckily for Oklahoma State fans, Mike Gundy made the decision to let Spencer Sanders finish the game. On just his second drive, Spencer was able to march the offense down the field in eight plays and capped it off with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Jaden Nixon. That score ended up being enough for Oklahoma State to win the game. However, my question is what took so long for him to go in? I understand he was still a little banged up but if he was healthy enough to play the entire fourth quarter then why didn’t he go in sooner or even start the game?
2. Iowa State Had Too Many Turnovers
It doesn’t matter how good of a defense Iowa State has if the offense doesn’t do anything. Plus, it doesn’t help when the offense has a whopping five turnovers on the day. Hunter Dekkers ended up throwing three interceptions and the rest of the offense had two fumbles. Three of their five turnovers happened inside Oklahoma State territory and two out of those three were inside the 25-yard line. The offense had a few chances to capitalize on good field position and they never did. Just when they would start to put a nice drive together, a turnover would happen. This offense should have easily put up at least 30 on this Oklahoma State defense and they just couldn’t get out of their own way on Saturday.
3. What’s Next for These Teams?
This was a huge game for both teams for obvious reasons. Iowa State needed a win on Saturday to get back to a bowl game. They had an opportunity to steal a win in Stillwater and they couldn’t do it. Now they have to beat Texas Tech and TCU to become bowl eligible. I know the defense can do it, but this offense will need to clean things up big time for that to happen.
As for Oklahoma State, this win keeps them in the conference title hunt. They may have three losses, but they can get to the Big 12 title game if they can win out and get some help. The Cowboys need Kansas State to lose two more games and need Kansas, Baylor, and Texas to lose at least one more game. It is a longshot, but anything can happen in this wild conference.