OSU Football: Cowboy grades against Iowa State
Oklahoma State scored a 38-31 come-from-behind victory over Iowa State, and the grades reflect an up-and-down afternoon for the Cowboys.
Clock management: D
The only reason that the grade isn’t an F is because neither half ended in disaster – and both could have. With only a couple seconds remaining in the first half, the OSU defense came up with a third-down sack, but instead of letting the clock run out, Cowboy coaches took a timeout. In theory, they wanted Iowa State to punt and give them a chance for a return, but the Cyclones could’ve easily opted for a Hail Mary. Extremely low risk. But the Cyclones gave the Cowboys an out by taking a knee. Then at the end of the game when OSU got the ball back with 1:48 left, the Cowboys tried to run out the clock by taking a knee three times. Instead, they were forced to punt with 20 seconds left. In the end, Iowa State had two snaps, but OSU was able to stop it both times.
Play Calling: C
Lots of head-scratching plays called for the OSU offense. Cowboy coach Mike Gundy said after the game that at least one — a fourth-down pass to little-used Britton Abbott was his call — so who knows what was called by him and what was called by offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich. But the Cowboys went run-heavy on first and second downs early. Ten of their first 16 first- or second-down plays were runs, and it led to three of their first four possessions ending in punts. But in the second half, Yurcich and Gundy got the ball to their playmakers. On the four second-half possessions that ended in scores, there was a heavy dose of Jalen McCleskey, James Washington and Justice Hill.
ZACH SINOR: A
The Cowboy punter may have earned a permanent spot in the report card. He continues to be outstanding and deserves some attention for it. He punted nine times, which is more than the Cowboys would’ve liked against the Cyclones, but he averaged 40.4 yards a punt and had five punts inside the 20. That included his final punt of the game, one that pinned Iowa State at its own 10-yard line with only 14 seconds left.
ORANGE BLOODS: D
Sorry, OSU fans, you’re faltering this season. The announced attendance of 53,239 was nice, but after halftime, that number was cut by at least a third. Thousands of fans left and didn’t come back. It’s a trend — and it really doesn’t make any sense. Saturday was a beautiful day, so no need to head home to get out of the elements. What’s more, the Cowboys were in a barn-burner of a game, but still, fans bolted. Kudos to those who stayed, but this trend of the halftime exodus just isn’t a good look.
DEFENSIVE FRONT: A
Iowa State quarterbacks Joel Lanning and Jacob Park did some damage on the ground, combining to rush for 66 yards, but the Cowboy defense also did some damage to them. OSU rolled up seven sacks and batted a couple of passes at the line of scrimmage. The Cowboys just missed on a couple big plays, including a safety in the first half, but all told, they contained the Cyclone quarterbacks.