Woodward, Okla. —
By Jason Elmquist
CNHI News Service
STILLWATER — It was a reversal of roles Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium between Texas, the smash-mouth offense, and Oklahoma State, the finesse passing attack.
It was the Longhorns that took to the air, while the Pokes pounded it out on the ground. And in the end, it was Texas that was effective enough to come away with a 41-36 victory to prevent OSU from winning against the Longhorns in Stillwater for the first time since 1997.
Coming in, Texas was second in the Big 12 in rushing with 258.7 yards per game, but the Longhorns were held in check by the Cowboys with just 136 rushing yards — not even eclipsing the 100-yard mark until the middle of the fourth. Meanwhile, the UT pass attack, which was seventh in the conference with 255.7 yards per game finished with 304 yards.
In his first collegiate start, OSU quarterback J.W. Walsh completed 18 of 27 pass attempts for 207 yards and two touchdowns, but with 29 seconds left in the game was unable to deliver a game-winning drive for the Cowboys. Walsh also had 57 yards rushing on eight carries.
It appeared as though the game would be a shootout from the onset. On the second play from scrimmage, Joseph Randle ripped off a 69-yard touchdown run, breaking several tackles in the process.
Texas bounced back with a 10-play, 75-yard drive — in which the Longhorns just barely converted on three third down plays — that was capped with a 44-yard touchdown pass from David Ash to Jordan Shipley.
Walsh threw an interception on his third pass attempt of the game when he tried to get a quick pass off to Blake Jackson, but Texas defender Kenny Vaccaro stepped in at the last second to pick off the pass and give the Longhorns the ball at OSU's 23-yard line. Oklahoma State's defense forced the Longhorns into another third down, but Texas converted its fourth-straight of the game with a 20-yard touchdown pass from Ash to Shipley to take the 14-7 lead.
Following Walsh's miscue, the OSU offense went more to the ground and the short, intermediate passing game, which seemed to lull the Texas defense to sleep. OSU's first shot down the field went to Josh Stewart, Walsh's high school teammate, who bounced off a UT defender and ran into the end zone for a 44-yard touchdown.
Texas took no time at all to take the lead back, as D.J. Monroe returned the ensuing kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown. It was the first kickoff return for a touchdown given up by OSU since last year's Texas game.
OSU's next drive stalled in the red zone and the Cowboys had to settle for a 23-yard field goal by Quinn Sharp early into the second quarter.
Both offenses began to stall out in the second quarter. Texas punted on each of its second quarter drives, while OSU had a punt and missed 53-yard field goal attempt on their final two drives of the second quarter.
The Oklahoma State defense got its first takeaway since the season opener against Savannah State with an interception by Tyler Johnson — the first pick thrown by Ash this season — on a third down play deep in Cowboy territory.
The OSU offense took the momentum and charged down the field for a 38-yard field goal by Sharp, with senior receiver Tracy Moore leading the way with three catches 69 yards on the drive.
The turnover for Texas was a rare miscue for the Longhorns on third downs. The Longhorns went 9 for 17 on third down plays, including 6 of 9 in the first half. The Longhorns also converted on three fourth day conversions — including a fourth and six at their own 29-yard line to set up the game-winning touchdown.
Texas got going again late in the third quarter, putting together a six-minute drive that was capped by a seven-yard touchdown from Ash to Shipley.
The Cowboys responded quickly behind a 36-yard kickoff return by Desmond Roland that put OSU at Texas' 43-yard line — and just 24 seconds later the Cowboys scored on a 20-yard pass from Walsh to John Goodlett. The ensuing two-point try was no good as Walsh overthrew his intended receiver on the fade into the corner.
Oklahoma State's defense bowed it's back on the ensuing drive, forcing Texas to punt for the fourth time. The OSU offense opened its drive with a 50-yard rush by Walsh to get the Cowboys down to the Texas 39-yard line. Randle got a big 20-yard gain on a third-and-six play that put the Pokes down at the UT 2-yard line — and Randle, who had 199 yards on 25 carries, capped it with his second touchdown run on the next play.
With 2:34 still left on the clock, Texas put together an eight-play, 75-yard drive in just over two minutes to reclaim the lead at 41-36 with 29 seconds left in the game. On the drive, Texas had two pass plays of over 25 yards — a 29-yard gain on a fourth and six play, and a 32-yard catch that put the Longhorns at the OSU 5-yard line. They would score two plays later to get the come-from-behind victory.
Jason Elmquist is the sports editor of the Stillwater NewsPress.