AMES, Iowa – The Oklahoma State Cowboys made a complete 180 turn in taking care of the ball and executing on-the-field chemistry as the Pokes defeated the Iowa State Cyclones on the road 34-27 on Saturday.
The Cyclones were able to surge back into the Top 25 with three straight Big 12 wins including a 49-24 win over TCU, a 38-14 win over West Virginia, and a 34-24 win over Texas Tech the week before.
The Cowboys, on the other hand, entered the matchup following two consecutive Big 12 losses against Texas Tech and Baylor, and a win became an absolute necessity for OSU to avoid a tanking season and dying hopes of competing in a bowl game.
Spencer Sanders threw for 249 yards on 16/24 passing for two touchdowns and one interception. Head coach for the Cowboys Mike Gundy spoke heavily on Sanders’ progress throughout the season on Oct. 21 at his weekly press conference.
Gundy said Sanders’ biggest adjustment needing to be made would be his idea of achieving a perfect game, but that he is a passionate player who communicates well with his team and accepts responsibility for his mistakes.
Sanders, who had five turnovers against Baylor last week, was limited to one interception and zero fumbles recovered by opposing ends.
Star running back Chuba Hubbard had four major plays in the game to push the Cowboys ahead rushing for 116 yards on 22 carries and had one touchdown. Hubbard continues to lead the nation in rushing yards now accumulating 1,381 total through eight games.
Hubbard’s 116 yards would also make him the only player to rush for more than 100 yards against the Cyclones this season.
The Cowboys raced ahead to a 21-13 lead at halftime big thanks to a 71-yard catch made by Tylan Wallace, a 50-yard touchdown pass to Braydon Johnson and a 65-yard rushing touchdown from Hubbard.
Wallace’s 71-yard touchdown run marked this as his third touchdown catch this year of 70 yards or more, and he now has at least one receiving touchdown in 10 of his past 14 games.
Wallace’s 131 receiving yards made this his 11th 100-yard receiving game of his career and his fourth of the season. His 11 career 100-yard receiving games ranks fifth in school history.
The fourth quarter was major for the Pokes as the defense forced three turnovers and Malcolm Rodriguez intercepted Brock Purdy’s pass with 6:47 left in the game to return the ball for a 26-yard touchdown. This game the Cowboys their game-securing 34-27 lead.
Kolby Harvell-Peel also shined for the OSU defense setting a school record with six broken up passes, including five in the first half. This record was previously held by the late Darrent Williams who had five against Texas Tech in 2003.
The Cowboy defense played a major factor in the outcome of the game where Malcolm Rodriguez, Amen Ogbongbemiga, and Tre Sterling all had the first interceptions of their career. This would be the first time in Purdy’s career he would throw three picks in one game.
Purdy had only thrown four interceptions this season leading up to this game.
The Pokes were able to escape with the win in Ames ending OSU’s six-game losing streak on the road in conference play.
Spencer Sanders became the all-time leader in passing yards as a freshman at OSU. His 249 passing yards against the Cyclones bring his season total to 1,739. The previous record was set by Donovan Woods who had 1,628 back in 2004.
This would only be OSU’s second win against a Big 12 opponent this season, but the Pokes have a chance to keep the train rolling this coming Saturday as they host the TCU Horned Frogs in Boone Pickens Stadium.
Both Iowa State and Oklahoma State are 5-3 in the season after Saturday, and the Cowboys will kickoff against TCU on Nov. 2 at 2:30 p.m.