OSU football: How Mike Gundy's Cowboys lost at TCU made for 'a pretty rare game'
FORT WORTH, Texas — Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders’ final pass, a Hail Mary as time expired, fell harmlessly to the grass of Amon G. Carter Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Harmless. The pass, and the Cowboy offense.
No. 15-ranked OSU’s 29-22 loss to TCU was one of blown opportunities by an offense that was given many.
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.
On the possessions following the other four turnovers, OSU didn’t get a single first down, punting twice, missing one field goal and turning it over on downs once. The four possessions netted 9 yards on 13 offensive snaps.
“It’s a pretty rare game when you score on defense and you get that many turnovers, to not be able to find a way to win,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “We just couldn’t muster up much offensively. We couldn’t get much stability. We did hit on a couple big plays, but we just couldn’t muster up enough, with where we’re at right now, to keep going.”
Sanders finished 16-of-34 passing for 270 yards, with a 55-yard touchdown pass to Tylan Wallace — the last play for Wallace in the game, because of a knee injury suffered as he was brought to the ground in the end zone. The injury was not believed to be severe, but he was unable to return in the fourth quarter.
Wallace’s absence was felt, though.
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“It was big,” offensive coordinator Kasey Dunn said. “(TCU) could load up the box and put more pressure on the run game. At the end of the day, that’s what hurt us. We didn’t run the ball efficiently in the second half.”
Junior Dezmon Jackson, playing in place of injured Chuba Hubbard and LD Brown, rushed for 118 yards on 29 carries. But he had 100 yards on his first 20 attempts, and 18 on his final nine.
His touchdown in the first quarter gave the Pokes a 13-0 lead and they were still up 16-7 at the half.
But the Cowboys managed only a touchdown and a field goal in five trips to the red zone.
Dunn said it wasn’t an issue of TCU taking away anything the Cowboys had designed in their game plan.
“We felt like we were moving the ball,” Dunn said. “When we came in at halftime, we were surprised that everything that was on the call sheet was actually hitting and working. We made some mental mistakes, just here and there, and it puts you behind the sticks.
“The second half, we just didn’t do much. They took away the run game. Specifically how? I’ve gotta go back and look at the tape.”
The frustrations mounted for an offense that had 17 possessions and managed only 15 points. OSU reached the red zone five times, scoring one touchdown and one field goal.
“It was very frustrating,” Jackson said. “Our defense did a great job getting us the ball back, and it’s frustrating we just couldn’t capitalize.”