1. What turned the momentum over to Texas Tech in the second
Take your pick, there were two big boosts of momentum that surged through the Red Raiders bench. The first was inflicted on themselves when Josh Fields waited just a little too long to unload a crossing pass to tight end Billy Bajema on a first and 10 at the Texas Tech 11. Bajema had indeed been open, but while looking back at the endzone for someone to break free, Fields waited too long and John Saldi picked off the Cowboy pass at the five and Texas Tech scored in 10 plays to make the score Oklahoma State 48-28. It was a huge boost.
After scoring, Tech collected itsother boost as backup wide receiver Joey Hawkins, who is a 6-8, 240-pounder, leapt high and kept one foot inbounds for another crack at the endzone. The onside kick wasn't a surprise, but it was executed with precision. Tech went on to cut the lead to 48-35 after the onside kick, the Cowboys knew they had a fight on their hands.
When Tech tried an onside kick later in the game's final minutes, Tech kicker Ryan Bishop misaimed and his kick wound up short -- giving the Cowboys the best field position they had enjoyed the entire game. However, they would did nothing with it.
2. How did the Cowboys control the first half?
Primarily, they did it with offense. Yes, the defense came up with some stops on Texas Tech, but it was the offense that went a perfect six-for-six in the redzone. Four of those were touchdowns on the first four possessions. The two field goal came just before halftime. The offense was spectacular and could do no wrong in the first half, plus they had ball just over 19 minutes during the first half prompting Texas Tch coach Mike Leach to say this to ABC sideline reporter Sam Ryan at halftime.
"We've got to get the to the ball back," said Leach when asked if Tech could come back in the second half. "The biggest thing, I think is they (OSU) came out intense but relaxed," added Leach after the game. "I thought they had a really good level of focus, and it just seemed like we wre trying too hard."
"It was really important because in the past couple of years our offense hasn't been able to get going against them," said offensive guard Sam Mayes. "When they would get up on us we would get out of our game. For us to be able to come out and pass and run the ball like we did was good for us. It also helped the defense out by giving them some rest on the sidelines."
3. What was Oklahoma State's defensive strategy?
The Cowboys really employed two defensive formations. The three-man line featued two linebackers and six defensive backs (jermain Thomposon). The other lineup the Cowboys used on defense was a four man line with one linebacker and the six defensive backs. Clay will tell you he wanted Symons to take a seat on the bench more often than he did, but it was a win, and Clay will take that first everytime.
4. Why did the Cowboys go with the fake punt in the fourth quarter?
They had made the decision to go for it no matter what. A punt could have resulted in a the ball going out the endzone and coming back out on the 20, a net exchange of 15 yards. Instead the fake punt was on, but sniffed out quickly -- it didn't fool anybody.
"We knew we weren't going to punt the ball," said head coach Les Miles. "We knew we weren't going to give the ball back to them if we could help it. We looked at thowing a ball to Rashaun Woods, which in hindsight we would have liked to have done. We knew that the fake was there, and we liked the call, We completed it, but we would have, obviously, liked to see it go for a first down."
"They did a great job
defending it," said
Greg Richmond, who caught the pass from Cole Farden on the fake punt. "They had the
right defense called for it and they weren't fooled. I just got to tip my hand
to the coaching staff for having the faith in us to call that fake
5. What did the win over Texas Tech do in the grand scheme of things?
I called this game the "game of dreams." By getting over this hurdle the Cowboys now have all their dreams and aspirations still on the board. They can still win the Big 12 South and go to Kansas City and play for the Big 12 Championship. They could still go to a BCS bowl, and don't laugh, but by winning out, the Cowboys could win the national championship.
This is no time to change the way you are doing things, so we will excuse Miles and his team of playing them one at a time. Next week it is Texas A&M and tradtion-rich Kyle Field. It will be tough, but Oklahoma State has that chance.