FOURTH DOWN FOLLIES
The game's first four possessions – two for each team – all featured fourth-down gambles in enemy territory.
All four failed.
The Cowboys started the fourth-down follies on the game's initial drive. They marched 12 plays to the KU 31, facing fourth-and-7. Apparently too close to punt and too far for a field goal try (into the wind and rain).
Walsh's pass for Charlie Moore sailed high, turning the ball over and beginning a back and forth of fourth downs.
Shamiel Gary halted a fourth-and-1 run by the Jayhawks' James Sims at the Cowboys 35.
OSU's Joseph Randle was stopped on a fourth-and-1 rush up the middle at the KU 16.
Then Nigel Nicholas foiled a fake field goal try, on fourth-and7, corralling the Jayhawks Blake Jablonski at the Cowboys 16.
OSU ended the streak on its next possession, but not in a good way – Walsh was picked off.
Still, KU played along, going again on fourth down on its next series.
The Jayhawks, featuring a new kicker and punter Saturday, eventually finished 0-of-5 on fourth down tries.
“We felt like they disrespected us, not punting the ball or not kicking the field goal,” said Cowboys safety Daytawion Lowe. “We just took it as a challenge and I think we did a good job.”
OSU's tight win over the Jayhawks was difficult in many ways.
The Cowboys absorbed several injuries, some that may prove severe.
The newly wounded: receiver Tracy Moore (ankle); receiver Isaiah Anderson (finger); running back Jeremy Smith (ankle); linebacker Caleb Lavey (leg/knee).
KU GAMBLE BACKFIRES
Trailing 20-14 in the waning minutes, Kansas was poised to get the ball back, forcing OSU to punt with from its own 43 with 1:46 remaining.
Instead, the Jayhawks rushed and roughed Sharp, resulting in a 15-yard personal foul penalty that allowed OSU to retain possession and run out the clock.
“You're not going to get much in return in a ball punted from the 50-yard line,” said KU coach Charlie Weis. “So I didn't think it was that risky.
“You're trying to make a play and I think that if you're going to block a punt, it gives you an opportunity to have a short field and go win the game.”
Said Jayhawks linebacker Huldon Tharpe: “It's tough. I'm not a coach, so it's hard to even put myself in a situation like that. It's a really hard decision, but we took a chance. You play the game to win, so I am perfectly OK with that decision.”
* The Cowboys improved to 14-3 in its last 17 road games; 13-2 in conference play.
* OSU was held scoreless in the first quarter of a game for the first time this season.
* When Randle was stopped on fourth-and-1 in the first quarter, it marked the first time this season that the Cowboys didn't score on a trip into the red zone. OSU had been 25-for-25 previously.
* Randle's 29 carries (for 80 yards) were a career high.
* Freshman receiver Austin Hays made his first start, becoming the 15th Cowboy – and fifth freshman – to make his first start this season.
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