Welcome to conference play, Cowboys.
The Cowboys finally got off to a quick start, putting up 21 points in the first quarter. Spencer Sanders looked both confident and comfortable, making plays and smart decisions.
Sanders stayed even-keeled, even in mistakes. Tonight, he made plays, hit targets - wasn’t perfect - but who is? He commanded the team, no matter what was happening.
Finally looking like a whole team, they put up 481 yards and held Kansas State to nearly half that, at just 260 yards of offense. The Oklahoma State defense has looked strong this season so far, but now the offense is joining and holding their own.
The home crowd was alive tonight in Stillwater - definitely a perk.
Even without scoring at all in the second half, Oklahoma State maintained a comfortable lead over Kansas State, 31-20.
First Takeaway: The Offense Is Alive
There’s life in Stillwater.
Even though the Cowboys have won all three previous games, it kinda just now feels like the offense is waking up.
A first quarter with 21 points, compared to an entire game last week with 21 points? This is good.
The running game is moving, led by Jaylen Warren coming off an astounding performance last week against Boise State. In the throwing game, Spencer Sanders was 11-15 for 194 yards in just the first half. He ended the game with two touchdown completions and 344 yards.
By the end of the game, the Cowboys offense had 31 points, with 481 total yards. It’s a great change from the previous games.
It finally looks like they want it. The energy is there, the effort is there, and the plays are clicking. The offense was able to put together not just plays, but drives. Let’s now look forward to putting together a full game, not just play it in halves.
Second Takeaway: A Full Game
Let’s put together a full game.
The Cowboys came out rolling. I’ll be honest, I was so thrilled, it was incredible to see Oklahoma State come out running in the first half. The connections were gorgeous.
The second half, eh, we need some work. It was exciting to see a first half featuring both offense, defense and special teams playing the game on all sides. But there were no points scored in the second half. It’s going to be important for Oklahoma State moving forward in conference play to be able to put together an entire half.
I wish I had more to say, and I know it’s anything but simple, but a full game is four quarters and Oklahoma State needs to put up a full four quarters of football.
Third Takeaway: A Leader Makes A Difference
Every team needs a leader. And not just a leader, but a good one, who handles the good, the bad and everything in between.
Sanders, even amid mistakes, stays even keeled. Fans may not always be enthralled with every play, every pass, but they should appreciate his attitude and poise.
It seems that Sanders understands not only the football specifics of his position, but also the leadership particulars. Although it may not always be pretty, he has managed to lead this team to a 4-0 season so far.
It’s important to never underestimate the power of a strong leader. Doesn’t need to be the most vocal, or miraculous, or the only one putting up points - they just need to lead.
While we don’t know what exactly Sanders is like in the locker room, or the huddle, or in practice, it’s evident that he’s making strides with his players and keeps moving his team forward.