OSU-Arizona State: Sellout’s rapid reaction from the Cowboys’ 27-15 victory

OSU-Arizona State: Sellout’s rapid reaction from the Cowboys’ 27-15 victory

What difference does it make who quarterbacks the Cowboys?

Mike Sherman

By Mike Sherman

| Sep 10, 2023, 1:11am CDT

Mike Sherman

By Mike Sherman

Sep 10, 2023, 1:11am CDT

Garret Rangel, Oklahoma State’s third quarterback of the night, tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Brennan Presley late in the fourth quarter and the Cowboys pulled away for a 27-15 victory over Arizona State Saturday night in Tempe, Ariz.

Here’s the Sellout Crowd’s reaction, with Berry Tramel, Sam and Ben Hutchens reporting from Tempe:

Another strange game, another Cowboy ‘W’

Berry Tramel: We’ve spent a couple of weeks now debating who should quarterback the Oklahoma State Cowboys and whether Mike Gundy is brilliant or insane for implementing a three-man QB rotation.

Maybe we’ve taken our eye off the ball.

What difference does it make, who quarterbacks the Cowboys? That seems to be the lesson learned in a 27-15 victory at Arizona State on Saturday night.

OSU won a nondescript game, which is what we ought to expect from a nondescript team. But the Cowboys again found a way to run the ball after zero rushing yards in the first half. And the OSU defense got six straight stops after ASU took a 15-7 lead midway through the second quarter. Most important on the latter, only two of those stops were punts — the Cowboys got three fourth-down stops and a takeaway (Lyrik Rawls’ interception).

Strange game. But if you’re going to be a mediocre team and play strange games, at least you ought to win them, and the Cowboys now have done that twice; 2-0 beats 0-2 anytime.

Again, the Cowboys overcome their flaws

Sam Hutchens: Oklahoma State had issues in the desert. The same stuff that cropped up in week 1 against Central Arkansas. But, apparently, the problems are not critical. OSU’s excellent defense (especially on fourth down) and ball security (zero turnovers) trumped poor tackling and a rushing attack that went silent in the first half.

So far, the Cowboys’ flaws have been sidenotes to a 2-0 start. Who says they can’t keep it up?

A volatile run game is the most consistent thing with OSU’s offense

Ben Hutchens: In an offensive system featuring three different quarterbacks, the Cowboys have done one thing consistently this season: Struggle to rush the ball in the first half.

At halftime Saturday, OSU had 12 rushes for no yards. The Cowboys finished with 113 ground yards thanks to a 31-yard run from sophomore Ollie Gordon in the third quarter and a 34-yard rush from sophomore Jaden Nixon in the fourth. Last week, OSU carried it 14 times for 45 yards in the first half against Central Arkansas, an FCS opponent, but finished with 149 rushing yards.

Short fields are nice

Ed Murray: Zero yards rushing in the first half.

A different order for the three quarterbacks but do we really have any better clarity than we did at this time last week?

Poor tackling for most of the night.

But good things tend to happen when the hosts are, well, good hosts. Oklahoma State started six drives at its 40-yard line or better. Four of those possessions resulted in points, 24 points as a matter of fact. But give the OSU defense a lot of the credit. Unable to stop short, power runs in the first half, the Cowboys stopped the Sun Devils on third and 1 and again on fourth and 1 to take over at the 40. A Gunnar Gundy TD pass gave OSU the lead for good. 

And it was “deja vu all over again” (thanks Yogi) when the defense did it again, stuffing the Sun Devils twice with 1 yard to go, and taking the ball over at the ASU 33. Garrett Rangel’s TD pass put the game out of reach.

Three Takeaways

  • Not sure if I’ve ever seen a team go for it on its own 33 in a 5-point game with more than six minutes to play, at home.
  • After watching Nebraska at Colorado, I’m not so sure OSU has a quarterback “problem” (no turnovers). The Huskers sure do.
  • Get used to these late nights in the new look Big 12. 
Share with your crowd
Mike Sherman is the director of content for Sellout Crowd. He spent the majority of his 39 years in journalism at The Oklahoman, first as a sportswriter and then as the sports editor. His staff routinely produced award-winning coverage of the Sooners, Cowboys, Thunder, high school sports and major events. Mike is a past president of the Associated Press Sports Editors. His career includes tenures as the sports editor with the Tampa Bay Times and Utica (N.Y.) Observer-Dispatch, an assistant city editor with The Tennessean in Nashville and a reporter for the Daily Local News in West Chester, Pa. More recently, he spent three years as executive editor for Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit investigative news organization in Oklahoma City. Mike and his wife, Cathleen, live in Edmond, Oklahoma, where they raised four children. Email Mike at mikesherman@selloutcrowd. Follow him at @MikeSherman on X/Twitter.

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