Little that happened Saturday afternoon resembled what we expect from an Oklahoma State football game. The Cowboys struggled to make their trademark big plays. They did not score a touchdown in the final three quarters. Mason Rudolph was even held under 300 passing yards for the first time since last December.
It didn't matter.
Thanks to an excruciating interception in overtime, No. 10 Oklahoma State survived an uncharacteristic defensive battle in Austin, beating Texas 13-10.
The Cowboys kicked a 34-yard field goal to start overtime, and the Longhorns had a chance to score a touchdown for the win. It looked like they might after a pass interference penalty in the end zone gave them a first down at the 12-yard line. But on third-and-four at the six, in a situation in which a field goal would extend the game, freshman quarterback Sam Ehlinger rolled left and couldn't find an open receiver. Instead of throwing it away, he lobbed the ball into the end zone toward no teammate, and Ramon Richards came up with the game-winning interception for Oklahoma State.
Pretty, pretty, preeeeeeetay bad interception Texas pic.twitter.com/GgLe7nrLwV- Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) October 21, 2017
It's yet another heartbreaking loss for Texas in Tom Herman's first season. Last week, the Longhorns came from behind to take a lead on Oklahoma, only to lose 29-24. In September, they lost 27-24 in double-OT at USC after taking the lead with 45 seconds left. Ehlinger had moments of brilliance in both games, but in the end on Saturday, a freshman mistake sealed the Cowboys win and dropped Texas to 3-4.
Oklahoma State actually outgained Texas 428-283 and had twice as many first downs (26-13), but the Longhorns defended the Cowboys well, mostly preventing big plays and also pressuring Rudolph. Rudolph completed 25 of 38 passes for 282 yards with no TDs or picks, and Justice Hill grinded out 117 yards on 33 rushes. Rudolph's biggest pass was a 66-yarder to Marcell Ateman made possible by a Texas defensive back stumbling.
But aside from one big pass from Ehlinger to John Burt, who tiptoed down the sideline for a 90-yard gain, Oklahoma State's defense gave little ground, allowing it to survive a lackluster effort from the offense, plus a 29-yard missed field goal with 4:15 left.
No matter how uncharacteristic the win was for Oklahoma State, it was still a big road victory in a spot seemingly ripe for an upset, given the improvement of the Texas defense. The Cowboys are 6-1 overall and 3-1 in the Big 12, and they kept their Big 12 title and playoff hopes intact heading into a big stretch that includes a trip to West Virginia next week before Bedlam against Oklahoma.
As for Texas? It's clearly made strides, and yet it's still having trouble moving forward.
That's ... that's the wrong way. pic.twitter.com/C5vjlfI5y3- ESPN (@espn) October 21, 2017