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OSU football: Five takeaways from Cowboys' loss to Texas A&M in Texas Bowl

Related coverage: OSU vs. Texas A&M

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HOUSTON — No. 25 Oklahoma State started fast, but it was Texas A&M that ended the season on a high note.

The Aggies beat OSU 24-21 on Friday in the Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium. Here’s a look at five takeaways from the game: 

1. Hubbard’s last game?

If this was the final game OSU star running back Chuba Hubbard played, he did all he could while also sealing his place in the Cowboys’ record book.

Hubbard rushed 19 times for 158 yards, becoming just the second player in program history to rush for 2,000 or more yards in one season. He sealed it with a strong 16-yard run in the second quarter and drew praise from Barry Sanders, the only running back with more yards in a season.

But the Cowboys still got away from Hubbard at times. They had multiple possessions that Hubbard did not touch the football. He still delivered runs of 37 and 42 yards. He also caught a 16-yard pass.

Hubbard completed the year with 12 games of 100 or more yards, a Big 12 record. Hubbard also rushed for 100 or more yards in 11 straight games to close out the season.

2. Defense wears down

It’s hard to fault how the Cowboys’ defense played.

The Cowboys jumped to a 14-0 lead, but after a few special teams blunders, the defense was put in a tough spot. Texas A&M was able to rally with 28 straight points.

The Aggies primarily dominated with the run game in the second half, using the big offensive line to overpower OSU. And quarterback Kellen Mond caught fire in the option attack, rushing for a decisive 67-yard touchdown in the fourth.

But the Cowboys’ defense still got off to a fast start with two turnovers in the first half. 

Freshman defensive end Trace Ford played well. Linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga was strong. Even backup safety Jason Taylor II had a big day filling in for injured Kolby Harvell-Peel.

The future remains bright.

3. Dru Brown gets majority of snaps

OSU coach Mike Gundy said both quarterback would play. That was true.

But senior Dru Brown took the majority of snaps, with Spencer Sanders entering three times on short-yardage situations.

Brown completed 15 of 28 passes for 184 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for another score. At that point, the Cowboys had a 14-point lead.

Sanders entered in the second quarter and carried the ball for a first down, but he immediately returned to the sideline. ESPN cameras caught Sanders grimacing as he shook his right hand, which was wrapped from the right-thumb surgery that cost him the final two regular season games.

Sanders did not attempt a pass — likely a sign he was not 100 percent — and rushed twice for 3 yards.

4. Not so special teams

OSU has had better days on special teams.

Missed field goals. Bad punts. Mental mistakes.

It all happened and it changed the game.

Kicker Matt Ammendola missed two field goals in the first half, and in a close game that’s huge. Punter Tom Hutton also had a 17-yard punt that set up the Aggies’ first touchdown.

Even Braydon Johnson had a blunder — hesitating after fielding a kickoff in the end zone. He left the end zone and could not kneel, leading to a 5-yard return just after Texas A&M took the lead for good.

5. Johnson’s big day

Still, Johnson had a big day as he looks to have more of a role in 2020.

The speedster caught five passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. His longest reception was 57 yards. 

Simply, his speed was too much for the Aggies.

And whether star Tylan Wallace returns next season or not, the Cowboys have another weapon at receiver.

Related Photos
Oklahoma State wide receiver Jordan McCray (12) reaches for an overthrown pass in front of Texas A&M defensive back Myles Jones (10) during the first half of the Texas Bowl NCAA college football game Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

Oklahoma State wide receiver Jordan McCray (12) reaches for an overthrown pass in front of Texas A&M defensive back Myles Jones (10) during the first half of the Texas Bowl NCAA college football game Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-1b313aa65f328e967dee0925ddb0083d.jpg" alt="Photo - Oklahoma State wide receiver Jordan McCray (12) reaches for an overthrown pass in front of Texas A&amp;M defensive back Myles Jones (10) during the first half of the Texas Bowl NCAA college football game Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)" title="Oklahoma State wide receiver Jordan McCray (12) reaches for an overthrown pass in front of Texas A&amp;M defensive back Myles Jones (10) during the first half of the Texas Bowl NCAA college football game Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)"><figcaption>Oklahoma State wide receiver Jordan McCray (12) reaches for an overthrown pass in front of Texas A&amp;M defensive back Myles Jones (10) during the first half of the Texas Bowl NCAA college football game Friday, Dec. 27, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)</figcaption></figure>
Jacob Unruh

Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the... Read more ›

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