Lots of good marks for Oklahoma State in its impressive 36-14 victory against TCU. The defense played great. Ditto for Joe Randle. Now, about those fumbles...
A masterful job by Bill Young and Co. The Cowboys allowed one first-quarter touchdown, missing several tackles and allowing a six-play, 83-yard drive. After that, though, the Horned Frogs got nothing. No touchdowns. No field goals. TCU came into the game as the team with the more highly regarded defense, but OSU produced the big-time defensive performance.
JOE RANDLE: A
The guy was an absolute work horse. With a bunch of hobbled offensive options — Tracy Moore and J.W. Walsh were out and Jeremy Smith and Isaiah Anderson were coming back from injuries — Randle more than made up for the injured. He carried the ball a career-high 32 times for 126 yards and one touchdown. Add five catches, and he touched the ball on more than half of the Cowboys' offensive snaps.
WES LUNT: C
The freshman quarterback was average, but considering his month-plus layoff with a knee injury, average isn't necessarily a bad thing. He struggled early, showing signs of rust with several passes that were just off the mark, but the good news is that Lunt got better as the game went on. He finished the night 18 of 33 for 324 yards with one touchdown and one interception.
You won't find a bigger fan of the all-black look than yours truly. The Cowboys wore the look last season in the Fiesta Bowl, but this season was slightly different. The OSU logo on the helmets was replaced by a gray Pistol Pete, which would've been even better with a touch of orange. Perhaps on the helmet. Perhaps next season?
BALL SECURITY: D
One of the few low lights for the Cowboys. They only lost one fumble, but they put the ball on the ground four times. Most of the fumbles came at the end of plays, and while they got some lucky bounces to get most of them back, the Cowboys can't assume that's always going to happen. They'll need to be more careful with the ball in the coming weeks against four consecutive top-25 opponents.
It couldn't have been any better. Not a cloud in the sky. Crisp but not cold.
QUINN SHARP: A
With the exception of his first punt — a 29-yard dud — the Cowboy kicker was splendid. He hit all five of his field goal attempts, tying a school record. He also had seven touchbacks on nine kickoffs, five punts for an average of 42.8 yards and two punts that were downed inside the 20-yard line.
TCU PRESENCE: A
There was lots of purple in Stillwater. It was good to see all the Horned Frog fans, but even better was seeing their team. TCU is a great add to the Big 12. Welcome to the fun, TCU.
SPECIAL TEAMS RETURNS: D
The Cowboys had problems numerous times in their return game. Kick returner Justin Gilbert had one of his best returns of the season, only to fumble the ball as he was being tackles. Punt returner Charlie Moore ran alongside a bouncing punt for a good 10 yards instead of getting away from it, and when he finally snagged it, he was tackled immediately. Later in the game, he muffed a punt but was able to fall on it. It was an adventure throughout the day.
The Cowboys have had their struggles late in games, failing to finish strong against Texas and Kansas. That wasn't a problem against TCU. The defense came up with three takeaways in the fourth quarter while the offense notched 13 points to put away the Horned Frogs.