Aside from some late-game dramatics, Oklahoma State’s 20-14 win over Iowa State was a mostly ugly game full of head-scratching calls and turnovers. Neither offense looked prepared to play a Big 12 game while each defense made plays. OSU’s just made a few more than Iowa State’s.
As we put a bow on Iowa State and look forward to Bedlam, let’s take a look at some of the significant players and plays that led to a Cowboy win.
Comeback Kid: Spencer Sanders
Throw in MVP, shot-in-the-arm, late-game hero. Sanders was all of it against Iowa State. With the offense struggling to sustain drives and — other than one big touchdown between Gunnar Gundy and John Paul Richardson — it struggled to make any plays worth revisiting.
On his second drive (the first he got to warm up for), Sanders captained OSU down the field to set up his first TD toss in three weeks. Sanders had just taken off on a big run and perfectly sold another. The defense bit and Jaden Nixon was all by his lonesome in the end zone. Sanders was toying with them.
Deep Ball Dues: Gunnar Gundy
The freshman didn’t have the game he probably would have liked for his first start, but give the man his dues on a nicely thrown deep ball. And give John Paul Richardson credit for doing what he does best. Catch and running.
Toughest Ride Home: Jaylin Noel
All of those late-game heroics could have been for naught if Jayln Noel would have done his best JPR impression. The Cyclones would have likely taken a one-point lead with four minutes left, putting pressure on Sanders and Co. to at least get down the field into field goal range. Not saying the Cowboys couldn’t have pulled it out, but Noel definitely wishes he had this one to do over again.
Most Enthusiast Tackle: Logan Ward
I’m typing this with my tongue planted firmly in-cheek. We can laugh about this one because OSU won. Ward did rebound with a big-time 49-yard boot to pin ISU deep on its final possession.
He’s filled in admirably for an injured Tom Hutton. On Saturday he averaged 44 yards per punt on eight attempts. Three of those went for over 50 yards and three were downed inside the Cyclones’ 20-yard line.
Biggest Save: Korie Black
An even bigger what-if than the Noel drop is — what if Korie Black doesn’t make this play on the ball? The answer is — OSU almost certainly heads to Bedlam with four losses.
Black had his work cut out for him against the Big 12’s leading receiver Xavier Hutchinson. The “X-Man,” as he’s apparently called, hauled in 10 catches for 106 yards on the Pokes. But he didn’t have that 11th for his first score of the day. Credit that to No. 2.
Best Bedlam Callback: Collin Oliver’s Game-Sealing Sack
With the Cowboys heading to Norman this weekend, it brings to mind Oliver’s sack of Caleb Williams in the waning seconds of last year’s Bedlam win. And he did us one better. He pulled the same trick on Iowa State’s Hunter Dekkers on Saturday.