STILLWATER, Okla. (AP) — Mike Gundy has coached some of the top offensive teams in school history at Oklahoma State, including the one two years ago that was a loss to Iowa State away from playing for the national championship.
After a comeback victory over Kansas State on Saturday, the Cowboys' 14th win in their last 15 games at home, Gundy was ready to leave the past behind and focus on what he sees as an improving team this season.
No. 22 Oklahoma State (4-1, 1-1 Big 12 Conference) escaped with a 33-29 victory over the Wildcats (2-3, 0-2) thanks to a six-play, 75-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter, one engineered by quarterback J.W. Walsh.
It was a well-timed bit of offensive output for Walsh and the Cowboys, who had struggled offensively for much of the second half — failing to gain so much as a first down in the third quarter.
Regardless of how they earned the win, Gundy was just relieved that Oklahoma State — the preseason Big 12 favorite — bounced back from a surprising loss a week earlier at West Virginia.
The ninth-year coach was also ready to keep the focus on the expectations for this year's Cowboys, not the offensive juggernauts the school has been known for in recent years.
"I think we're getting better, but the comparison you make for the offense that's been around here for 6-7 years is, at some point, a little unfair," Gundy said. "It's not like you can just continue to do it forever."
Oklahoma State has its second bye this week before returning to action at home against TCU on Oct. 19. The time off will give Gundy extra time to correct an offense that's suddenly gone cold in the red zone.
The Cowboys opened their season 3-0, including a season-opening win over Mississippi State, doing so by scoring on all 15 of their trips inside the red zone. However, in the 30-21 loss to the Mountaineers last week, Oklahoma State advanced inside the 20 just once — coming away with nothing.
On the surface, the red-zone offense was much improved on Saturday, with the Cowboys coming away with points in seven of eight trips inside the Kansas State 20-yard line.
The problem was that four of those trips resulted in field goals, not touchdowns.
Luckily for Oklahoma State, kicker Ben Grogan — who entered the game 1 of 4 this season — bounced back from a pair of misses against West Virginia.