Jenni’s best and worst of OSU’s 33-7 loss to South Alabama

Jenni’s best and worst of OSU’s 33-7 loss to South Alabama

Well, at least the Cowboys were wearing their best-looking helmets.

Jenni Carlson

By Jenni Carlson

| Sep 16, 2023, 11:56pm CDT

Jenni Carlson

By Jenni Carlson

Sep 16, 2023, 11:56pm CDT

STILLWATER — Yes, yes, even after what we saw Saturday night at Oklahoma State, I’m still here to do Best and Worst.

Maybe not many Bests to be had from a 33-7 loss to South Alabama, but we’ll, ahem, do our best.

Best pregame moment: A flyover! OSU had a flyover! Sadly, I wasn’t able to see it from the press box, but I hope folks inside Boone Pickens Stadium enjoyed it. OSU doesn’t do many flyovers.

Worst pregame moment: South Alabama coming out wearing white jerseys after warming up in navy blue tops. I know the Jaguars were going to have to wear something light, but man, navy uniforms and red pants would’ve been superb. 

Best part of the OSU uniforms: Can I say all of it? Since it’s my best-worst list, I’ll allow it. OSU wore matte black helmets (nothing better than matte helmets) along with orange uniforms and pants. A sharp look top to bottom.

Best offensive player: Not a lot of options to choose from, but I guess I’ll go with Jaden Nixon. The Cowboy tailback had five carries for 23 yards (a 4.6 yard-per-carry average) and OSU’s only touchdown. He also had two catches for eight yards.

Best defensive player: Ugh, slim pickings again. Collin Oliver gets the nod, doing a bit of everything. The linebacker led the Cowboys in tackles with 10, including a sack. He also had a pass breakup and forced a fumble

Best play: The Cowboys’ lone touchdown was a nifty play. Brennan Presley lined up way out wide to the left. Right before the snap, the speedster came in motion to the right, and when the ball was snapped, the early motion went to the right. But Gunnar Gundy turned around and pitched the ball back to Nixon, who had nothing but open field to the end zone.

Worst play: So many, but I’ll go with the two-play combination to start the second quarter. First, an Alan Bowman interception, thrown right to the defender. Then, a 17-yard touchdown run by South Alabama. The sequence gave the Jags a 16-0 lead, and frankly, the game felt out of touch at that point for the Cowboys.

Best stat: Honestly, OSU defense holding South Alabama to 6-of-14 on third down was a bit of a bright spot. Considering that the Jaguars converted four of their first five third-down attempts, the Cowboys going 2-of-9 to finish the game was a huge improvement.

Worst stat: OSU spent much of the offseason working on its run game. Saturday, the Cowboys managed on 3.2 yards a carry, rushing for only 94 yards on 29 carries. That isn’t good enough, especially for a team that invested so much into being better.

Best reason to feel good about this team: It can’t get any worse. Well, that probably isn’t true, but talking to players after the game, I got a sense that they learned some lessons. Who knows how quickly the rest of the team learns them, but maybe getting kicked in the teeth is a kick start for this team.

Best reason to want to pack it in: Did you watch the game? If so, you know how bad a performance that was. Might not be the worst of Mike Gundy’s tenure — his first team was dreadful and the 2014 squad was virtually unwatchable at times — but being dominated by a Group of Five school on your home turf has to rank highly in the worst-losses-ever category.

Biggest offensive concern: Offensive line. The big guys up front just aren’t moving people like they need to. It hampers the running game. It hurries the quarterbacks. Preston Wilson, Cole Birmingham and Co. must be better.

Biggest defensive concern: Getting pressure in the backfield. The defensive line isn’t generating a ton of pressure, and as of yet, we haven’t seen a lot of blitzes. Against South Alabama, OSU had just two sacks and no quarterback hurries. If the Jaguars made the Cowboys pay — and they did — think of what Big 12 opponents will do. 

Best quote: OSU coach Mike Gundy on Cowboy fans booing during the game: “The good thing about our fans is that they want to win and they’re used to winning, and so sometimes, they get frustrated. If I was a fan and was watching the game, I’d be frustrated, too.”

 

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Jenni Carlson is a columnist with the Sellout Crowd network. Follow her on Twitter at @JenniCarlson_OK. Email [email protected].

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