No. 11 Oklahoma State, No. 20 Texas put lethal running games to test

No. 20 Texas, based on three consecutive wins and a powerful offensive attack, will be the favorite when it plays No. 11 Oklahoma State on Saturday afternoon in a key Big 12 Conference dustup in Stillwater, Okla.

Expect the contest to be a battle, especially in the trenches, as both teams have run-first mentalities.

The Longhorns (5-2, 3-1 Big 12) head north after a 24-21 win over Iowa State last Saturday. The victory was Texas’ third straight and allowed it to jump two spots in the AP rankings to its highest spot in the poll this season. The Longhorns’ two losses — to Alabama and at Texas Tech — have come by a combined four points.

Quinn Ewers passed for 172 yards and three touchdowns, including the game winner to Xavier Worthy on fourth down, and Bijan Robinson racked up 171 total yards (135 of them on the ground) in the Longhorns’ win.

Texas’ Anthony Cook forced a late fumble with Iowa State at the Texas 28-yard line to preserve the victory. Jaylan Ford recovered the fumble after earlier intercepting a pass in the end zone to end another Cyclones scoring opportunity.

“A year ago, I don’t know if we win this game,” Texas coach Steve Sarkisian said Monday about the win over Iowa State. “I don’t know if we were mature enough as a team, if we had the culture to persevere, to have the poise and composure in the face of adversity like we had.”

“But in the end, we had to make plays at critical moments, and we weren’t perfect, but we made some critical plays.”

Robinson rushed for 100 or more yards for the fifth time this season, and Worthy has caught a TD pass in four straight games.

Oklahoma State (5-1, 2-1) returns home after a 43-40 double-overtime loss to then-No. 13 TCU in Fort Worth. The Cowboys led 24-7 five minutes into the second quarter and were still up 30-16 early in the fourth before surrendering two TCU touchdowns, the last with 1:57 to play in regulation.

After the teams traded TDs in the first overtime period, Oklahoma State was forced to settle for a career-best 52-yard field goal by Tanner Brown in the second; TCU responded with a touchdown to win.

It was the first time the Cowboys had lost when leading by at least 14 points since 2016 against Central Michigan. Oklahoma State’s last three losses — two last year and against TCU — have been on the road and by a combined 11 points.

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said afterward that the loss, and how it occurred, would gnaw at him.

“I don’t even remember the wins — I always remember the losses,” Gundy said. “We were trying to put (the game) away. We just didn’t get it done. The challenge now is I’m gonna guess almost every game we play is gonna be like this.”

Spencer Sanders passed for 245 yards and a score and ran for 68 yards and two more TDs in the loss. He now has 1,874 career rushing yards, an all-time quarterback rushing record for the Cowboys, and has eight touchdowns on the ground in 2022.

Sanders did not practice in the week running up to the TCU game after suffering a shoulder injury against Texas Tech on Oct. 8. Gundy refused to confirm if Sanders will be available against the Longhorns.

“I don’t want to talk about any injuries directly related to players and how much they practice,” Gundy said.

The Longhorns hold a 26-10 advantage in the series over Oklahoma State. The then-12th ranked Cowboys won last year’s contest 32-24 in Austin.

–Field Level Media