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Oklahoma State Football

Cowboys Weather the Storm, Beat the Hurricanes 37-34

December 29, 2020

After a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter, things got pretty hairy for Oklahoma State as the Miami Hurricanes came storming back to make it a game. However, the Pokes came up huge when it mattered most to come with their eighth win of the season, 37-34 over the Hurricanes in the Cheez-It Bowl.

The win over Miami gave the Pokes a 20-11 all-time bowl record, which ranks in the top five in the nation in win percentages among teams with at least 20 appearances and in the top three among teams with at least 30 appearances.

“I was really happy for our players; this win might be as satisfying and gratifying a win for me, personally and selfishly, as any I’ve had in my career,” said head coach Mike Gundy of the 37-34 Cheez-It Bowl win over Miami. “Just seeing the exhilaration and enjoyment on the players’ faces after the game. This was a really, really good college football game and we beat a good football team. Miami’s very talented and very athletic. I don’t know if anybody’s done their research, but the last four years, they’ve had 26 players in a draftable position for the NFL. That will give you some kind of ideal of what kind of talent and players that they have. So, with everything that’s gone on, when you look at what we’ve accomplished, you can call it like you want, but if we played a non-conference, there’s a pretty good chance we’re sitting here with another 10-win season. With some pretty dramatic and considerable number of injuries early in the season that our players have rallied back from and the game tonight was a really good illustration of how our team’s been. Early in the game offensively, we couldn’t do anything wrong, then in the second half, the defense went out and got two big stops right there at the end. The guys made plays and just found a way to win.”

Quarterback Spencer Sanders had one of the best games this season in the Cheez-It Bowl as he finished going 27-of-40 for 305-yards and four touchdowns. With Sanders’ success, true freshman Brennan Presley had a career day as he hauled in six receptions for 118-yards and the hat trick of three touchdowns.

“The same thing that I’ve seen from him the last three years of high school,” coach Gundy said of what he saw from Brennan Presley in the Cheez-It Bowl. “What he has going for him is, well Malcolm Rodriguez is sitting right here next to me, but they have the same characteristics: they love to play football, they’re unselfish, they’re tough, they’re athletic and they’re not scared. That’s what he is, he’s just going to get better and better with experience. He actually had a pretty significant injury in the Baylor game, one that, in the past, has kept players on the sidelines for as few as three weeks and up to four weeks. We actually encouraged him to maybe not play in this game based on his injury. A week later, he basically just said ‘I want to play in this game,’ and he started practicing and played. So, that’s what you get when you have a young man that loves to play the game. He’s not scared to compete.”

On the other side of the ball, Tre Sterling would lead the way for the Pokes with 13 total tackles, eight of which were solo stops, 2.5 tackles for loss, one pass break up and 0.5 sacks.

The Hurricanes scored a touchdown with just over five minutes to go in the game and converted on the two-point conversion to get the game within three, 37-34. The forced a quick three-and-out for the Cowboys on the next drive, but the Poke defense came up with one of its biggest stops of the season on the next drive to force another Miami punt.

The Pokes couldn’t get anything going on the next drive, which forced another Tom Hutton punt. Enter Cowboy defense once again. In desperate times this season, the Jim Knowles’ guys came up huge and that’s exactly what happened. On 4th and long, senior Malcolm Rodriguez came up with a huge tackle for a turnover-on-downs, leading to the Pokes eighth win of the season.

The Cowboys and Spencer Sanders started the game with 10-straight passes during the first drive of the game. Sanders nearly threw an interception on just the second play of the game, but settled in and went 8-of-10 for 75 yards and he found freshman Brennan Presley for a 30-yard touchdown on 4th and 6 to go up 7-0 on the Hurricanes.

The Cowboy defense came out in their first drive of the game and forced a Hurricane punt after allowing just one first down.

On the next drive, the Cowboys marched down the field with ease as LD Brown found the end zone from two-yards out to put the Pokes up 14-0 with just over five minutes remaining in the first quarter. In the first two drives alone, the Pokes combined for 149-yards and nine first downs.

