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Oklahoma State football: Cowboys struggle to get off the field on 3rd, 4th down in 41-36 loss

BY GINA MIZELL, Staff Writer, Modified: September 29, 2012 at 11:19 pm •  Published: September 29, 2012

STILLWATER — Alex Elkins immediately jumped up and celebrated after stopping Jeremy Hills short of the sticks.

One problem: It was third down.

There was still another chance for No. 12 Texas, with the Longhorns down two in the game's final two minutes. And on the next play, quarterback David Ash found D.J. Grant over the middle then down the sideline for a 29-yard gain and a first down.

Then, Ash found Mike Davis leaping over Justin Gilbert near the sideline for a 32-yard grab, which got UT to the OSU 5-yard line. Two plays later, running back Joe Bergeron found the end zone with less than 30 seconds remaining.

Touchdown Longhorns. Ballgame Longhorns.

On a night when the Cowboy running game racked up 275 yards while picking up an offense that was without injured starting quarterback Wes Lunt — and in relief, Walsh threw for 301 yards and two touchdowns — the defense couldn’t finish in a wild, back-and-forth 41-36 victory for the Longhorns at Boone Pickens Stadium in OSU’s first game as the Big 12’s defending champions.

Often couldn't finish off a drive. Ultimately couldn't finish off the game when the Cowboys grabbed a late lead.

“They made a play at the end,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “I give them credit for them converting a third down and a fourth down…We came up short.”

Added UT coach Mack Brown: “Give David credit. He will not be under any more pressure than this, and he couldn't have done this this time last year. He has really grown up. He is the leader of this football team.”

The OSU defense wasn't consistently burned like it was against Arizona, where it gave up 52 points in Tucson. But it allowed the Longhorns (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) to convert 9 of its 17 third-down tries, and all three of their fourth-down attempts, including the crucial one on UT's final drive.

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