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In­ept of­fense squan­ders chance at good bowl

The Oklahoman (Sunday) - - COWBOY POSTGAME -

nearly full moon hung over Satur­day night’s pro­ceed­ings be­tween Ok­la­homa State and TCU.

Maybe that ce­les­tial event ex­plains what hap­pened to the Cow­boy of­fense.

OSU looked noth­ing like the team that up­ended West Vir­ginia and Texas, noth­ing like the team that nearly took down Ok­la­homa, noth­ing like the team that be­came a spoiler ex­traor­dinare over the past month.

For the bet­ter part of three quar­ters, they looked like schlubs — and it cost them dearly.

TCU 31, OSU 24.

On a night when the de­fense played de­cently, well enough ac­tu­ally to win, the of­fense was largely dread­ful. It was so bad the Cow­boys blew a chance to se­cure it­self a nice bowl in­vite. To go some­where their fans would like. To play a game some­where a bunch of their re­cruits might live.

In­stead, OSU is go­ing to have to take what­ever bowl in­vite it gets next week­end, and it’s go­ing

to have to like it.

If the Lib­erty Bowl says, “You’re coming to Mem­phis,” the Cow­boys need to say, “We hear it is lovely there in late De­cem­ber.”

If the Cheez-It Bowl says, “You’ll be spend­ing the en­tire week be­fore Christ­mas with us,” OSU needs to say, “We can’t wait.”

If the Armed Forces Bowl says, “See you back at Amon G. Carter Sta­dium in a few weeks,” the Cow­boys need to grin and bear it.

They had a chance to go to Hous­ton for the Texas Bowl or maybe even Or­lando for an en­core per­for­mance at the Camp­ing World Bowl, but af­ter the way they played Satur­day, it’s hard to see how those bowls would be all that fired up about the Cow­boys. Sure, the bowl might get the bunch that lit up the ranked teams on its sched­ule. Or it might get the team that we saw Satur­day.

There was of­fen­sive in­ep­ti­tude at lev­els we haven’t seen in years.

The Cow­boys had only 61 yards of of­fense and just one play of 10 yards or more at half­time. They had as many penal­ties (three) as they had first downs (three). Be­cause of a turnover that gave the Cow­boys the ball in the red zone, they did man­age three points.

To think that just last week in the sec­ond half against West Vir­ginia, OSU scored 31 points and rolled up 396 yards.

This wasn’t the same team. It was lack­lus­ter in scheme and ac­tion. There was no ur­gency, no juice, just lots of lat­eral passes and runs up the gut.

Things didn’t im­prove right away af­ter half­time. On their first three pos­ses­sions of the sec­ond half, the Cow­boys had mi­nus-9 yards. All told, OSU man­aged a grand to­tal of 57 yards on its first 10 pos­ses­sions. Av­er­aged 1.5 yards a play. Had al­most as many turnovers (two) as points (three). Had as many first downs (seven) as punts (seven).

The Cow­boys fi­nally got things go­ing with a 10-play, 69-yard touch­down drive that more than dou­bled their yardage to­tal, then put to­gether two more touch­down drives af­ter that. But the dam­age was al­ready done. OSU had dug a hole that was too deep to climb out of.

Even with their late push, the Cow­boys man­aged a mere 280 yards of of­fense, their first time be­low 300 yards since Texas in 2014.

Now, the Cow­boys are left to await their fate. The bowl in­vites won’t be ex­tended un­til next Sun­day, but OSU had a chance to make a fi­nal state­ment.

In­stead, it seemed largely unin­spired.

The Cow­boys had so much pos­i­tive mo­men­tum go­ing into this week­end, but Satur­day night, it went splat. Maybe they’ll get lucky and get a great bowl as­sign­ment. Maybe not. What­ever hap­pens, they have to ac­cept it.

They’re get­ting what they de­serve.

Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 405-475-4125 or jcarl­[email protected]­la­homan.com. Like her at face­book.com/ Jen­niCarl­sonOK, fol­low her at twit­ter.com/jen­ni­carl­son_ok or view her per­son­al­ity page at newsok.com/jen­ni­carl­son.

Jenni Carlson jcarl­[email protected] ok­la­homan.com

[PHOTO BY TOM FOX, THE DAL­LAS MORN­ING NEWS VIA AP]

TCU de­fen­sive end Ben Banogu, left, and line­backer Jawuan John­son wrap up Ok­la­homa State quar­ter­back Tay­lor Cor­nelius dur­ing Satur­day’s game in Fort Worth, Texas.

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