STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma State's potent offense gained 494 yards and was in position to score additional points on Saturday that could have led to a victory over No. 11 Texas, but several missed opportunities made the difference in a disappointing 36-30 defeat.
Taking on No. 24 Kansas State this weekend at home, the Cowboys are focused on eliminating missed chances, such as the three times they got inside the red zone but wound up settling for two field goals. Oklahoma State (3-1, 0-1 Big 12) also tried a fake field goal that didn't work.
Still, OSU coach Mike Gundy was happy with the overall performance of his offense, which is ranked seventh in the nation in both points scored and total yards.
"I don't want to hit the panic button and say we didn't move the ball," Gundy said. "We had how many yards? We had two opportunities to score touchdowns and we kicked field goals. That's eight less points, and we tried a fake field goal that we could have taken more, so I think it was moreso just us not executing in goal line (situations). . If we were more effective in the goal line, it would be a much different game, in our opinion."
The game's opening drive was Oklahoma State's first missed opportunity, when the Cowboys advanced all the way to the Texas 1-yard line. On a second-and-goal situation from the 1, running back Chuba Hubbard fumbled the ball, but OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders dove on it and recovered it on the 3. On third down, Hubbard was stopped for no gain, resulting in Matt Ammendola's 20-yard field goal.
Midway through the third quarter, with Texas leading 21-20, the Cowboys had third-and-4 from the Longhorn 11, and Sanders was only able to gain two yards rushing. Ammendola then kicked a 27-yard field goal to give OSU a brief lead.
On their next drive, now trailing 28-23, Oklahoma State almost converted on third-and-11 from the Texas 13 when Sanders ran for 10 yards before being forced out of bounds at the 3. Instead of kicking another field goal, though, the Cowboys opted to go for it on fourth-and-1, but Hubbard was stopped in the backfield for a loss of one, resulting in a turnover on downs.
"We've always been good at it, we've had success in short yardage last year, we've had success this year," Gundy said. "Sometimes (the opponent is) going to win their one-on-one battles, sometimes we win. It's not necessarily to do things different, it just happened in that game. We were in positions to score a couple of times where we traditionally score touchdowns. And that was really the glaring side of what happened in the game. Offensively, if you punch in and get those touchdowns, and don't kick field goals, it's a different game."
Gundy chalked up the Cowboys' failure to get into the end zone on those three occasions to a combination of a lack of execution and strong defense by the Longhorns.
"It's not necessarily one thing or the other," said Gundy, whose team is 7-3 against Texas over the last 10 meetings. "You have to realize now that Texas is going to make plays also. They've got good guys, they're well-coached, so they made some plays and they ended up winning the game based on making those key plays. Over the last 10 years, we made the majority of them; this year we didn't."
As for the fake field goal attempt, Oklahoma State trailed 28-23 when it reached the Texas 22, facing another fourth-and-1 situation early in the fourth.
Ammendola was lining up for a 39-yard field goal attempt when a delay of game penalty pushed the Cowboys back five yards. At that point, holder Jake McClure took the snap and tried to shovel a short pass to tight end Jelani Woods, but it fell incomplete.
"I would rather not talk about fakes, especially ones that don't work," Gundy said. "But there's reasons for me to not talk about that."
Gundy said the Cowboys are now looking ahead to hosting Kansas State (3-0, 0-0), which is coming off a bye week.
"We live and learn and we move on," he said. "Playing a good football team this week."