Boone Pickens Stadium was dead for much of Saturday afternoon. Oh, the weather was great, perfect football weather. The uniforms were cool, both the Cowboys and the constantly changing uniforms of the Oklahoma State poms. I have to admit I looked and I looked up in the stands and there were a lot of males focused on the talented dance corps.
Focus, however, was not a premium throughout the afternoon for the Cowboys. I'm not sure if it was coming off a huge win over Texas, looking ahead to some much needed time off this week, or none of the above. Iowa State did to the Cowboys what the Cyclones did to Baylor last week in Ames. They took control of the game and with about three and half minutes left in the third quarter the Cyclones led 31-14.
Head coach Mike Gundy admitted he worried all week about that kind of game and that kind of performance, but he said he wasn't all that worried at that point in the game.
"Not really, because we can score fast," the Cowboys head coach, who has now won 98 games as head coach after Okahoma State's 38-31 victory, explained. "If we were in a conventional offense, we would have been in trouble. We have the ability to score really fast, and we have playmakers that can pick up big chunks of yards. I didn't feel that way, but I didn't feel very good either."
Gundy was also asked what changed. Deion Imade and myself both thought the game changed with defensive momentum and the offense fed off that. Now that could be considered crazy because the defense allowed Iowa State 448 total yards, but they did hold the Cyclones to just a paltry 23 yards in the fourth quarter.
"Really the final 18 or 17 minutes, because we weren't very good until right up until the end. We changed what we did running the ball a little bit. We did it with more three backs. We were able to use the little play pass differently than what we had," Gundy said. "We started attacking the flats a little more. We got a little impatient in the first half, and sometimes that happens. Even right now, I don't feel very good about the way we performed on offense. I think we were very fortunate to come out of this with a win."
Mason Rudolph had a similar response, but he was asked specifically about the offense.
"A lot of teams are trying to take away the deep threat from us because we are so lethal down the field," said Rudolph, who was 26-of-44 with no interceptions, four touchdowns, and 351 yards. "They are throwing different looks at us that we haven't seen in the previous five games of the season. I have to give the credit to our coaching staff for making great adjustments at halftime and making sure that we have some schemes to work with to execute and we executed well."
Again, the defense had the turnovers forced in the comeback and allowed just 23 yards in the fourth quarter. But you have to mention Jeff Carr's 33-yard run as that was huge. His first play from scrimmage and he came up big.
"It was awesome," offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said. "It was big time. He's maximizing his opportunities and now we'll give him more."
My advice is get ready for more. Every Big 12 game is likely to be this way or close to it. Maybe an off week and a week on the road and absence will make the fans hearts grow fonder because that stadium needs an infusion of energy. It flows both ways from the field up and from the stands down.