AMES, Iowa – Any script for a season-spoiling loss at Iowa State figured to demand several certain plot points.
* Too many turnovers.
* Dropped passes.
* Missed tackles.
* Kicking game failures.
For Oklahoma State, the script played out, making Friday's 37-31 double-overtime loss to Iowa State all the more painful.
“It's gonna sting,” said Cowboys quarterback Brandon Weeden, who threw three interceptions, the last in the second overtime.
And there were plenty of other mistakes to provide haunting “what ifs” for weeks and months and years ahead.
“That's going to be a hard one,” said offensive coordinator Todd Monken, fighting off emotions. “A hard one to take for a long time. It really is.
“I'm disappointed for our kids. Give (Iowa State) credit. Give their coaches credit, did a great job of scheming us up. When we had our opportunities, we didn't take advantage of it.”
And the Cowboys had opportunities against an Iowa State program that was 0-56-2 against teams ranked sixth or higher in the AP poll.
They led 24-7 after the first possession of the second half, but didn't score again until the first overtime.
They totaled 536 yards of offense, yet could muster but 60 on the ground against one of the nation's worst run defenses, turning the offense one-dimensional.
They came up short repeatedly on key third downs and saw Quinn Sharp miss a 37-yard field goal with 1:17 left in regulation that likely would have won it. Sharp had made 14-of-15 inside of 40 yards before that miss.
They gave the ball away five times, with running back Joseph Randle losing two fumbles in addition to Weeden's interceptions.
“It always goes back to turnovers,” Weeden said. “You can't give them five more possessions. I tip my hat, they came out and played very hard, did some good things defensively.”
On two of the interceptions, Weeden's passes were tipped.
“Balls going straight up in the air,” he said. “Those are things you can't really control, but they're still on me. As a quarterback, they're on me.
“I've got to find a way to make a throw and avoid hands over head, that's just a part of playing quarterback.”
Randle was benched a long while after his second fumble, but his replacement, Jeremy Smith, dropped two passes during one fourth-quarter drive.
“We talk all year offensively about doing the little things right,” Monken said, “taking care of the football, and we didn't do that. And when you don't do that, you're going to lose a bunch of games.”
Defensively, the Cowboys struggled to corral Iowa State quarterback Jared Barnett, who ran for 84 yards and passed for 376 and three touchdowns.
“The quarterback's a very good athlete, we knew that going in,” said OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young. “He made us look silly at times.”
In the first overtime, the Cyclones made the Cowboys look silly again, scoring on the first play with Barnett hitting a wide-open James White out of the backfield for a go-ahead touchdown.
“Excellent call in the overtime,” Young said, “when they ran the wheel route out the back end, a play we hadn't seen.”
In the second overtime, after Weeden was picked off, the Cyclones bulled their way into the end zone with Jeff Woody runs of 6, 15 and 4 yards.
“We were in a blitz to supposedly stop that run,” Young said. “We knew they were going to do that and try to set up a field goal. We were bringing an all-out blitz trying to stop that, but obviously we didn't get it done.”
As only it could be scripted.
“There's definitely a lot of plays we wish we could have back,” said Cowboys receiver Tracy Moore. “But we can't.”