The No. 15 Oklahoma State Cowboys took the field against the No. 21 Iowa State Cyclones on Saturday afternoon as one of seven ranked matchups across the Week 11 college football slate.
In what became a back-and-forth shootout, the Cowboys survived in the final minutes for a 49-42 win to improve to 8-2 on the year and 5-2 in Big 12 play.
Here’s three things we learned from the Cowboys latest win:
The Big 12 Championship is still a possibility
Oklahoma State isn’t quite in control of its Big 12 Championship destiny, but a trip to Arlington is still well within reach. Now at 5-2 in Big 12 play, the Cowboys are in second place in the conference, trailing Oklahoma and TCU, which each sit at 5-1. With the Sooners and Horned Frogs squaring off on Saturday night, one is set to drop to 5-2. Of course, each owns the tiebreaker over Oklahoma State, but if the Cowboys can win out and the loser of Oklahoma-TCU drops one more down the stretch, the Cowboys can still compete for a Big 12 Title.
Penalties plagued the Pokes
Oklahoma State survived, but the Pokes didn’t do themselves any favors by recording costly penalties throughout. On the opening drive, two Cowboy penalties kept Iowa State’s drive alive en route to a 7-0 Cyclones edge. On the final drive of the half, a horse collar penalty aided Iowa State’s march in what became a game-tying drive just seconds before the break. Much of the same occurred in the second half, with Oklahoma State helping Iowa State take a 28-24 lead in the third quarter by committing a facemask and defensive holding penalties.
Ironically, it was an Aaron Cochran holding penalty that provided the Pokes with an extra third down attempt in the fourth quarter, which became a 30-yard touchdown pass to Marcell Ateman to tie the game, 42-42.
Oklahoma State finished the game with 9 penalties for 105 yards.
Mason Rudolph wasn’t himself on Saturday
Saturday was far from Mason Rudolph’s best showing at Oklahoma State. The senior entered halftime with just 72 passing yards to his name, which marked the lowest effort of any of his 38 starts to date. Things didn’t get much better in throughout the following 15 minutes. By the start of the fourth quarter, Rudolph had passed for just 219 yards, thanks in large part to a massive effort after the catch by Jalen McCleskey that went for 81 yards.
Yet, despite the slow start, Rudolph arrived down the stretch when it mattered most. By the time the final whistle blew, Rudolph had recorded 376 yards and 3 touchdowns through the air, marking a perfect example of Rudolph being better on his worst days than most are on their best days.
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