Saturday was supposed to mark the turning point in Stillwater. This year was supposed to be different. The offense couldn’t be stopped, let alone outscored. No one could match up with the speedy receivers, and if they did, Mason Rudolph would throw it in the tight windows anyway. Even if, somehow, Mason had an off day, then he would just hand the ball off to Hill, who would just run it down the defense’s throats. No way would Oklahoma State meltdown this year. Well, I hate to say it folks, but it’s happened again.
Saturday was all TCU, all game long. The Horned Frog moved the ball with ease on Oklahoma State’s defense. Kenny Hill threw for 228 yards and a touchdown while Darius Anderson rushed for 160 yards and added 3 scores on the ground. On the other side of the ball, TCU sacked Rudolph three times, causing him to fumble the ball once, and Rudolph threw a career high three interceptions. The dominating performance left OK State fans begging for answers once again.
Talented Players = Same results:
Collecting great talent has not been an issue for mullet man, Mike Gundy. There have been countless top competitors that have come through Stillwater. Several of which, have gone on to have great careers in the NFL. Below are a few names that come to mind:
- Brandon Weeden – 9260 career passing yards, 75 career touchdowns to 27 Ints
- Dez Bryant – 2425 receiving yards, 29 career touchdowns
- Justin Blackmon – 3564 receiving yards, 41 total touchdowns
- Dan Bailey – 99% extra point conversion rate, 370 total points scored
- Orie Lemon – (2010) 101 solo tackles, 133 total tackles, 9 TFL, and 2 sacks
- Justin Gilbert – 6 career Kick-off return touchdowns, 2 pick six touchdowns
- Joseph Randle – 3085 career rushing yards, 40 rushing touchdowns, 917 receiving yards, and 3 receiving touchdowns
- Desmond Roland – 1977 career rushing yards, 27 rushing touchdowns, 3 receiving touchdowns.
Those are just a few names over the years, not including the loaded talent on the current team for the Cowboys.
Since 2008, the Cowboys have only had 2 seasons with less than 9 wins. The closest any of the teams that held those players came to a National Championship, was 2011 when they had the typical Oklahoma State meltdown against an inferior Iowa State team. The Cyclones only had one team take home conference accolades that year, and it was their punter, Kirby Van Der Kamp. Iowa State didn’t even put together a winning season! The Cowboys still went on to claim the conference championship, but it was during a time when the Big 12 did not play a conference championship game. That means that they have a “regular season championship” but not a legitimate conference championship according to the record books. So, if it’s not a lack of talent, what could be the problem?
Mike Gundy was the obvious coach for Oklahoma State after Les Miles moved on to LSU in 2005. Gundy was the QB for the Cowboys from 1986-89, a time back when his current mullet hair style was actually popular. Under Pat Jones, he led the team to back to back 10 win seasons as a player. There is no doubt that after that first season of 4-7 as the head coach, Gundy turned things around for the program. In fact, that is the only losing season the Cowboys have had since Gundy took over. Besides the 9-0 season in 1945 by Jim Lookabaugh, the 2011 (12-1) season was the best the Cowboys had ever had.
However, Gundy has consistently found a way to activate the Oklahoma State Meltdown by losing to a lesser opponent or not being able to close out the season. Below is a list of the teams they have lost to that they were double digit favors over or how the season ended is disappointment.
- 2016 – Ranked number 22. Lost to Central Michigan 27-30
- 2015 – Lost the last three games after starting 9-0
- 2014 – started the season 5-1 with the only loss to (1)FLA St. only to drop the next 5 in a row
- 2013 – Ranked number 11. Lost to West Virginia 21-30
- 2012 – Ranked number 18. Lost to Arizona 39-58.
- 2011 – Ranked number 2. Lost to Iowa State 31-37
In the big games against ranked opponents, the Cowboys record since 2009 is 17-23. The majority of those wins have come when they were unranked themselves. Outside of the 2011 season that saw OK State win all 5 games against ranked opponents, the Cowboys have only had two other seasons with winning records against top 25 teams.
It seems to me that Mike Gundy has a hard time getting his players to meet their expectations when they are at their highest. When the big game comes and the Cowboys are the favorites, the fans brace themselves for the ole’ Oklahoma State Meltdown. This season seems to be no different than the rest. Obviously, I’m not advocating for the firing of the winningest coach in school history. I’m just saying that they have the talent and have shown the ability in flashes. They just can’t seem to finish the job when it counts. There are currently 2 more teams this season that are currently ranked, including rival Oklahoma. If Gundy wants to turn it around, he better find a different way to mentally prepare for those games.