After the Cowboy defense forced a Miami turnover on downs, Sanders finds Presley from 32-yards out for their second touchdown connection of the game to go up 21-0.

Miami put 10 quick points up on the board in the second quarter while it seems OSU’s offense stalled out, but the Pokes got a little bit a life after Thomas Harper recovered a muffed Miami fair catch attempt. However, Spencer Sanders wasn’t able to make anything happen and Tom Hutton was sent out for the second-straight drive for a punt.

The start of the second quarter went the same way as the end of the first for the Pokes as stalled out on their opening drive. Dez Jackson lost five yards to open the drive, quickly followed by an eight-yard sack and a third down stop for Miami.

The Hurricanes marched down the field and scored their 19th unanswered point in a row to get the game with two, 21-19, but penalties helped the Pokes on the next drive. Several Miami penalties would get the Pokes into the red zone, but they’d have to settle for a field goal.

Brock Martin would recover a fumble on the next Miami drive to give the Pokes the ball back from the Miami 45-yard line. Penalties would once again help the Pokes out on the ensuing drive as they drove down to the goal line and lead to Sanders finding Dillon Stoner in the end zone for the score to put the Pokes up 31-19.

The Hurricanes would find the end zone again, but Sanders and Presley had an answer for that as they connected for their third touchdown connection of the night to put the Pokes back up 37-26.

The Hurricanes would put another eight point on the board late in the fourth, but it wouldn’t matter as the Cowboys came up huge on defense to give the Pokes the 37-34 win.

Discussion from...

Cowboys Weather the Storm, Beat the Hurricanes 37-34

1,470 Views | 7 Replies | Last: 8 mo ago by Bovine Lad
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I was surprised we were totally without a tailback running game most of this game (2.6 yrds. avg.). Sanders as usual was able to add some yards scrambling and LD ran hard and pushed a few folks, but that was very uncharacteristic for the Gundy Cowboys. Allowed to DL to tee off on Sanders all game long.
Zach Lancaster
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I fully expected to see OSU combined for at least 200 yards in this game, but it's evident Miami keyed in on the run game.
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It was evident their DL was much better, stronger, faster than our OL is ready to handle with the current youngsters playing. Hopefully they get a Spring practice this year, but it looks questionable.
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Honestly with all the guys in the block, and blitzing too, I was actually impressed with the number of times Brown got decent yardage.

Gutsy win.
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NJAggie....without Sanders the tailback group got about 1.5 yards per carry. But LD's effort was the bright spot. Jackson looked tentative and danced too long. Freshman was used in heavy traffic only and was swamped.
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I'm happy we won, but once again, the pattern of our offensive play was very predictable. After we got ahead, we reverted to up-the-middle run plays and low probability fade routes to receivers. Miami's play calling was the reverse - creative, unpredictable and tough to stop. They kept our defense off balance most of the night and was the key to their comeback. If their receivers could catch the football, they would have won. I just don't think we will ever fulfill our potential until Gundy hires a good offensive mind and let's him run the offense. I would start by hiring someone like the Miami OC.
Bovine Lad
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Orangeheart72 said:

It was evident their DL was much better, stronger, faster than our OL is ready to handle with the current youngsters playing. Hopefully they get a Spring practice this year, but it looks questionable.
Prior to the Cheez-it Bowl yesterday, Miami's Defense ranked 83rd Nationally in Rushing Defense giving up an average of 180.6 yards per game. Their Defense also averaged 2.8 Sacks per game which was good for 33rd Nationally.

The Cane Defense held us to 113 yards Rushing yesterday and they logged 2 Sacks.

Prior to our game, Miami averaged yielding 226.8 YPG through the air (59th). We torched them for 356 dropping them to 66th in Pass Yards Allowed per game.

In the Tarheel slaughter of the Canes (62-26) back on the 12th, Mack Brown's bunch blistered the "U" with 554 Yard Rushing and 6 Rushing TD's. It seemed that Manny Diaz and Blake Baker (UM DC) were determined not to let our Rushing Game do to them what the Heels Running Game did... and it seemed like our Coaching Staff anticipated them doing just that.
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