The Cowboys gained some separation from the middle of the Big 12 standings and in the search for bigger better bowl destinations Saturday night.
But their separation wasn't limited to the field.
The postgame comparison between OSU and West Virginia revealed quite a contrast, too. And with that, perhaps, some insight into the whys and hows of the Cowboys' continued success at a time when lesser squads might be showing major cracks.
After OSU's surge to a 55-34 win, Cowboys linebacker Caleb Lavey reflected on his team's toughness and resolve, no matter the situation.
“We're a relentless team,” Lavey said. “We've had some setbacks. We've had some stuff happen to the team. But we're a team that's going to push through it.
“That's what makes this team different from other teams. We're just going to continue to press on and push ourselves.”
The Cowboys keep pushing past adversity, improving to 6-3 overall and 4-2 in the Big 12 Conference.
Despite needing three quarterbacks to start — and win — league games.
Despite so many injuries, and not just at quarterback.
Despite a growing reliance on young players on both sides of the ball.
Lavey hinted at how they're doing it, with intangibles in play.
So, too, did Mountaineers coach Dana Holgorsen, who seems to have gained some keen insight into the inner workings of OSU's football program in his 10 months in Stillwater.
“OSU is a team that gives a lot of effort,” Holgorsen said. “They go out there each game and play for each other, play for their school and play to win.”
There's some reading between the lines here, but those comments came after Holgorsen's team — a team picked to win the Big 12 by many and overflowing with offensive talent — had lost its fourth straight game.
Mountaineers quarterback Geno Smith walked off the Boone Pickens Stadium turf with tears streaming from his eyes, then screamed obscenities for all to hear, voicing his displeasure.
Clearly, something's working for the Cowboys.
And missing with the Mountaineers.
“OSU has some great things going on,” Holgorsen said. “And they're a good team.”
The Cowboys keep revealing talent, even through the injuries and defections that date back to the offseason.
Three quarterbacks have directed Big 12 wins, seriously?
Every player who's had a hand in an OSU touchdown is expected back next season. And the two-deep for Saturday night's game featured just seven seniors for 44 spots on offense and defense.
But there's more at work here, too. More under the surface and more going on within the walls of the west end zone locker room of Boone Pickens Stadium.
Cowboys coach Mike Gundy has worked hard on creating an atmosphere of team and trust. And it seems to have taken hold.
“I feel good about our effort and our team,” Gundy said. “I feel good about our coaching staff. I like our chemistry. I like the camaraderie of who we are and where we're going.”