LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) — Mike Gundy was an Oklahoma State quarterback who handed the ball off to Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas. As the Big 12’s longest-tenured coach, he has overseen many big-play and high-scoring offenses led by other All-Americans.
Now Gundy is just trying to stay out of the way with the seventh-ranked Cowboys being defensive-minded and headed to their first Big 12 championship game.
“It’s just important that we stay the course,” Gundy said. “I just let everybody do their job, not mess with them.”
The Cowboys (10-1, 7-1 Big 12) have a suffocating defense that is demoralizing opposing teams and their quarterbacks, allowing 164.3 yards per game and only one offensive touchdown in their past four games. The latest was a 23-0 win Saturday night against a Texas Tech team that hadn’t been shut out at home since 1987 — when Gundy, now the 17th-year coach, was still quarterback for the Cowboys playing in a different conference.
Asked if he could sense on the sideline how much the defense wanted a shutout when the Cowboys locked up their title game spot, Gundy responded, “I stay as far away as I can, so I don’t mess them up.”
Before playing in the Big 12 championship game, Oklahoma State is host to the Bedlam Bowl in what could be the first of two games in two weeks against 10th-ranked Oklahoma (10-1, 7-1). The six-time defending Big 12 champion Sooners get into the Dec. 4 title game with a win next Saturday night against the Cowboys, or a loss by ninth-ranked Baylor (9-2, 6-2) earlier that day to Texas Tech.
“This is why I came back ... to get a Big 12 championship, and honestly beat OU,” said linebacker Devin Harper, one of Oklahoma State’s super seniors.
For the Cowboys, who haven’t beaten Oklahoma since 2014 or won a conference title since 2011 when there wasn’t a Big 12 championship game, there could be even bigger things this season.
Oklahoma State will certainly move up from ninth in the new College Football Playoff ranking this week after lopsided losses Saturday by Oregon and Michigan State ahead of them. The Cowboys then have the opportunity to get two victories against 10-win teams, whether twice against Oklahoma or once each versus the Sooners and Baylor, which would have to get its 10th win to play in the Big 12 title game.
The Red Raiders, who had scored in 302 consecutive games since a shutout loss at Nebraska in 1997 a decade after last being held scoreless at home, didn’t even reach 100 yards in total offense until a 25-yard pass on the final drive. The Red Raiders finished with 108 yards on 57 plays, including 13 that lost yards and 21 incomplete passes.
Texas Tech redshirt quarterback Donovan Smith, who was 25-of-35 passing for 322 yards and three touchdowns against Iowa State in his first start the previous week, finished 9 of 29 for 83 yards. Texas Tech had only 31 yards in the first half, including two completions for negative yards.
Oklahoma State receiver Tay Martin had seven catches for 130 yards.
No. 12 Oklahoma 28,
Iowa State 21
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) — Oklahoma’s imperfect season still could end with a Big 12 championship, and possibly more.
Caleb Williams passed for a touchdown Saturday and ran for another, Jalen Redmond returned a fumble for a score, and No. 12 Oklahoma beat Iowa State 28-21.
Kennedy Brooks ran for 115 yards for the Sooners (10-1, 7-1 Big 12, No. 13 CFP), who bounced back from a loss to Baylor and solidified their chances of reaching the Big 12 title game and winning a seventh straight conference title. They also kept alive their slim College Football Playoff hopes and did their part to set up a showdown with No. 9 Oklahoma State next Saturday to close the regular season.
The Sooners pushed through, despite at times missing more than 20 players during the week with the flu.
Iowa State tight end Charlie Kolar, playing in his hometown, had career highs of 12 catches and 152 yards. Brock Purdy passed for 281 yards and a touchdown for the Cyclones (6-5, 4-4), who were eliminated from the Big 12 title race.
The Cyclones took the ball at their own 14-yard line, trailing 28-21 with two minutes left in the game. They drove to the Oklahoma 21, but Pat Fields intercepted a pass by Purdy with 15 seconds remaining to end the threat.
Williams broke loose for a 74-yard touchdown run — the longest play of the season for the Sooners — to tie the game 7-7 in the first quarter.
Late in the second quarter, Iowa State drove into Oklahoma territory. OU’s Key Lawrence jarred the ball loose from Purdy, and Redmond got the perfect bounce in stride and took it 42 yards for a touchdown. The score gave the Sooners a 14-7 lead with nine seconds left in the first half.
