Sellout’s rapid reaction to Oklahoma State’s 39-32 win over Kansas

Sellout’s rapid reaction to Oklahoma State’s 39-32 win over Kansas

OSU beat Kansas in a wild Big 12 game that continued the restoration of this Cowboy season.

Mike Sherman

By Mike Sherman

| Oct 14, 2023, 5:58pm CDT

Mike Sherman

By Mike Sherman

Oct 14, 2023, 5:58pm CDT

STILLWATER — Here’s the Sellout Crowd’s rapid reaction to Oklahoma State’s 39-32 victory over Kansas Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium.

Bryan Nardo is safe, for now

Berry Tramel: After the first 34 minutes, Bryan Nardo might have been looking for the next train to Erie. Nardo, OSU’s first-year defensive coordinator, was outfoxed by Kansas’ brilliant offense. Backup Jayhawk quarterback Jason Bean (backup in name only, he’s one of the seven best QBs in the Big 12) threw five cross-country touchdown passes, most of them to wide-open receivers, and the OSU defense seemed in tatters.

But the Cowboys stiffened — four straight stops, two by takeaway, two on fourth downs — and turned the game.

OSU’s offense was good all day. The Cowboys scored three first-half touchdowns, kicked three second-half field goals and finally took the lead with 2:33 left on Brennan Presley’s 6-yard run on a jet sweep.

But it seemed in danger of going for naught, with the defense in such sieve mode. But Collin Oliver made a ton of big plays, and Nardo’s unit pitched a 26-minute shutout. That’s a nice development for a Cowboy team that seems to be finding its offense, and if the defense plays like it did down the stretch, OSU could be headed for a bunch of wins in October and November.

Gordon’s big day on Miller’s big day

Jenni Carlson: On a day Oklahoma State honored Terry Miller, one of its legendary running backs, another Cowboy tailback had a big day.

Ollie Gordon had 284 yards of total offense, 168 rushing and 116 receiving. He became the first Cowboy running back since Gerald Hudson in 1989 (1989!) to have at least 100 yards rushing and 100 yards receiving in a game. 

Gordon also had two touchdowns, one on the ground and one through the air.

Remember when the Cowboys were splitting carries between three backs?

Those days are over.

Gordon is clearly the guy, and as the game against Kansas went on, he looked stronger and stronger. He ran away from Jayhawk defenders. He made good use of blockers and running lanes. Seemed fitting as Miller was inducted into the OSU Ring of Honor, joining three other big-time ball-carriers, Barry Sanders, Thurman Thomas and Bob Fenimore.

While the OSU defense left a lot to be desired, the OSU run game, so beleaguered early in the season, has caught fire. The fuel? Ollie Gordon.

Cowboys steal one in Stillwater

Guerin Emig: For everything Alan Bowman, Brennan Presley, Rashod Owens and, most especially, Ollie Gordon did to beat Kansas, the turning points came courtesy of an OSU defense under siege over a rough first half, and a rough drive to open the third quarter. 

The Jayhawks led 32-24 after Quinten Skinner’s 42-yard touchdown catch at the 11:13 mark of the third quarter. Then came Cowboy thievery… 

First was Kendal Daniels’ end zone interception with 1:24 remaining in the third, a play made on second-and-9 from the Kansas 17-yard line and the Jayhawks leading 32-27. The Cowboys cashed Daniels’ pick into Alex Hale’s 21-yard field goal to pull within 32-30, but more important was that it kept KU from building what felt like an inevitable 39-27 lead. (Jason Bean will lament underthrowing intended receiver Trevor Wilson on the fade route.)

Bean got the ball back after Hale’s field goal and was intercepted again, this time by cornerback by Dylan Smith off DeSean Brown’s tipped pass, a turnover squandered when Hale missed wide right from 43 yards out. 

Then Bean got it back again and drove KU to OSU’s 40-yard line, where the Jayhawks elected to go for it on fourth-and-5.

Enter Collin Oliver, who jumped the snap a smidge, blew by right tackle Bryce Cabeldue and forced Bean to fumble the ball to the Cowboys, who then drove 50 yards to Presley’s game-winning touchdown. 

When Oliver tipped away Bean’s fourth-and-1 pass with just less than two minutes remaining, OSU’s defense had denied Kansas a fourth consecutive time and salted away a second straight victory. A startling turn of events considering Bean’s 342 yards and five touchdowns after that 42-yard bomb to Skinner. 

We interrupt this offense to bring you a little defense

Ed Murray: Neither team could stop the other for nearly three quarters and you got the feeling that whichever defense made a play — any big play — might just win this thing. After surrendering yet another touchdown on the Jayhawks’ first possession of the second half, the OSU defense finally rose up. Kendal Daniels ended Kansas’s 2nd possession of the third quarter with a goal-line interception, KU’s first red zone turnover this season. The Cowboys rode Ollie Gordon down the field for a field goal. 

What a day for Gordon! On the day OSU placed running back legend Terry Miller into its Ring of Honor, Gordon became the first Pokes runner to rush for more than a hundred yards and receive more than 100 yards in 33 years!

Dylan Smith ended the next Kansas possession with another pick and then Collin Oliver with a strip/sack on 4th down to end the next. From there, OSU turned again to Gordon including a huge screen pass for 19 yards, the same play that gained 50 yards on the game’s first play.

Brennan Pressley was big all day and put OSU back on top for good with a 6 yard jet sweep for the touchdown, his second score of the game.

There was too much: “Jason Bean all day- wide open receiver-touchdown Kansas”. But OSU once again won the turnover battle, held the nation’s 6th best rushing team to under 100 yards,  topped 300 passing and 200 rushing themselves, had its first 100 yard receivers of the season (Gordon and Rashod Owens), got Presely heavily involved… and oh yes… got it into the hands of a budding star, Ollie Gordon.

Forget the backfield, Ollie Gordon took control of the OSU offense

Ben Hutchens: Through the first three weeks, OSU’s running backs split touches relatively evenly. All three backs, Ollie Gordon, Jaden Nixon and Elijah Collins were playing well, and, heck, still are. But now, Mike Gundy just can’t help himself. Gordon is his guy.

Gordon was most effective Saturday through the air, where he caught six passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. Gordon also received a career-high 29 carries, which he turned into 168 yards. His previous high in carries was 21 which came last week. I think I see a pattern.

Take back the boos

Sam Hutchens: Maybe it was just dumb luck. It could have been an impressive display of football wisdom. Ultimately, it’s probably a little bit of both. But whatever caused OSU coach Mike Gundy to trot his field goal unit out to kick two late-game field goals amid a cloud of boos sure worked. OSU’s defense forced four (!) late turnovers to help Gundy exit Boone Pickens Stadium a tactical genius.

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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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