Oklahoma State football: With loss to Texas, Cowboys are playing their worst football in a decade
STILLWATER — Pyrotechnics finally came to Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday night. Made people ooh and aah and feel good on cold night.
Too bad they weren’t on the field.
On a night when Oklahoma State had a chance to break a three-game funk and cross the bowl-eligibility threshold against a seemingly equal foe, the fireworks came during the halftime show. On the gridiron? The Cowboys were as listless and lifeless as we’ve seen them.
Texas 28, OSU 7.
Despite their comments to the contrary, it sure looks like the players have checked out. Ditto for the coaches.
This was Mike Gundy’s first season bad.
This was Bob Simmons’ last season bad.
And as bad Saturday was, it may get much, much worse. Road games against Baylor and Oklahoma remain.
- Related to this story
- Gallery: OSU vs Texas 11/15/14
- Article: Oklahoma State football: Cowboys go 94 consecutive plays without scoring a touchdown
- Article: Oklahoma State football: Cowboys can't generate any offense in 28-7 loss to Texas
- Article: Oklahoma State football: Fox broadcast crew shocked by Cowboys' offensive ineptness
- Article: Oklahoma State football report card: With bowl eligibility on the line, Cowboys had zero offensive intensity
- Article: Oklahoma State football: Glenn Spencer assures Cowboys' defense isn't giving up
- Article: Oklahoma State football: Mike Gundy says Cowboys need maturity, strength
- Article: Oklahoma State football notebook: Senior night not so bright for Cowboys
- Video: Analysis: Texas 28, OSU 7 (2014-11-16)
- Video: OSU Football: Orange is the new bleak (2014-11-16)
“We know what we’re up against,” Cowboy fullback Teddy Johnson said. “We’ve seen them play against everybody else.”
“There’s really no more concern than it being any other teams,” Johnson said. “There’s lots of upsets in the Big 12 right now.”
Say this much for the Cowboys — they keep saying all the right things. If these guys are screaming at each other in the locker room or crying themselves to sleep, they sure aren’t letting on about it.
“Everybody has to come through frustration at some point, but this is my family,” defensive tackle James Castleman said. “You can get frustrated with your brothers here and there, but it’s something you live with. You love them.
“Even though I might be frustrated with the person next to me doesn’t mean I’m going to stop fighting for them. We might get frustrated here and there, but that doesn’t mean we’re going to give up on each other.”
Morale, it seems, isn’t a problem.
Now, if the Cowboys could just fix that offensive line.
That has become the refrain of this season, but it was as evident as ever Saturday night. The Cowboys managed just 34 yards rushing. Thirty-four. There was no push up front. There was no space for any of the tailbacks. There was little time for Daxx Garman.
And that totally stymied the offense.
“We had concerns about that coming into the game,” Cowboy coach Mike Gundy admitted. “(Texas is) a physical defense, and we’re not ready for that right now.
“We got exposed at times.”
The Cowboys had three-and-outs on their first two possessions. Six plays. Minus-six yards. The Longhorns scored touchdowns on their first two possessions, and like that, OSU found itself in a hole that seemed inescapable.Not able to come back from a first-quarter, two-touchdown deficit?
“The long and short of it is that they’re too physical for us up front on the offensive line,” Gundy said. “We’ve got to get some guys to mature a little bit and grow up. Gotta get stronger. Gotta get a little help up there. It’ll make us a better football team.”
Trouble is, the Cowboys aren’t going to get that much stronger these next few weeks. They aren’t going to get reinforcements either. Those things may happen in the offseason, but not before those road trips to Waco and Norman.
And while Texas may have one of the most physical defensive fronts in the Big 12, Baylor and OU are pretty good there, too.
Baylor manhandled OU a week ago. The Sooners have a pretty solid offensive line, but they struggled to open up the run or protect the quarterback. And after the way the Cowboys beat up on the Bears last season, you can rest assured Baylor will be looking for a bit of payback.
For OU, the strength of the defense is the front. Yes, the Sooners have plenty of warts, but that defensive line and linebacker corps is capable of making life miserable on opponents.
How is it possible that things are going to get better for OSU?
Seems more likely that they get worse.
A four-game losing streak could balloon to six, the likes of which has never happened in the Gundy era. His first-year team lost five in a row, but no team has lost six.
I asked Gundy how this team keeps its morale up playing how it’s playing and facing what it’s facing.
“Well, you don’t have a choice,” he said. “You come back to work. ... You just keep working.”
And at this point, Gundy and his Cowboys probably have to hope they might find something that might spark some on-field fireworks.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.