OSU football: Five takeaways from the Cowboys' loss at TCU
FORT WORTH, Texas — When the football tipped off the fingers of Oklahoma State tight end Jelani Woods and into the hand of TCU safety Trevon Moehrig, the Cowboys’ last best chance to score went with it.
On a day when the turnover chart strongly favored the Pokes, the scoreboard did not.
No. 15-ranked OSU’s 29-22 loss on Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium was one of blown opportunities. Five takeaways by the defense resulted in one touchdown — and the defense scored that one itself when Brock Martin returned a Malcolm Rodriguez-caused fumble 42 yards for a score.
Otherwise, the Cowboys only managed two scoring drives, also missing two field goals in falling to 6-3 on the season.
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Here are four more takeaways from the Cowboys’ loss on Saturday:
Big plays kill defense again
Oklahoma State’s defense had been the strength of the team up until a difficult loss to OU on Nov. 21.
Since then, the Cowboys have been hit by big plays, often for touchdowns. TCU had its two longest pass plays of the season on Saturday, including a 71-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.
In all, the Cowboys allowed eight plays of 20 yards or more, and five of 30 or more.
Scoop and score
Non-offensive touchdowns have been popular for the Cowboys of late, and they got another big one early on Saturday.
OSU linebacker Malcolm Rodriguez ripped the ball loose from TCU freshman Zach Evans, and Cowboy defensive end was there to pick it up. He returned it 42 yards for the touchdown with 10:48 left in the first quarter.
It was the fourth non-offensive touchdown for the Cowboys this season, and the third in a span of 2 1/2 quarters. In the third quarter last week, OSU scored on an onside kickoff return by Jason Taylor II and an interception return by Tre Sterling.
Tight ends with big plays in first half
A pair of OSU’s tight ends came up with big plays in the first half, both of which led to field goal attempts — one that was made and one that was missed.
Facing third-and7 early in the second quarter, quarterback Spencer Sanders found Jelani Woods open along the sideline. The 6-foot-7, 275-pound Woods juked a defender and ran for a 46-yard gain.
The Cowboys’ drive was derailed by a holding call in the red zone and Brady Pohl missed a field goal.
After TCU scored a touchdown in the final minute of the half, the Frogs squibbed the kickoff up the middle of the field. Rather than fall on the bouncing ball, OSU tight end Dayton Metcalf scooped it up and returned it 16 yards to the 37-yard line.
That put the Cowboys in range to try to score before half, which they did, on a 31-yard field goal by Pohl at the halftime gun. It gave OSU a 16-7 lead at the break.
Injuries and absences
This week, it was the defensive secondary getting beat up by injuries. Two players who have previously dealt with ankle injuries — cornerback Rodarius Williams and safety Tre Sterling — went out again in the first half. Neither played in the second half.
After scoring a touchdown late in the third quarter, receiver Tylan Wallace left the game with knee pain and did not return.
The Cowboys were without starting running back Chuba Hubbard once again. Hubbard continues to deal with an ankle injury that he tried to play through for roughly a month before sitting out last week.
Offensive lineman Teven Jenkins announced on Monday that he will sit out the rest of the season because of a back injury in hopes of getting healthy for next spring’s NFL Draft.
Second-string quarterback Shane Illingworth and reserve defensive end Amadou Fofana were unavailable on Saturday as well.