Bedlam loss bitter pill to swallow for Cowboys
STILLWATER On a night with so many big plays, it was one in the early moments of Saturday's Bedlam battle that was an telling sign of just what type of night it was going to be for Oklahoma State University's football team.
After witnessing scoring plays on seemingly every possession, this was one strange play was a touchdown that didn't stick and instead of taking the early momentum and getting the huge orange-clad crowd even more involved, the Cowboys blew a golden opportunity and that turned out to be one of many wild happenings in a 62-52 Oklahoma victory at Boone Pickens Stadium.
It will be a bitter pill for OSU quarterback Mason Rudolph to accept after seeing his close friend Baker Mayfield outplay him on national television and take a huge step toward winning the Heisman.
Mayfield sure didn't start the game well, though, throwing an interception on a third-and-11 play at the OU 24 on the first series of the game.
Needing to go just 28 yards to score, Rudolph and the Cowboys seemed to get the touchdown on a nice Justice Hill run but a holding call wiped that score off the board and after that they couldn't pierce the OU defense, settling for a 29-yard Matt Ammendola field goal.
Then the Sooners apparently made a huge mistake on the next series deep in their own territory when Abdul Adams fumbled after catching a short pass in the left flat. OSU's Calvin Bundage scooped it up and stepped into the end zone as the crowd went wild.
Almost as quickly, the crowd went silent as the replay relay man came on the field, signaling the officiating crew something was amiss. After a lengthy debate upstairs, the replay official said Adams didn't have control and wiped out the fumble and ensuing score.
"It was a heckuva game; I just wish we would have made a few more plays," Gundy said after the hard-fought game. "They just made a couple of plays late and we didn't. It's pretty simple.
"The start, that was what I meant by weird plays. We have a holding call on that first drive but you can call holding almost on every play. That hurt; we needed to score a touchdown there.
"Then came the one they reversed and that was weird. I thought the guy was changing the ball from one hand to the other, but they thought otherwise. That was huge. We get that one . . . football is a game of momentum, we get that one and you never know. We our chance and didn't make plays."
To make the start even worse, after OU punted, the Cowboys were unable to move the ball, punting it right back to the Sooners at their own 29.
As a sign of what was to come, Mayfield took the Sooners 71 yards on just four plays in 1:19, capping the drive by hitting Dimitri Flowers for a 49-yard scoring strike.
Suddenly, even though the Cowboys had two fruitless possessions and another that produced just three points, the Sooners had the lead and that seemed to start an endless offensive display that shattered so many records that both sports information staffs were checking their record books throughout the game.
The bottom line, though, was rather simple to explain; Mayfield simply outplayed Rudolph, ending his Heisman hopes and the Cowboys' hopes of making the national playoffs.
Of course, at 7-2 and 4-2 in the Big 12, there is still plenty for the Cowboys to play for this season but after the heartbreaking loss, will be hard to get OSU ready for next week's road game at Iowa State.
"Like I told the guys, this is college football and we have to forget this one, come back for practice tomorrow and get ready for the next one," he said. "I told them, when you put yourself into position where games really matter, losses like this really hurt.
"I told the guys to take their food, spend time with their family or sit around their apartment or house, then come back tomorrow ready to practice. That's what we do."
While the Cowboys did overcome that sluggish start and eventually tie the game at 38-all at halftime, it was Mayfield who just kept finding ways to get the Sooners into the end zone.
All total he completed 24 of 36 passes for 598 yards and five touchdowns. His scoring passes were from 49, 5, 84, 43, and 77 yards.
"I love good football players, so I respect 6 (Mayfield) but I am glad he's a senior," Gundy said. "He's a really good player. It's frustrating that we didn't do a better job at times defensively but he just finds a way to make plays.