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OSU Defense Falters As Cowboys Lose Nail-Biter Against Texas

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STILLWATER, Oklahoma -

Oklahoma State hadn't been able to get Texas off the field on third down all game. At one point, UT quarterback David Ash was a perfect 8-for-8 on third-down passes.

OSU's defense was tasked with stopping the No. 12 Longhorns on a third-and-10 with time running out on Texas late in the fourth quarter. Ash dropped back and checked down through his options, eventually dumping it off Jeremy Hills. Hills was instantly dragged down from behind by OSU linebacker Alex Elkins six yards shy of the first down, sending a lively Boone Pickens Stadium crowd into hysterics.

Unfortunately for the Cowboys, Texas still had one more play.

On fourth-and-6, OSU had Texas backed up at its own 29-yard line with a 36-34 lead. Stop the Longhorns and win the game. But Ash dropped back, had plenty of time and delivered a strike to D.J. Grant who proceeded to take the ball 29 yards down the field for a pivotal first down.

Then two plays later, Ash broke the Cowboys' spirits even more when he connected on a 32-yard jump ball with receiver Mike Davis over the out-stretched arm of OSU corner Justin Gilbert to set UT up at the 5-yard line with time ticking away.

Then Joe Bergeron bulled his way into the end zone for a game-winning touchdown that will be under the national microscope for the foreseeable future.

Did Bergeron fumble? Probably.

Replay seems to point to him coughing the ball up, which OSU's Daytawion Lowe recovered but there was insufficient video evidence to overturn the call on the field.

But the fact of the matter is OSU's defense could have prevented it from even being an issue earlier in the drive. But the Cowboy defense faltered time and time again, as Ash routinely carved up an OSU secondary that was believed to be a backbone of the team heading into the season.

Ash completed 30-of-37 passes but none more important than the two on the game-winning drive. Texas came up with the big plays, OSU's defense didn't. There was no replay needed to see that.

The Cowboys' run defense put forth a solid effort, limiting Texas to just 136 yards on the ground on 3.2 yards per carry but the pass defense didn't hold up its end of the bargain. Ash threw for 304 yards and three touchdowns but it was the timing of some of the plays that told the story more than the numbers.

The defensive collapse takes away from a collection of impressive performances on the OSU offense.

If you didn't already know it was freshman J.W. Walsh's first college start at quarterback it would have been hard to guess it. Walsh looked poised and in command of a limited version of the playbook, connecting on 18-of-27 passes for 301 yards and touchdown strikes of 44 and 20 yards. He also showed off his wheels with 57 rushing yards, highlighted by a 50-yard scamper in the third quarter.

As solid as Walsh was, a lot of the credit can be given to running back Joseph Randle. For OSU to have success passing the ball, it was widely discussed that OSU would have to establish the run game.

Randle accomplished that goal with flying colors.

The junior running back exploded for a 69-yard touchdown on the game's opening drive and proceeded to rush for 199 yards and two scores on 8-yards per carry.

With a backup quarterback, Oklahoma State managed to put up 582 yards on a stout Longhorn defense that had allowed an average of 328 yards per game entering the contest.

But OSU's offense didn't have enough at the end to overcome the team's defensive failures, as Charlie Moore was thrown out of bounds after a 42-yard multi-lateral effort as time expired.

OSU's offense gave the Cowboys ample opportunities for a third-straight victory against Texas, but the defense let this one slip away.

OSU drops to 2-2 on the season and has a bye week before traveling to Kansas on Oct. 13.

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