LUBBOCK, Texas — Their faces were confused. Their eyes — glazed over.
As the Oklahoma State football team walked off the field Saturday after being dismantled by Texas Tech, 49-24, the Cowboys (4-5, 2-3 Big 12) were still trying to figure out what had just happened.
"I really can't explain it," said an emotionally drained Josh Fields. "We came out ready and things didn't work out how we planned."
Tech (7-4, 4-2) made easy work of OSU's defense, passing for 458 yards. Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury was an impressive 38-of-49 on the day with 425 yards and four touchdowns.
"He's the center of what happens in that offense," said OSU coach Les Miles. "And he played very well today."
Fields added that the momentum changer of the game was in the third quarter, when Kingsbury was scrambling from two Cowboy defenders and managed to regain his feet to complete a 28-yard pass to Mickey Peters in the endzone for a touchdown.
"It was tough because we were right there (with Kingsbury)," said OSU linebacker Terrence Robinson. "He throws the ball and just makes a miraculous play.
"Kingsbury knows his offense real well. We went out and didn't make the plays we wanted to play."
Right before Kingsbury's play, Cowboy tailback Tatum Bell had scored on a 67-yard run coming out of the locker room to cut the Tech lead to only a touchdown and put OSU back into the game. Bell had two touchdown runs on the day.
"Anytime the running back breaks one like that, you got to think the momentum's on our side," said OSU offensive lineman Jason Russell of Bell's play. "We thought we had a chance to get back in this game, but it just slipped through our fingers."
Russell said the main problem with the Cowboys right now is their inability to perform on the road.
"Part of it is I don't think we prepare right for the road," Russell said. "We get thrown out of our game plan early — it just doesn't seem like we come to play on the road — that's exactly what we did today and we can't afford that."
Miles said the Cowboys, who had 175 rushing yards and 257 passing yards, lost their poise against Tech.
"We jumped off sides, got beat on special teams," Miles said. "We made mistakes, and that's how we lost this football game.
"It seemed like every time we had a nice play there was somebody jumping. First third-and-3 we're at a big play right out the gates, and somebody jumps and they have to understand that this is a football game — and whether they start early or they start late, the defender's gonna be there — you might as well wait until the ball's snapped."
The Cowboys had 13 penalties to put them back 88 yards.
"I think it's poise, I think it's just hanging in there — comes with age, comes when your team's together," Miles said. "And it better come together on the road next week.
"I don't know how you shoot yourself in the foot that many times (with penalties) against a team that's gonna score as much as this team did, or would normally, and win."
The OSU special teams also had a tough time performing, with only five return yards on the day compared to Tech's 91.
"We focus on special teams," Miles said. "And special teams today we go down and cover a punt, the ball bounces and special teams doesn't make the tackle. Just 'cause the ball bounces — we give them room.
"We're just not there in all respects on the road."
Bell had 165 yards rushing on 22 carries for the Cowboys, and wide receiver Rashaun Woods had eight catches for 111 yards and a touchdown. Tech had control of the ball for 10 more minutes than OSU did.
"I promise you I didn't come here today to have that happen to us," Miles said. "I thought we'd be in a dogfight and play hard until the end.
"This team has got to hang together and not be distracted. They need to go on the road as a team — three units — offense, defense and special teams and play a solid football game.
"And if they do that they'll have a chance to win."