By Jason Elmquist
CNHI News Service
TUCSON, Ariz. – The Oklahoma State University offense came out hot, but sputtered in the second and fourth quarters as Arizona upset the 18th-ranked Cowboys 59-38 Saturday night.
Oklahoma State was ultimately its biggest foe as the Pokes fell victim to four turnovers and a school record in penalty yards,
“Way too many mistakes. It was poor coaching and poor playing; that’s a bad combination,” OSU coach Mike Gundy said. “... We shortened the field for them too many times. They had an interception returned for a (touchdown), a tipped interception returned to the 30 and we turned the ball over when we were driving.”
Oklahoma State lost the turnover battle 4-0. It was the most turnovers by OSU’s offense since the Cowboys lost five against Iowa State last season. It also was the first time since the Kansas game in 2010 that the Cowboy defense failed to force a turnover.
The Cowboys saw more yellow hankies on the field in Tucson than any Cowboy team ever has. Oklahoma State was flagged 15 times for 167 yards – beating the record of 152 yards set in 1970.
“We killed ourselves. We didn’t play like we should have played,” running back Joseph Randle said. “We turned the ball over and did things to kill ourselves. It was nothing they did. It was what we did. We didn’t play Cowboy football.”
Randle fumbled once against Arizona.
In one incident, Arizona was given 30 yards in penalties when Poke defensive tackle Calvin Barnett was flagged for two personal fouls on the same play.
“I think Calvin had three or four (penalties). I like his effort and the intensity he plays with, but tonight he did not play that way. We gave them 167 yards in penalties and four turnovers. It was bad football,” Randle said.
The 59 points given up by the OSU defense was the most points allowed since a 61-41 drubbing by Oklahoma in 2008. The Wildcats finished with 501 yards of offense, with quarterback Matt Scott accounting for 320 passing yards and 55 rushing yards. He was responsible for three touchdowns.
“He’s a great competitor,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. “I told him in the locker room we left two or three touchdowns out there but he made big plays for us. He had some big runs and is as good of a competitor that I’ve been around.”
While there were plenty of glaring negatives responsible for OSU’s second-straight regular-season road loss, there was also some bright moments Oklahoma State’s offense – and true freshman quarterback Wes Lunt.
After going a perfect 11 of 11 in the season opening beatdown of Savannah State, Lunt completed 37 of his 60 pass attempts (for 61.6 percent). He established a Cowboy freshman quarterback record with 436 passing yards – which is also a Big 12 Conference record for a freshman.
“I thought he played his rear off. For his first game on the road, I thought he was accurate and poised,” OSU offensive coordinator Todd Monken said. “Did he make mistakes? Yeah. ... But it’s my fault, it’s not his fault. Just look at the throws he made tonight. Anybody who watched him tonight understands he’s a really good football player and we’re going to win a bunch of games with him.”
– Jason Elmquist is the sports editor for the Stillwater NewsPress.