OSU offense can't keep up in Bedlam loss

757A0013.jpg

Jordan McCray hauls in a pass during the Oklahoma vs. Oklahoma State football game on Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019 at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, OK.

To beat Oklahoma, you have to keep up on offense.

With Oklahoma State down two of their original offensive triplets, the odds weren’t in its favor.

But for almost the first two quarters of this year’s Bedlam contest, it looked like the Cowboys had a chance to do it. Dru Brown was efficient, Chuba Hubbard was chugging and the only thing holding them back from an even ballgame was a lost fumble.

They stayed within striking distance of their in-state rival. OSU, though, failed to maintain its ability to finish.

“You can’t kick field goals and against an offense that can score like they can,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “It’s pretty simple.”

OSU kicked three field goals, with two coming from inside the Sooners’ 10-yard line. The most glaring of which came when OSU was unable to punch the ball in before the end of the half. 

A score there, and it’s a tie ballgame heading into the second half. Some stuffed runs and a false start kept the Cowboys out of the endzone there, forcing them to keep playing from behind.

As the Oklahoma lead increased later on, OSU’s offense became more one dimensional as they tried to get back into the game.

In the second half, the Cowboys were a combined 0-for-8 on third and fourth down conversions compared to 7-of-11 in the first. They managed only 109 yards after the break.

“By us not keeping it within a one-score game it allowed them more flexibility on defense,” Gundy said. “There’s kind of a big picture to it. We got into a multi-score game which allowed them to be aggressive up front.”

OSU’s offense generally goes as its Heisman candidate does. 

OU put up its first touchdown under two minutes into the game, but the Cowboys punched right back.

Chuba Hubbard came out of the gates at full speed, exploding through holes and finishing runs with power. He accounted for 37 yards and a touchdown on the Cowboys opening drive.

The Sooners quickly adjusted to stop the dynamic back, dropping a safety down into the box in run support. Hubbard slowed as the game dragged on and running room became more sparse. He gained just 25 yards in the second half.

With Hubbard’s carry total eclipsing the 300 mark, Gundy said that fatigue is a factor in his play. Although he has still been good, the electrifying plays haven’t happened quite as often later in the year.

“I’m sure it has some impact,” Hubbard admitted.  “But no matter if you have 300 carries, 100 carries... you have to come with your A-game every time. And I felt like I didn’t do my best job today. It is what it is. Live and learn.”

OU decided to go all out in stopping Hubbard and make quarterback Dru Brown beat them. He was efficient overall and made a number of good throws, but wasn’t dynamic enough to match OU’s Jalen Hurts. 

The Cowboys needed to execute exquisitely to match the Sooners. They couldn’t for long enough, failing to break OSU’s Bedlam losing streak.

“It’s a disappointing loss because I didn’t feel like we played as good as we could’ve,” Gundy said. “Coaches and players. I didn’t think we performed as good as we could have.”

 

sports.ed@ocolly.com