3 Cowboys Takeaways: Gordon, Presley Lead Oklahoma State 1 Step Closer To Big 12 Championship Game

The Cowboys moved one step closer to a berth in the Big 12 Championship with a 43-30 win over Houston on Saturday. Brennan Presley and Ollie Gordon combined for over 350 total yards of offense as OSU overcame an early 23-9 deficit. Here are your 3 Cowboys Takeaways.

Sunday, November 19th 2023, 4:28 pm

By: Drake Johnson


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It was an ugly start in Houston coming off a no-show performance against UCF.

Down 14-3 after the first quarter and then 23-9 after Ollie Gordon was tackled in the endzone for a safety, Cowboys fans were wondering if the team mailed it in after Bedlam.

Houston aimed to extend the lead before halftime and was set to receive the ball the next half. The defensive possession for Oklahoma State was essentially the last stand for the Cowboys.

They stood tall.

Trey Rucker intercepted an ill-advised pass from Houston quarterback Donovan Smith and took it all the way to the 22-yard line. The Cowboys were in business.

"They were going for blood then, it was debatable what they should have done with the lead they had... that was huge for us at that time. The points yes, but more for the momentum," Gundy said.

Bowman hit receiver Leon Johnson III two plays later for a touchdown and a quick three-and-out for the OSU defense gave the offense the ball back before halftime.

There were just 30 seconds to work with and Bowman completed passes of 27, 7 and 11 yards to give kicker Alex Hale a chip-shot 21-yard field goal as time expired.

Oklahoma State entered the locker room down 23-19 but had all the momentum and used that to outscore the Cougars 24-7 in the second half on the way to the 23-20 win.

Now time for your 3 Cowboys Takeaways.


1st Takeaways: Gundy, Dunn Got Their Offensive Weapons The Ball

It took until the eleventh game of the season, but Brennan Presley finally broke out for a monster offensive output.

Bowman continued to go to Presley all day through the air. He finished with 15 receptions and 189 yards, both career highs.

"Obviously Presley was fantastic," said head coach Mike Gundy after the game. "Overall it was good for us, 500 yards of offense."

Those 15 catches are the second most in school history and six more than he had in any game this season. Cowboys fans expected to see that from the speedy senior a lot more this season.

The wrecking ball that is Ollie Gordon was also at his best on Saturday.

Averaging 6.6 yards per carry, Gordon rebounded from his 25-yard game against UCF with three scores and 164 rushing yards.

Oklahoma St. vs. Houston - Nov. 18, 2023Image Provided By: OSU Athletics

This year, Gordon has had games with 12, 25, 53 and 44 rushing yards. Entering the last week of the regular season, he's the nation's leading rusher.

That's because of nights like Saturday. He ran for over 100 yards in seven of the last eight outings and the Cowboys are 6-2 in the span with a win away from Arlington.

He might have fallen out of true Heisman contention, but he'll be remembered for his dominance this season, especially if the season ends how Cowboys fans want it to.


2nd Takeaway: Bowman's Inconsistent, But Saturday Was Great

It's clear at this point that Gundy made the right choice with Bowman as the starter after the debacle known in Stillwater as the three-quarterback system to start the season.

This year, he's completing 59 percent of his passes and has 2,487 passing yards with 10 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. A third of those turnovers came last week against UCF and he doesn't get sacked much, just 5 times this season and once in the last five games.

The formula is well-known for the offense and OSU this season: Rely on Gordon, let Bowman throw it over the top as the defense sells for the run.

It's hard to do that when your team's down two scores early in the game.

Alan Bowman vs. Houston - Nov. 18, 2023Image Provided By: Associated Press

Many questioned whether Bowman could throw when the defense knew it was coming, or if he could play with a deficit. He proved on Saturday that he can.

Bowman went 29 of 43 for 348 yards and 2 touchdowns. That's the fifth time he's thrown for that many scores in a game this season and the most passing yards he's had in a Cowboys uniform.

Next week, the Cowboys are heavy favorites over a BYU team that will be fighting for a bowl berth, so Bowman and the offense better be ready for everything the Cougars have.


3rd Takeaway: Nick Martin Anchors The Cowboys' Defense

The six-foot sophomore from Texarkana wears number 4 on the field, you may have seen him, especially against Houston.

The 2023 season has been a breakout one for the Cowboys defensive leader. He had 12 tackles on Saturday, 11 of them solo, and that's the fifth time this season he's crossed double-digit tackles.

He's not a sack machine or a ball hawk, he's the anchor.

His emergence combined with Trey Rucker and Collin Oliver keeps the Cowboys' defense respectable. Rucker was the only other Cowboys defender with double-digit tackles on Saturday.

It's no unit like Stillwater boasted in 2021 but certainly has the pieces that can be built into something special in the new Big 12 next year.

Up next, the Cowboys look to clinch a spot in the Big 12 Championship with a win over BYU in Stillwater at 2:30 p.m. on ABC.

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