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Postgame Reaction: Oklahoma State Cowboys

K-State fought to the end, but couldn't find a way to stop the Oklahoma State offense in the fourth quarter of a 52-45 loss in Stillwater.

The most painful thing about the loss to the Cowboys was knowing that K-State was so close to a win, and knowing how important that win would have been. With the victory, K-State would have been very much alive in the Big 12 championship race. As a one-loss team with a split over the other two contenders, K-State would have had real hope of forging a three-way tie if it could manage wins over Texas A&M, Texas and Iowa State down the stretch. No guarantee, that, but it would have been nice to have a chance.

While none of us are going to count last night as a moral victory, especially given the atrocious defensive coaching we are forced to put up with, you can't help but be encouraged by the effort K-State showed last night. Hit the jump for what I liked, what I didn't like, what it means and where we're going, and the Big 12 roundup.

What I liked...

...a warrior's effort from Collin Klein. I don't know how Klein does it. He carried the ball 27 times and was sacked twice. Every defender on every team is out to get every hit they can possibly get on him, knowing that he's a running quarterback and a huge part of K-State's offense. Klein ends up bleeding and bruised, takes cheap shots, and still somehow gets the job done. Excluding sacks, he carried the ball 27 times for 156 yards and three more touchdowns. Klein also had a career night throwing the ball, connecting on 22 of 38 passes for 231 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

...K-State showing the ability to bounce back from an early deficit, again. It sucks to see this team constantly get in 14-0 holes and have to fight from behind all the time, but the fact that they manage to get back into these games is impressive. When Allen Chapman took Brandon Weeden's pass to the house for a 24-14 K-State lead, we had the Cowboys on the ropes. The fact that we were even in that position is impressive.

...another big game for Tyler Lockett. The freshman from Oklahoma had one touchdown on three receptions, 84 rushing yards, and 193 return yards, including one he almost broke for a touchdown.

...a lot of fight from all the players on defense. All the players on the defensive line fought hard all night long, but any decent offensive line is going to be able to hold off a four-man rush most of the time. Arthur Brown was all over the field, as usual. In the secondary, David Garrett continues his work as the hardest-hitting 5'8" cornerback in the country, Nigel Malone just about had another interception and fought with Justin Blackmon, and NFL-ready wide receiver, all night long, and Allen Chapman took a Weeden interception to the house. The effort and the talent is there. The scheme is not.

What I didn't like...

...another 500-yard passing game for an opposing quarterback. I get it, Brandon Weeden is good. He has incredible weapons all over the field. But he's not averaging 500 passing yards per game. He's not even averaging 400. Before last night, Weeden was averaging 338 passing yards per game. And yet K-State still figured out a way to allow 500 passing yards. That's more than 1,000 passing yards given up in the past two games, and K-State is now 117th in the country in passing defense and 96th in pass efficiency defense.

...falling behind early, again. This was already mentioned above, but the coaches have to figure out some way to have the players ready to go right out of the gate. K-State went fumble-punt on its first two drives of the game, and immediately found itself staring at a 14-0 deficit. To this team's undying credit, it found a way to fight back, but it would be so much easier if it didn't have to overcome such deficits.

...not running the ball on first and goal from the OSU five-yard line with 12 seconds remaining. Klein was killing Okie State with the QB draw and the option and, with one timeout remaining, we had plenty of time to try a running play at that point. Especially that close to the goal line, I like K-State's odds of getting into the end zone running the ball over throwing it. If we had chosen to run it there and come up short, take a timeout and we probably have at least one and maybe two more chances. Plus, if we had moved the ball down to the one- or two-yard line, we could have tried to run it again, even without a timeout.

What it means and where we're going

Unfortunately, this loss puts us out of the conference championship race. That was still a long shot anyway, but it 's always a nice dream to keep alive.

This loss brings up a crucial game next weekend in Manhattan when Texas A&M comes to town. The Aggies are coming off a loss to Oklahoma similar to that suffered by K-State at the hands of the Sooners. At 5-4 (3-3 Big 12 Conference), the Aggies have seen their dreams of a conference championship and BCS bowl appearance disappear in their last Big 12 go-round. Word broke today that A&M's leading rusher, Christine Michael, is out for the season with a torn ACL. The Aggies are ripe for an uninspired performance in Manhattan.

