OSU came to Ames reeling because of offensive ineptitude and sprung another leak.
AMES, Iowa — Oklahoma State’s struggles continued with a 34-27 road loss to Iowa State. Did this loss expose even more issues? How will the Cowboys rally?
Sellout Crowd’s team filed these quick thoughts.
When it rains, it leaks for OSU
Berry Tramel: Iowa State scored seven points last week at Ohio U. The Cyclones scored 13 on Iowa the week before. Saturday, Iowa State’s offense produced 34 points and 422 total yards, and the Cyclones beat OSU 34-27.
An OSU program reeling because of offensive ineptitude found a little offense in Ames, Iowa — mostly courtesy of big plays, but you take ‘em any way you can get ‘em — but the Cowboys sprung another leak. The defense was avalanched by Iowa State quarterback Rocco Becht, who completed 27 of 38 passes for 348 yards.
Mike Gundy’s decision to go with a solo quarterback, Alan Bowman, worked reasonably well. But outside of Ollie Gordon’s 71-yard run, the OSU running game remained unproductive. And now the defense has collapsed against an offense that appeared to be the Big 12’s worst.
This is shaping up as a long, long season in Stillwater.
Secondary struggles abound
Jenni Carlson: As much of a trainwreck as the South Alabama loss was, I wanted to see what happened Saturday at Iowa State.
Was the South Alabama loss an outlier or a sign of where this OSU team is?
Safe to say, it’s more the latter.
Here are three things that were particularly discouraging about the Cowboys’ performance:
*Secondary struggles. We knew the Cowboy secondary would struggle after losing Jabbar Muhammed and Thomas Harper in the transfer portal, but struggling this much? Yikes. Cowboy defensive backs were losing guys in coverage, giving huge cushions and slipping down. Iowa State quarterback Rocco Becht had career highs in completions and passing yards. He managed only 233 passing yards a week ago against Ohio. Ohio!
*Offensive variety. Cowboy playcallers left a lot to be desired. Kasey Dunn or Mike Gundy or whomever makes the final decisions on offensive plays got stuck in painful ruts. The Cowboys would run it up the gut on three consecutive plays and have to punt. Or they’d pass long, miss a couple, then face long-yardage downs that more often than not ended with punts. Why not play to Bowman’s strengths, dink and dump a bit and get the passing game into some sort of rhythm? Then mix in some different types of runs, like getting Ollie Gordon around the edge?
*Bowman’s accuracy on the move. We know this OSU offensive line is suspect. That means the Cowboy quarterback is going to be forced out of the pocket regularly, and seeing a full game of Bowman, it’s pretty clear his accuracy and comfort when he’s on the move is lacking. Bowman airmailed a few passes when he wasn’t rushed. When he was? It was not pretty.
Uninspiring offense, concerning defense
Ben Hutchens: Iowa State hasn’t been a good passing team this season, until today. Entering this week, the Cyclones ranked No. 108 in total passing offense, averaging 184 yards a game. Against the Cowboys, the Cyclones had 223 in the first half. ISU receivers created separation often, and the Cyclones hit seven passing plays of 20+ yards.
Bowman and the offense didn’t look like something OSU should feel great about trotting out the rest of the season. But the OSU defense needs to be better for OSU to win. But if you can’t beat the ISU team that took a loss to Ohio last week, where are your other wins coming from?
How bad will this get?
Sam Hutchens: I thought of the 40-yard line on the south side of Jack Trice Stadium a lot in the fourth quarter. Two years ago, a 6-0 OSU team needed to cross it in the fourth quarter to win. After a measurement from the chain gang, the Cowboys’ fourth-down screen to Brennan Presley was ruled just short
Today with 13:55 left in the fourth quarter, Alan Bowman backpedaled across that very same white line before being pushed to the ground for a a drive-crippling 17-yard sack. At that moment, a 2-2 start to the year felt inevitable.
After Iowa State in 2021, OSU fans were left wondering how good the season could be. The loss on Saturday raises another question: How bad will this season be?