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Okahoma State Football: How the Cowboys turned over their upset chances

COMMENTARY — Beating Kansas State was going to be tough enough before the Cowboys started beating themselves.
by Jenni Carlson Published: November 4, 2012

MANHATTAN, Kan. — Oklahoma State knew it could venture into the Wildcat Den and beat the second-ranked team in all the land.

Under one condition.

“We can't give 'em free points,” Cowboy captain Quinn Sharp said of the top priority against Kansas State.

Can't turn the ball over.

Can't surrender momentum.

Unfortunately for the Cowboys, they did just that time and again. And again. And again. And again.

K-State 44, OSU 30.

On a night when the Cowboys had a chance to get back within one score in the final minutes of the game, it was fitting that their final drive ended in an interception. Turnovers were the story of this game with the Cowboys committing five big ones and the Wildcats committing none.

“They're a great team,” Sharp said of the Wildcats. “But you can't turn the ball over five times and expect to beat the No. 2 ranked team in the country.”

No doubt about that.

And yet, the Cowboys still had a chance to make things interesting even playing with their third-string quarterback.

More on that in a minute.

The Cowboys had a perfect start to this game. The defense forced Collin Klein and the Wildcats to punt on their first possession, then the offense scored on a quick six-play, 80-yard drive that was capped with a big 54-yard touchdown pass from Wes Lunt to Austin Hays.

The momentum swung quickly to the Cowboys. Suddenly, the idea of a team with a true freshman quarterback going on the road and knocking off the second-ranked team in the country seemed possible.

Even after K-State took a 10-7 lead early in the second quarter, OSU had no reason to panic. The offense was moving the ball, and the defense was hanging in there against Optimus Klein.

Then, Joe Randle fumbled.

Worse, he did so deep in OSU territory.

Just like that, momentum had swung to the Wildcats, and they capitalized. Six plays later, John Hubert bowled into the end zone.

The Cowboys tried their darnedest to match the Wildcats' punches.

After Hubert's run, there was a Sharp field goal.

After a 100-yard kickoff return by Tyler Lockett, there was an 80-yard kickoff return by Cowboy reserve Desmond Roland.

Continue reading this story on the...

by Jenni Carlson
Reporter and Columnist
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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