Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
Oklahoma State almost fell into the same trap that it did in 2011. Key word: almost.
Mason Rudolph and J.W. Walsh combined their powers yet again to lead the No. 8 Cowboys (10-0, 7-0) to a wild 35-31 come-from-behind win over Iowa State on Saturday. OSU’s dream season is very much alive.
The Cowboys lost their BCS Title hopes on a Thursday night in Ames back in 2011. OSU entered that game at 10-0, just two wins from the championship game, but Iowa State ended their dreams with a 2-OT win. This one had a very similar ring to it.
Iowa State opened up a 17-7 lead and took that into the second quarter. OSU tried to inch closer with a Ben Grogan field goal, but the junior kicker missed a 28-yarder and the atmosphere at Jack Trice Stadium only intensified.
ISU marched right down the field for 80 yards on 11 plays and went up 24-7 on a Joshua Thomas touchdown run. It felt like déjà vu.
But that was OSU’s low point. The Pokes got back on the horse on their next drive and rode 88 yards for a Chris Carson touchdown. The 24-14 deficit held until halftime.
OSU opened the second half with a 14-play drive that took more than six minutes off the clock. Walsh scampered into the end zone to bring the Cowboys within three. Things felt good again, but it wouldn’t last long.
Tight end Blake Jarwin coughed one up on OSU’s next drive, and Iowa State cashed it in four plays later. Quarterback Joel Lanning kept a read and ran 22 yards to the house to put the Cyclones back up double digits.
The Cowboys needed someone to step up and save them, and their senior quarterback was the man for the job. Walsh capped a 58-yard drive with a 16-yard keeper for his second rushing touchdown of the day.
OSU’s defense got the stop it needed, but time was running low. The Pokes got it back with less than eight minutes to play and Rudolph went to work. Rudolph found James Washington for 19 yards. Then Washington again for 15. Two plays later, he found David Glidden for 31. Then Glidden again for 13.
And finally, with just 3:06 left to play, Walsh hit Jeff Carr for a 7-yard touchdown to give OSU its first lead of the day at 35-31.
Jordan Sterns intercepted Lanning to put the Cowboys’ win on ice.
This win means a lot in the big picture and is making an imprint in the Oklahoma State history books. OSU has a 10-win season for the fourth time under coach Mike Gundy and is 10-0 for just the second time ever. In addition, the Cowboys’ current 12-game winning streak is their longest since 1946.
Rudolph threw for 327 yards and a touchdown with no picks. Walsh threw twice for 16 yards and a score, and ran for 28 yards and a pair of scores. Walsh was responsible for OSU’s final 21 points.
Carson ran for 70 yards and the one touchdown while Marcell Ateman led the receiving corps with eight catches for 132 yards and a score. James Washington, OSU’s top weapon, was held to four catches for 48 yards.
OSU hosts Baylor next Saturday in Stillwater in what could be the biggest game in school history.