STILLWATER, Oklahoma – There were big time moves made by big time adjustments for the Cowboy defense as Oklahoma State defeated No. 24 Kansas State 26-13 on Saturday night in Boone Pickens Stadium.
The Cowboys shined defensively throughout the game limiting Kansas State to only 244 total yards and holding the Wildcats to one field goal through three quarters of play.
“That was a fun one,” Mike Gundy said postgame. “Kansas State is a very well-coached team, very physical, and very senior dominated up front. We challenged our team on both sides of the ball, and they answered the challenge.”
The Cowboys’ defense, however, wasn’t the only defense that showed up to work. Kansas State’s defensive pressure targeted Spencer Sanders right out of the gate, and the Pokes were forced to punt the ball away on their first two drives of the game only to settle with a field goal on their third.
This would be the first of four field goals Matt Ammendola would have to take.
Gundy preached on the importance of scoring over settling for field goals after the Cowboys fell short 36-30 against the Texas Longhorns last week to open the Big 12 portion of their schedule, and this week seemed to consist of the same offensive struggles for the Pokes in the red zone.
“All fingers on me for that one,” QB Spencer Sanders said. “I’ve got to get better. The other guys did amazing. I need to hold myself accountable for that, and we’ll get back to work on it tomorrow.”
The Cowboys saw three missed scoring opportunities against a powerful Texas defense last week where the Longhorns protected the goal line at all costs refusing OSU’s attempts into the end zone.
This week seemed to be no different after Ammendola was summoned out on four different occasions to give the Cowboys three instead of seven.
The difference this week was that it was enough in large part thanks to the Cowboys’ defensive pressure on Skylar Thompson and the Wildcats’ offense.
“We need to improve,” Gundy said. “We’re not good enough down there yet. In order to have success in this league, you can’t kick field goals. Teams can score too many points.”
One name that made headlines from his dominant rushing performance, no surprise here, was Chuba Hubbard with his 296 total yards.
Hubbard continues to gain national attention as he averaged 11.8 yards per carry with 25 total carries picking up just under 300 yards on the night.
This included a career high 84-yard touchdown run on the opening snap of OSU’s first drive in the third quarter.
There's a reason Chuba Hubbard leads the FBS in rushing ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/r2NYzyma70
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) September 29, 2019
Hubbard even commented that the stadium’s giant screen in the West end zone is what helped him to outrun Kansas State.
“It actually did help,” Hubbard said with a laugh. “I thought no one was around me at first, but I looked up and thought whoa. Hold up. But it definitely helped me out a little bit.”
Hubbard’s 296 yards made this his third game of the season with 200+ yards after he had 221 against Oregon State in the season opener and 256 against Tulsa.
Hubbard is also the first Cowboy ever to have three games consisting of 200+ yards in the first five games of the season.
He ranks No. 1 in rushing yards in the FBS, and he now totals 938 rushing yards in the season, which is 284 more than the nation’s No. 2 rusher, J.K. Dobbins of Ohio State at 654.
“He’s a special kid,” Offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson said. “He sent me a text earlier in the week saying he’d do whatever it takes to win. He’d take the ball 30 times, or he’d take the ball five times. That’s just a good measure of his character.”
Hubbard received nothing but praise from his teammates after his Heisman-worthy performance where Spencer Sanders even called for his name to be directed to the Heisman campaign.
“I’m just real proud of that guy,” Wide receiver Tylan Wallace said. “He comes out and does this thing every game. He had a hell of a game today and just did his thing.”
Wallace, who had notable plays of his own finishing with eight receptions for 145 yards averaging 18.1 yards, says Hubbard is a guy who works hard every day, and his success is the kind of noise a guy like him deserves.
“It started as a passing game, but we had to switch it up,” Wallace said. “I’m having for him [Chuba] because of how great he is. He really deserves this.”
The Cowboys get their first Big 12 win of the season against Kansas State marking this as their seventh win in the past 11 meetings and extends their home record to 6-1 against the Cats.
The Cowboys will travel to Lubbock, Texas, next week to face the Red Raiders who will be fresh off a 55-16 loss to Oklahoma in Norman.