You can call it whatever you'd like – lucky, ugly, less than dominating – but in the end it was a 30-27 win over Texas on the road in the 2015 Big 12 opener and for Oklahoma State Cowboys standout senior cornerback Kevin Peterson it's another notch on Pistol Pete's belt toward the top goal of the season and that is a Big12 Championship.
"We’re glad we got the win now, we want to be Big 12 champions this year, and we preach that. You can just tell by the work at the end," Peterson said after the game. "The offense did what they had to do to get in position for the kick, the special teams got the pressure on the punt and we did what we had to do. We came out there, and we got the W."
Along those lines, what would the expectations be the rest of the way? The answers would vary with whoever you ask. Just check out this board and website and you will find plenty of naysayers. I would qualify as one as I am not picking the Cowboys to win them all. While I think Mike Gundy has a very good football team, I have always stood by my thoughts that this team would be good but the program might have an even stronger squad in 2016.
Gundy said this week would be a time to work on weaknesses that showed up in Austin, but he seemed very enthusiastic and confident that improvement would be made that would give the Cowboys the chance to keep improving as Kansas State gets ready to roll into Stillwater this coming Saturday. I think tht Gundy wants to improve the run game, the punt unit, and returns in looking for opportunities to get explosive plays out of the return game.
Here's how I look at the rest of the season based on what we have seen thus far.
Oct. 3 vs. Kansas State: I like the Cowboys chances at home to be the first to knock off the Wildcats. K-State has more issues on offense than Oklahoma State and a defense that is not as good.
Oct. 10 @ West Virginia: This will take a special effort by the Cowboys. West Virginia has a very good defense, an offense that is improving each week and the Mountaineers are tough at home in Milan Puskar Stadium. I would say this is likely the first loss of the season.
Oct. 24 vs. Kansas: This is a free space on the board.
Oct. 31 @ Texas Tech: It looks more difficult now, but Tech has troubles stopping anybody and that will make it doable.
Nov. 7 vs. TCU: The Frogs are still very potent on offense but attrition has really hurt them on defense. At home this also looks like it can be a win and I would not have said that a month ago.
Nov. 14 @ Iowa State: You could see some fierce conditions in Ames in November, but Iowa State looks like they are struggling and this looks like a win.
Nov. 21 Baylor: Honestly, Baylor looks like a juggernaut and they have a defense to go with that explosive offense. This looks like the second loss although Baylor has struggled in Stillwater.
Nov. 28 Oklahoma: Another explosive offense that has struggled some in the offensive line and on defense. I like Oklahoma State but I always like the Cowboys in Bedlam.
Other thoughts from the Cowboys on the win in Austin
Head coach Mike Gundy on the dropped punt by Texas at the end:
"Really proud of our team for finding a way to win and that was an excellent call by Coach [Robby] Discher to go all-out block on the last punt. I’m not really sure how it affected them in the end, but when the ball is on the ground, we had enough people there to corral him and then their punter did a nice job of getting it out. It was a good call by Rob Discher and really proud of Ben Grogan. He may be the only kicker in college history to have to make a field goal after a delay of game with 23 seconds to win the game. And before we get any questions on that it was my fault and we are going to fix that. Good news is, he made them after we had the delay of game and I was proud of him for his effort. We weren't very good in special teams today."
Defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer on stopping Texas QB Jarrod Heard:
"It is not like a scheme change. We had some things designed. When you try to get an extra guy at the end, it leaves you one-on-one, and you give up a deep ball twice, it calls for that. We knew that was a risk we had to take, and luckily after those big plays, we usually held our own. Like I said last week, when you stop him, you give up something else."
Coordinators Glenn Spencer and Mike Yurcich on not having headsets in the game.
"Well it was hard to communicate with coaches because you’re not in headsets," Yurcich said. "You can’t just have open conversations. So there was a lot of communication, just yelling at each other. So it was a little bit old school, but it was good. Our guys did a great job of communicating, and our coaches are awesome. Coach Arroyo, coach Dunn, coach Adkins, and coach McEndoo provide great input. And when we got to the sidelines, we were able to talk to the players, obviously, and give the input that we needed to give them, face-to-face, which was fun for me. Usually, it’s over the phone or through a headset, but now I get to look them in the eye, and it’s a little bit different vibe on the ground."
"The whole game was without a headset," Spencer said. "I had one on, but it never did work. So even in the first quarter, there was no communication. Everyone was down. I am looking for personnel, and I have to make calls at the last second. Yeah, it was pretty crazy. I have never coached a game like that in my life."