The national narrative off Oklahoma State’s fascinating so-close shove of No. 1 Florida State won’t sit well with Cowboys fans.
OSU remains relevant, ready again to contend in the Big 12 and beyond after going toe-to-toe with the college game’s perceived giant?
The message instead, repeated in papers and on blogs and fronting websites across the country:
FSU wasn’t hungry enough.
FSU wasn’t ready enough.
FSU wasn’t interested enough.
And maybe there’s a bit of truth in that, any of that.
But maybe, just maybe, these youthful Cowboys won’t be taking that anticipated step back. They certainly didn’t Saturday night, not even after falling behind 17-0. Not ever, pushing and fighting to the end of the 37-31 loss.
The Cowboys didn’t fear Florida State. And they have no reason to fear anyone else.
So the narrative inside the OSU program will be much different in the days and weeks ahead, because plenty of once-pending questions returned compelling answers Saturday night. Some issues remain, and need to be addressed.
Yet one fascinating night has swung the perspective on this Cowboys season, from rebuilding to ready – ready for whatever and whoever.
What was learned and what lingers:
Kicking concerns. No, an entire offseason of work and attention didn’t fix OSU’s special teams, which were in the crosshairs of all three losses a year ago. And again against FSU. The fallout: a missed 42-yard field goal; two botched punt snaps that led to Seminoles touchdowns.
“Our inability to punt the ball like we need to,” Mike Gundy said, “based on just proper execution, is what… really what cost us the game.
“And so we’ll get that cleaned up.’
Which Walsh? J.W. Walsh remains a polarizing quarterback, frustrating at times, fantastic other times. He’s got his weaknesses. And strengths. And we often see them both in full display every game. Now, can Cowboys coaches put him in position to parlay the strengths into a consistent winning formula?
Go-to who? For all the talk about OSU’s stable of receivers, the search is on for a go-to guy when a play is absolutely needed. Walsh factors into this with his limited arm strength. But Walsh could be aided, too, by a receiver who goes and gets the ball.