Cowboys Can't Stop Kolb, Cougars

Oklahoma State had its chances but came up with no points on back-to-back possessions inside the Houston 5-yard line in the fourth quarter on Saturday night at Robertson Stadium and as a result the Cowboys suffered a 34-25 loss to the Cougars. It was OSU's first loss of the season.

The Cowboys, behind the play of quarterback Bobby Reid who was playing in front of numerous family and friends in his hometown of Houston, had their chances in the fourth quarter. But they could not put the ball into the end zone on back-to-back possessions.

Reid's fourth-down pass to tight end Brandon Pettigrew from the 5-yard line fell incomplete midway through the fourth period. The Cowboys had driven 75 yards – converting a third-and-19 on a Reid scramble for 21 yards and a third-and-nine situation on a pass interference – but couldn't punch it into the end zone as the Cougars took over on their own 5.

But the Cowboys regained possession after the OSU defense forced Houston into a three-and-out for the first time all night. OSU took over on its own 43 and Reid took command. He found wide receiver Adarius Bowman (who would finish with six catches for 139 yards and a touchdown) for 27 yards on the first play of the drive. Reid kept for 18 yards on the next play, and then gained nine more to the Cougar 3-yard line on another keeper. But two plays later Julius Crosslin was fighting for the end zone on a third-and-one when he fumbled and Houston's Marquay Love recovered.

But OSU still had a chance after the defense forced the Cougar offense into another three-and-out, but freshman Perrish Cox fumbled on the return and the Cougars recovered with less than two minutes left on the clock. Houston quarterback Kevin Kolb took a knee on three consecutive plays and the Cougars were the winners, improving to 4-0.

"What it came down to is they were a tougher football team than we were in the fourth quarter, and I take responsibility for that as the head coach," OSU head coach Mike Gundy said. "I'll make sure that I get that corrected. Late in the game they forced the fumbles – two fumbles in the last six minutes of the game. Our plan was to hit them and to force the turnovers on them, and they did it late and we didn't."

Reid played his best game in his two years wearing the Cowboy uniform. The Houston native was 13 of 22 passing for 281 yards and three touchdowns. He threw touchdown passes of 75 yards to Bowman, 27 yards to D'Juan Woods and teamed up with Woods on another 26-yard scoring pass. Reid also rushed for 85 yards on just seven carries.

But Reid was not the best quarterback on the field. Kolb, the Houston senior who originally committed to Oklahoma State before switching to Houston four years ago, completed 21 of 28 passes for 313 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 42 yards to finish with 355 total yards.

The Cowboy defense had no answer for Kolb and the Cougars, who racked up 509 total yards. Kolb threw touchdowns passes of 42 yards (to Donnie Avery), 33 yards (to Mark Hafner), 27 yards (to Vincent Marshall) and 7 yards (to Biren Ealy). The 27-yarder to Marshall with just three seconds left in the first half was tipped by Cougar receiver Jeron Harvey and caught by a diving Marshall to give the Cougars a 24-17 halftime lead.

"They are a very good football team offensively," Gundy said. "Kevin Kolb is everything I was afraid he was. He's a very good player. We never slowed them down. They had people running wide open all over the field, and running the ball on us we didn't slow them down."

The Cowboys, who entered the game averaging 215 rushing yards per game (13th best in the nation), never got the running game in gear. Reid led the Cowboys with 85 rushing yards, and Keith Toston had 61, but Dantrell Savage (11 yards on three carries) and Mike Hamilton (6 yards on six attempts) were not effective.

"Offensively, we have to block better up front and run the ball better," said Gundy. "They tightened up inside to stop the run which allowed us to throw for a lot of yards, which is the give-and-take of offense.

"I don't think there's any doubt they said we're going to stop the run and make Bobby throw passes.," the Cowboy head coach continued. "Bobby played pretty well tonight. It looked like he played pretty well, and handled himself well. He played well late in the game when he had to, when it was raining really hard. I'm sure that was their plan to stop the run and make Bobby make the plays, but we didn't make enough offensively. We have to make more plays."

But the Cowboy defense could not stop Kolb or the Cougar running game, led by 245-pound Jackie Battle who ran for 108 yards on 23 carries.

"I think we made a lot of mistakes on defense," Gundy said. "Our young players made a lot of mistakes. That offense created some confusion for them. I don't think we were lined up right at times. I think we missed a lot of tackles. Those things are things we need to work on and get better."

The Cowboys will have time to work to get those mistakes corrected as they have an open week before opening Big 12 Conference play on Oct. 7 at Kansas State.

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