Oklahoma State needs some help, but its Big 12 title hopes are still alive after a tough win against Iowa State in Ames.
The Cowboys’ chances have been slim since losing to Oklahoma 62-52 last week in Stillwater, but a loss here would have eliminated them from contention for one of the two spots in the Big 12 Championship Game and put Iowa State on a collision course with the winner of Oklahoma-TCU.
Oklahoma State fell behind by two touchdowns early, didn’t get much at all from their All-American receiver James Washington (one reception for 22 yards) because of a lingering injury and still found a way to battle back and win in thrilling fashion behind some huge plays by Mason Rudolph and a game-winning interception by A.J. Green in the final minute.
A few things to know about the win.
Marcell Ateman was a monster with Washington limited. Senior wide receiver Marcell Ateman had just four catches for 97 yards, but two of them were for scores, and one was an absolute monster grab in the end zone on third and 22 to set up the game-tying two-point conversion.
The officials got it right on A.J. Green’s game-winning interception. The home crowd hated the call, but what was an intense and confusing moment on the field was handed well by the Big 12 crew. The call on the field was an interception and a touchback, and then the review left the call on the field in place. Green made a heck of the play on the ball after being challenged by his head coach.
“I said they’re going to throw right at you with their tall guys, you guys need to go up and catch the ball,” Mike Gundy told ESPN after the game. “‘Don’t be so worried about playing, just go catch it.'”
“It’s ironic,” Gundy added jokingly, “because the for the first time in my life, I was right.”
Iowa State followed TCU’s game plan to beat Oklahoma State, but came up short. The Cyclones have done a great job in their biggest wins playing pass defense, and so it set them up perfectly to lean on a pass coverage-heavy game plan against Mason Rudolph. Oklahoma State has seen a lot of teams in Big 12 play drop seven and even eight men into coverage, bracketing the Cowboys’ gifted wide receivers and trying to shut down the passing attack in exchange for the defending the run. That’s set up plenty of opportunities for running back Justice Hill and on Saturday, he cashed in with 134 yards and three touchdowns.
Oklahoma State still needs help to make the Big 12 title game. The Cardiac Cowboys need the loser of Oklahoma-TCU to lose an additional conference game in order to jump that team in the standings and make the conference championship at 7-2. TCU has Texas Tech and Baylor left on the schedule after this week, while Oklahoma has Kansas and West Virginia. Of course, Oklahoma State also has to win its next two games — against Kansas State and Kansas — to stay in the hunt.