Williams found Mario Williams in the end zone for an 11-yard score to increase Oklahoma’s lead 21-7 late in the third.
Andrew Mevis ran 29 yards on a fake punt early in the fourth quarter to put the Cyclones in Oklahoma territory. Later in the drive, backup Hunter Dekkers — in for the shaken-up Purdy — connected with Chase Allen to cut the deficit to 21-14.
Oklahoma later added a five-play, 68-yard drive — all running plays — that ended with a 7-yard touchdown run by Eric Gray with 5:06 remaining. Brooks ran for 45 yards on three carries on the drive.
Kolar caught a 2-yard touchdown pass from Purdy to cut it to 28-21 with 2:57 remaining, setting up the dramatic finish.
Texas Christian 31, Kansas 28
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Griffin Kell kicked a 25-yard field goal with 11 seconds to play Saturday to lead Texas Christian to a 31-28 home victory against Kansas.
Kell’s field goal capped a 14-play, 67-yard drive after the Jayhawks had rallied from a 14-point deficit to tie the score. Texas Christian ran four plays inside the Kansas 15-yard line to set up the kick.
Kansas (2-9, 1-7 Big 12) trailed 28-14 early in the fourth quarter before Jalon Daniels threw touchdown passes of 28 yards to Luke Grimm and 10 yards to Jared Casey, the unlikely overtime hero in the win last week at Texas that snapped a 56-game Big 12 losing streak.
Max Duggan ran for a touchdown and passed for 166 yards in his first game since October for the Horned Frogs (5-6, 3-5 Big 12). Duggan, who missed TCU’s two previous games with a foot injury, set up the score with a 42-yard sprint down the left sideline to the 2.
Casey caught a 10-yard touchdown pass lofted over the middle with 4:46 to play, and the PAT tied the score at 28. Casey, the walk-on redshirt freshman who scored last week’s winning 2-point conversion, caught three passes for 26 yards.
TCU also scored on a 43-yard reverse by receiver Derius Davis in the first period, a 56-yard run by Kendre Miller in the second quarter and a 1-yard run by Amari Demercado early in the fourth to cap a 99-yard drive.
Miller, who missed last week’s game with injured ribs, ran for 112 yards, 100 in the second half.
Kansas quarterback Jalon Daniels ran for a 14-yard touchdown in the first quarter and threw a 28-yard touchdown pass to Luke Grimm in the fourth quarter.
The Jayhawks led 14-7 early in the second quarter following Daniels’ scoring run and a 2-yard burst by running back Devin Neal 2 1/2 minutes into the second quarter.
Neal, the freshman who leads Kansas’ in rushing, didn’t return after being shaken up late in the first half. He gained 59 yards after rushing for 145 last week at Texas.
Daniels, a sophomore, made his second start after junior Jason Bean suffered a hand injury. Bean played a few snaps Saturday as a running back.
No. 11 Baylor 20,
Kansas State 10
MANHATTAN (AP) — Baylor had played poorly on the road all season, and was locked in another tight tussle with red-hot Kansas State, when quarterback Gerry Bohanon grabbed his right hamstring heading out of bounds in the first half Saturday night.
Nothing to worry about.
Just call on a redshirt freshman who’d thrown three career passes.
Blake Shapen completed 16 of 21 passes for 137 yards to steady the Bears on offense, and their defense smothered Kansas State, helping secure a 20-10 victory that kept their Big 12 title hopes alive.
Shapen got some help from Trestan Ebner, who ran for 86 yards and a touchdown, and Tyquan Thornton, who had five catches for 75 yards, as the Bears (9-2, 6-2 Big 12) won their fourth straight against Kansas State.
The Wildcats (7-4, 4-4) muffed a punt that led to the game’s first points, and Chris Tennant missed a 39-yard field goal that would have made it a one-possession game with 10 minutes to go.
Sixth-year senior Skylar Thompson was just 15 of 29 for 158 yards before leaving with an injury in the fourth quarter of his final home game. Deuce Vaughn had 128 yards rushing for the Wildcats, but most of it came on a 65-yard TD run.
Despite throwing just three passes all season, Bohanon’s understudy was ready to go.
After the Wildcats kicked a field goal to get within 17-10 in the third quarter, Shapen led the Bears on an 82-yard drive that included a crucial third-down throw to Ebner for a first down. Isaiah Hankins capped it with another field goal to make it a two-possession game with 13 1/2 minutes left, and the Bears held on the rest of the way.