1. What were the biggest keys to the win for the Cowboys?
There were two keys for the Cowboys in the 38-34 win over Kansas State. The first was an overwelming advantage in special teams. The Cowboys had a huge advantage in return yardage. A big chunk of tha was the 65 yards that came on interceptions, but Robert Jones was a force on kickoff returns. Punter Cole Farden didn't have a great day with a 38.5-yard average, but he still outpunted his counterpart by three yards and his kickoffs were outstanding with all but two going for touchbacks. The overall results was an average starting field position of the 25 for K-State and the 35 for Oklahoma State.
The other key was coaching. Miles and his staff flat out outcoached Bill Snyder and his staff. The Cowboys added schemes on both sides of the ball that worked, and had a very thorough scouting report on the Wildcats.
"Both of my interceptions I jumped the route because I knew what they were doing," said cornerback Darrent Williams. "That's good coaching because they told us exactly what they were going to do. Tha's good coaching putting your players in postition, the right position to make plays. Our coaches knew their tendencies."
2. How did the O-State offensive line do against that K-State defensive pressure?
They did well. This offensive line is excellent at blocking for
the run and that showed throughout the contest. With Ben Buie and Matt Hardison
missing ith injuries, Caleb Noble and Doug Koenig jumped in and did a very good
job. The offensive coaching staff added several misdirection, rollout passes
that helped the line out, but Kansas State had been averaging four and a half
sacks a game and they had only two against OSU. Fields took some hits after
throwing the ball, but it was mild compared to last season in the game in
"I'm really proud of those guys," said head coach Les Miles. "They went in there and fought hard. Doug Koenig had been playing and splitting time with Hardison, so he really wasn't a new guy. Caleb Noble was playing a lot of football for us, but got his first start and major playing time and played extremely well. Chris Akin played center all spring for us, and we felt comfortable with him in there at that position. We are fortunate to have the flexibility in the offensive line to do that. That's as important to this victory and as important to being a part of this football team as any function within this football program that there is."
"We work on getting first downs late in the game everyday in practice," said Koenig. "I don't think they were going to stop us no matter how many people they put in the box."
"The coaches had a real good game plan going into this," said quarterback Josh Fields. "They schemed them pretty good, and the O-line learned it very fast in just a couple of days. They picked it up real fast and they did a good job today."
3. Why did Kansas State have so much success passing?
It's pretty simple. The belief was that Darren Sproles and Ell Roberson running the football could beat you. The Cowboys were more focused on stopping the run than the pass. Kansas State had been averaging 217 yards a game rushing and ended with 146 yards on Saturday. They did have 332-yards passing, but they also threw three interceptions. It's as simple as that, they believed the run could beat them, and the pass could not. It worked out well.
4. What was the origin of the fake field goal?
It started this summer in preseason practice and the thought was it would be used against Nebraska. The situation was never right, so the Cowboys have continued working on it through the non conference games. In film study this week special teams coordinator Joe DeForest noted that K-State was a candidate to use it against. They thought on the sidelines that it might be used on that last drive in the first half, but Fields hit Billy Bajema for the touchdown. It worked out perfect when it was used as it led to a touchdown. To work well, it requires the opponent take an aggressive inside rush and the Wildcats did.
"It was as big a play for the team as it was for me," said kicker Luke Phillips, who gained the first 11-yards of his career at Oklahoma State. "I think I'll leave the running to Tatum (Bell), Seymore (Shaw), and Vernand (Morency). I think the team fed off of that. It was a spark for them, and we turned around and scored again, then I got the 50-yard field goal. The spark that it created was the reason it was important."
"Luke Phillips is a very mobile guy and Sky Rylant executes the flip, and if they are going to give it to us then we are going to take it," said Miles. "We have some other fakes, but that one was the right one."
5. What does this win mean for Oklahoma State?
There are a lot of things. Did you know that the Cowboys are 11-1 in their last 12 games? Head coach Les Miles is now 17-13 in his career as a head coach at Oklahoma State.
Those are nice, but the meaning is that the Cowboys are good enough to be good opponents. It means they continue playing for every goal they had on the board to start with including a Big 12 South title, Big 12 Championship, BCS Bowl game, even a possible shot at a national championship. It is a win that states this program is good and getting better.