Here's a look at how K-State's non-conference opponents fared last weekend:

  • Eastern Kentucky: The Colonels came away with a 52-48 victory over No. 18 Jacksonville State on Saturday, running their record to 6-3 overall and 5-1 in Ohio Valley Conference play.
  • Kent State: Those who were bored or at a sports bar on Friday night could have caught the Golden Flashes' 24-21 win over Central Michigan. The win was Kent State's third on the season.
  • Miami: The 'Canes destroyed worthless Duke, 49-14. Miami is still one win shy of bowl eligibility.

Big 12 Roundup

Texas 52, Texas Tech 20

With a K-State road game at night, I actually got a chance to watch some of the other Big 12 action this weekend. From 11:00 until about 2:30, that meant this game, which really wasn't much of a game. Texas continued Tech's miserable stretch of football since knocking off Oklahoma in Norman, making everyone wonder how the Red Raiders ever pulled off such a win. Texas ran for 439 yards on the day. That's not a misprint. The Longhorns outrushed Tech by 409 yards, sacked Seth Doege four times, and threw only nine passes on the day. Congratulations, Texas, now you know what it feels like to win a game like the one you lost in Manhattan last year. Next weekend, Texas travels to Missouri for its final conference matchup with the Tigers, while Texas Tech welcomes the Oklahoma State house of pain to Lubbock.

Iowa State 13, KU 10

I caught a little of this one on the radio while running errands on Saturday, and that was enough to convince me not to bother tuning in for any more. My dreaded scenario has come to pass, as Iowa State now has five wins on the year and almost certainly won't get another one before it comes to Manhattan on December 3, as the Cyclones play Oklahoma State and Oklahoma the next two weeks. With a motivator like Paul Rhoads and a bunch of fired-up Iowa farmboys coming to town, Bill Snyder will have to have the troops ready. OK, have I written enough here without actually talking much about this abomination of a football game? Good, let's move on.

Oklahoma 41, Texas A&M 25

This game ended up much closer than it really was. Just like the weekend before in Manhattan, and in front of the same broadcasters, the Sooners turned a 13-10 halftime lead into a 41-10 lead 15 minutes later. Texas A&M scored two meaningless touchdowns in the fourth quarter to put a little lipstick on the pig. The real shame of this one was the loss of OU's Ryan Broyles and A&M's Christine Michael to ACL tears. A&M's rushing attack totaled only 148 yards against the Sooners, and it will be without Michael, its leading rusher, next weekend in Manhattan. Of course, the Aggies still have Ryan Tannehill, 32-63-3 for 379 yards and two TD and his two favorite targets, Ryan Swope (eight receptions, 149 yards and one TD), and Jeff Fuller (six receptions, 54 yards). Oklahoma is off next weekend.

Baylor 42, Missouri 39

I was so wrapped up in K-State's game with Oklahoma State that I woke up on Sunday morning not even knowing who had won this one. My wife asked me who won, and given that I had seen Mizzou was leading in the second quarter, I assumed they had won. Never underestimate the power of this year's Missouri team to be unpredictable in the extreme, as the defense gave up 697 total yards to Baylor. Just like the game in Manhattan, Mizzou came alive in the fourth quarter, scoring 25 points in the final stanza. Even with that, the Tigers were never closer than 10 until their last touchdown with less than two minute remaining. Robert Griffin III got back on track for Baylor, throwing for 406 yards and three touchdowns with zero interceptions. Kendall Wright didn't have a huge game, but Tevin Reese ably stepped in, catching seven passes for 163 yards and a touchdown. Terrance Ganaway ran circles around Missouri to the tune of 186 yards on 12 carries. James Franklin (33-46-0 for 325 yards and three TDs) and Henry Josey (15 carries, 132 yards and two TDs) had excellent games for Missouri, but it wasn't enough to keep up with Baylor. Missouri gets a chance to get its second win over Texas since 1931 next Saturday, while Baylor will pick up its obligatory win over KU.