Instant Recap: Oklahoma State Comes Back to Beat Houston 43-30

Again in the shadow of a space center, Oklahoma State had a failure to launch, but at least this time the Cowboys did eventually take off.

A week after losing to UCF in its annual Space Game in Orlando, OSU bounced back with a 43-30 win against 4-7 Houston on Saturday after not leading until the third quarter.

The win propelled the Cowboys to 8-3, still on track to make the Big 12 Championship Game on Dec. 2 in Arlington.

Ollie Gordon gave OSU its first lead midway through the third quarter with a 6-yard rushing touchdown to make the score 26-23. Gordon’s game-swinging touchdown was in the midst of a 26-point run for the Cowboys after trailing 23-9 with 4:16 left in the first half.

OSU’s offense was grounded most of the first half with little production. Actually, the fact the offense wasn’t relying on the ground may have been why it struggled to initiate at the start. Gordon had only nine carries for 38 yards in the first half and didn’t get a carry the first two possessions of the game. By then, the Cowboys were already down 14-0 and had to rely on their air attack.

Down 14-3, the Cowboys were stopped on third and long deep inside their own territory to bring up fourth down, but an unsportsmanlike penalty kept a drive going that ended with a touchdown. In his return from injury, Jaden Bray caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Alan Bowman for OSU’s first trip to the end zone.

That wasn’t when the comeback started. Houston added another touchdown and a few drives later stuffed Gordon in OSU’s end zone for a safety. It was the makings of another disappointing week until Trey Rucker intercepted Donovan Smith to give OSU the ball on Houston’s 22.

The Cowboys then began that 26-point run with a 21-yard touchdown pass from Bowman to Leon Johnson III. The half ended with a 21-yard Alex Hale field goal that cut the Cowboys’ deficit to 23-19 at the half before Gordon plunged into the end zone for the lead in the third quarter.

While the first half seemed to spotlight Brennan Presley, who had nine catches for 103 yards in the first 30 minutes, the latter half was all about Gordon. It was a reflection of the 2023 season, as Gordon wasn’t touching the ball enough, then when he did, the offense seemed nearly unstoppable.

Gordon scored three touchdowns – all of which came in the second half. Gordon was actually the only Cowboy to get in the end zone in the second half. He finished with 164 yards on 25 carries, averaging 6.6 yards a carry after a lackluster first half. Presley still nearly had a historical day, though, finishing one reception shy of OSU’s single-game record. He caught 15 passes for 189 yards.

Houston ended OSU’s 26-point run with 7:30 left in the game, scoring its first points of the second half with a 31-yard touchdown run from Smith. It put the Cougars within six, but once again, Ollie Gordon. He scored his third touchdown – a 3-yard rush – to extend the lead back to 43-30 with 2:19 left.

The Pokes have one game left against BYU on Saturday in Boone Pickens Stadium, and a win against those Cougars should punch OSU’s ticket to its second Big 12 Championship Game in three years.