Inept offense squanders chance at good bowl
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.
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.