Planning for success: Oklahoma State

Baylor’s undefeated season went out the window and Oklahoma suffered its second conference loss during a crazy weekend in the Big 12, as the standings were shuffled and preseason predictions fell by the wayside.

No team took a bigger blow than Oklahoma State.

Not only did TCU snap the Cowboys’ five-game losing streak, they overwhelmed Mike Gundy’s team in the process. The numbers are pretty staggering.

  • OSU ran 18 plays for 51 yards, an average of 2.83 yards per play, in the second half.

  • OSU quarterback Daxx Garman was 0 of 6 with one interception in the second half.

  • OSU was 3 of 15 on third down.

  • OSU ran 15 third-down plays for 36 yards, averaging 2.4 yards per play.

  • TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin’s 451 yards of total offense was 193 more yards than the Cowboys' team total (258).

Gundy’s squad hasn’t looked anything like the offenses we’ve seen from his program since the change to an “Air Raid” style offense under Dana Holgorsen after the 2009 season. The Cowboys will try to right the ship when Holgorsen’s West Virginia team visits Boone Pickens Stadium on Saturday.

As bad as things were against the Horned Frogs, Oklahoma State still sits at 5-2 and 3-1 in Big 12 play alongside Baylor, West Virginia and TCU as Big 12 teams with one conference loss. Their destiny remains largely in their hands.

"We can win all of them, that's what we’ve got to think,” linebacker Ryan Simmons said. “We can't think, ‘We may have a chance,’ because that's already putting doubt in our mind. We have to be confident in one another and what we can do with one another. We just have to approach every game like it's the Big 12 Championship game."

If the Cowboys hope to rebound from their first conference loss with another win streak, they will have to start with a win over West Virginia, another team with one loss in conference play. As OSU looks to plan for success against the Mountaineers, the Cowboys offense will need to transform into a unit we’ve rarely seen in 2014. OSU’s struggles have been caused by subpar offensive line play, but the entire group of 11 needs to play better if the Pokes hope to prove last Saturday was an anomaly.

Gundy has been banging the drum about the need for his team to run the ball better, but he was encouraged by what he saw from the Cowboys running game.

"I know everybody is tired of hearing this, but we have to run the ball,” Gundy said. "We actually blocked better in the run game [against TCU].”

OSU ran for 126 rushing yards, averaging 3.23 yards per carry against TCU, its best yards per carry average since its 3.76 average in a 45-35 win over Texas Tech on Sept. 25.

Garman has shouldered his share of the blame after the Cowboys couldn’t manage double-digit points for the first time since before Holgorsen arrived, but Gundy sees no reason to consider a change under center, even with Garman’s bad outing against TCU. Garman’s early success made it easy to forget he is seeing his first extensive action since 2009 and has a grand total of six collegiate games (five starts) under his belt.

“We need to protect Garman better,” Gundy said. “I'm not trying to defend anybody, but if we don't run the ball better than we did Saturday and protect, then it is hard for him to operate. With the learning and information that he's getting in the game and the adjustments he's making, he's doing fine.”