Mike Gundy's aggressive nature has been one of the constants throughout this season for the Oklahoma State football team. The fifth-year coach repeatedly attacked the opposition on the way to a 9-2 record heading into Saturday's Bedlam meeting with Oklahoma.
The Cowboys wavered from that aggressive nature in their 27-0 loss to the Sooners at Owen Field, falling to 9-3 with a likely trip to the Cotton Bowl on the horizon.
It was spurred by a combination of the Sooners' defense and the Cowboys' inability to get any type of offensive momentum or confidence at any point during the shutout loss.
"We had schemes to attack," Gundy said. "We just never could get into a rhythm and use them."
The Pokes' offensive numbers are staggering — six first downs, 109 total yards, 656 total punting yards, 0 of 14 on third down conversion attempts.
"We just weren't making any plays," offensive coordinator Gunter Brewer said. "We didn't make one third down. I think that's where the difference in the ball game was."
OSU's offense couldn't get on track on the ground or through the air. The Cowboys had 62 rushing yards (2.1 per carry) and 47 passing yards (4.7 per play).
"We weren't rolling on all cylinders like we would have liked to," offensive tackle Russell Okung said. "You have to credit OU's defense. They were the most dominating force on the field.
"I wouldn't say that (we needed to be more aggressive). We really didn't play our ball, and OU did. Certain things didn't go our way and we ended up chasing (them) a little bit."
The Cowboys ran their normal offense, but due to the dominate nature of Sooners' defensive tackle Gerald McCoy, they didn't have the success running the ball inside the tackles they've grown accustomed to. And when OSU looked to run the ball outside, defensive end Jeremy Beal accepted the challenge, leading the Sooners with 10 tackles including two for loss.
Keith Toston and Kendall Hunter combined for 20 carries for 71 yards (3.6 yards per carry). OSU's running struggles resulted in several third-and-long situations and the zero third-down conversions.
"We were in so many long yardage situations," Gundy said. "It limited what we could do, which handcuffed us at times."
Said Brewer: "We couldn't convert a third down, that demoralizes the defense when the offense can't get that done."
And while Zac Robinson started the game and played the majority of the snaps, the senior was clearly bothered by his shoulder although he wouldn't allow that to be an excuse.
At the end of the day it came down to the OSU coaches not putting the Cowboys in position to make plays and the players not making the plays when they were.
"The coaches' gameplan obviously wasn't very good," Gundy said. "We have to do a better job putting them in position to have success."
Said defensive end Jermiah Price: "We aren't going to say we should have been more aggressive. We should have made more plays."