STILLWATER — Several different descriptions can be used to describe Oklahoma State's 38-35 win over Texas A&M.
Shocking. Exciting. Ugly. Mistake-filled. High-scoring. Explosive. Unusual.
But one word is all that matters for OSU: Win.
Here's a closer look at five key stats which show the unusual nature of the Cowboys victory, why they mattered on Thursday and how those results may affect the Pokes moving forward:
* Texas A&M ran 106 plays, OSU ran 68 plays
Analysis: The Cowboys defense playing 106 snaps tested OSU's depth unlike ever before this season. Several youngsters were forced into action at critical moments and made plays. The Aggies longest drives came on their final two scoring possessions, most likely because the Cowboys defense ran out of gas.
Moving forward: OSU has to feel better about their depth. Youngsters like Shaun Lewis made big plays in their first Big 12 action and those quality reps should pay off the rest of the season.
* Texas A&M converted 11 of 21 third downs and 4 of 5 fourth downs
Analysis: It's very rare a team wins a game while struggling to stop the opponent on third down. The Aggies converted 52 percent of its third down opportunities and 80 percent of fourth down opportunities. Only five forced turnovers kept this stat from costing the Pokes the game.
Moving forward: "We have to do a better job of rushing the passer, you have to get pressure on the quarterback," said OSU coach Mike Gundy. OSU needs Ugo Chinasa to play like he did against A&M consistently while Jamie Blatnick and Richetti Jones need to emerge as consistent threats off the edge.
* After starting the game with three punts and three turnovers on their first six possessions, OSU scored touchdowns on five of its next six possessions.
Analysis: When OSU's offense finds a rhythm, it's extremely difficult to stop. And the key to finding a rhythm seems to be quarterback Brandon Weeden getting comfortable and being confident in the pocket. Weeden appeared uncomfortable the first six possessions and much more comfortable the second six possessions.
Moving forward: Defenses will focus their game plans on making Weeden uncomfortable. Weeden is getting better with his pocket presence but remember he's only made four starts during his career. Expect Holgorsen to do whatever it takes to make Weeden comfortable and confident early in games throughout October and November.
* A&M gained 535 total yards while OSU gained 351 yet the Cowboys averaged more yards per play (5.2 to 5.0).
Analysis: Those numbers show that Texas A&M's offense wasn't more explosive than OSU's on Thursday, they just had more opportunities. Not to mention the Aggies gained 160 of those yards on their final two scoring drives with OSU's defense playing to protect the lead.
Moving forward: The Pokes' defense gave up plenty of points and yardage but still had a pretty good game considering what they were forced to overcome. It appears Bill Young's defense will be solid and contribute game-changing plays in 2010 even though they spend more time on the field than they did in 2009.
* OSU had 67 rushing yards yet had a 100-yard rusher in Kendall Hunter.
Analysis: Maybe the oddest stat of them all. Hunter finished with 22 carries, 101 rushing yards and two touchdowns for OSU. The Cowboys' net rushing total was only 67 because of a sack and a busted reverse. Getting Hunter involved early in the third quarter is what jump-started the Cowboys offense and led to a 21-point quarter. Joseph Randle had one carry for five yards, Jeremy Smith had zero carries.
Moving forward: It's critical that Randle and Smith begin to emerge and force the OSU coaching staff to gameplan to get them the ball. Hunter is carrying the load right now so having those youngsters step up would make for a healthier, fresher Hunter down the stretch.