OSU report card: Cowboy defense gets high marks in upset of Iowa State
Oklahoma State’s 34-27 upset of Iowa State was an entertaining game, with lots of first-half big plays on offense and crucial fourth-quarter big plays on defense. The grades reflect an inspired victory:
Pass coverage: A
Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy dropped back to pass 65 times, and the Cyclones produced 373 yards on those plays, with 20 incompletions and three interceptions. ISU produced only three pass plays longer than 20 yards, none longer than 27. Few Cyclone receivers ran free, and several made catches despite blanket coverage. OSU was credited with 11 pass breakups, including a school record six by Kolby Harvell-Peel. Plus the interceptions by Malcolm Rodriguez, Amen Ogbongbemiga and Tre Sterling. Outstanding day of pass defense.
Offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson had a solid day. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles had an even better day. Gleeson set up sideline screens that became big plays — a 71-yard touchdown by Tylan Wallace and a 50-yard touchdown by Braydon Johnson — primarily because the Cyclones’ rovers were pinching in to help against Chuba Hubbard runs. And in the third quarter, OSU sprang a two-back set for the first time all game, igniting the Cowboys’ most sustained drive of the game, to a field goal. Knowles’ gameplan was even better. He put in a variety of blitzes and fake blitzes that kept Purdy off balance most of the game. Israel Antwine had a sack, and Mike Scott and Cameron Murray shared a sack. OSU also had five other quarterback hurries. And the disguised blitzes paid off late, setting up Rodriguez’s interception.
Gundy decision-making: C
The Cowboys faced fourth-and-1 from their own 32-yard line early in the third quarter, and Mike Gundy ordered a trick formation, with the punt team trotting out, but fullback Dayton Metcalf lined up under center. Instead of snapping the ball, OSU tried to draw the Cyclones offsides and wound up calling a timeout, then punting. Then leading 34-27 with 2:47 left in the game, the Cowboys faced 4th-and-1 at the Cyclone 48-yard line. This time, Gundy gambled, and Hubbard was thrown for a one-yard loss. Iowa State had a short field, but Ogbongbemiga saved OSU with his interception. Seems like aggression would have been a good call in the third quarter, not so much in the fourth.
Offensive line: B
- Related to this story
- Article: Recap: OSU 34, Iowa State 27
- Article: Five takeaways from Oklahoma State's upset of Iowa State
- Article: OSU football: Cowboys turn to huddle in upset of No. 23 Iowa State
- Article: OSU football: Matt Ammendola delivers strong kicks on Iowa State's grass field
- Article: OSU football: Iowa State tight end Charlie Kolar has big day
- Article: OSU football: Saturday's win over Iowa State by the numbers
- Article: OSU football: Kolby Harvell-Peel's record day sets tone for defense
- Article: OSU football: Malcolm Rodriguez's pick-six ignites Cowboys past Iowa State
- Article: OSU football: Big plays, Spencer Sanders' resilience carry Cowboy offense
- Article: OSU football: Tylan Wallace's stiff arm, strange wedding proposal highlight best, worst of win at Iowa State
- Article: K-State's upset of Sooners highlights a wild day in Big 12 football
- Article: Oklahoma falls to No. 10 in Associated Press poll
- Article: SoonersXtra podcast: Oklahoma-Kansas State postgame edition
- Article: FiveThirtyEight: Sooners still have 27 percent chance at playoff
- Article: OSU football: Tylan Wallace's stiff arm was highlight, but more about his physicality
- Article: OSU football journal: Cowboys handle bumpy flight to Ames
- Article: OU football: Sooners abandoned the run vs. Kansas State and it proved costly
- Article: OU football: Time for Sooners' game against Iowa State announced
- Article: Berry Tramel: Storm-the-field Saturday at the Big 12's Kansas schools
- Article: OU football: Forced touching on Sooners' onside kick not replay reviewable, Big 12 officials coordinator says
- Video: OSU Football - Harvell-Peel vs Iowa State
- Video: OSU Football: Rodriguez talks interception and Cyclones win
- Video: OSU Football: Ogbongbemiga reflects on defense during Cyclones matchup
- Video: OSU Football - Cowboys upset Iowa State
- Video: OSU Football - Wallace vs Iowa State
- Video: OSU Football - Hubbard vs Iowa State
- Video: OSU Football - Sanders vs Iowa State
The Cowboys didn’t open a bunch of holes for Hubbard. He dashed 65 yards for a touchdown by bursting through the line on a third-and-1 play. Otherwise, the nation’s leading rusher gained just 51 yards on 21 carries. But the line helped protect quarterback Spencer Sanders against Iowa State’s aggressive 3-3 front. Sanders was not sacked (though one ISU sack was wiped out by a facemask penalty), and the Cyclones were credited with only one quarterback hurry. And it’s not like Sanders was scrambling for his life. Of his eight carries, only one was a scramble off a pass play.
Score-zone defense: B
Iowa State penetrated the OSU 22-yard line six times. The Cyclones got three touchdowns and two field goals out of those threats. ISU had first downs at the Cowboy 13-, 21- and 19-yard lines on successive second-quarter possessions but settled for field goals each time, making two of three. That’s quality defense. Purdy completed just four of nine passes from inside the OSU 22-yard line.
The Cowboys played a near-pristine game. Sanders threw a bad-decision interception in the third quarter, but that was OSU’s only turnover. The Cowboys were penalized only twice — a holding on tight end Jelani Woods and a facemask on safety Jarrick Bernard.