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Big 12 Notebook: Cowboys riding high after Baylor upset

The SportsXchange

The challenge was daunting. Mike Gundy even acknowledged his Oklahoma State team needed to score points because Baylor was going to generate offense.

Why not feel that way during preparation? The Bears entered the Saturday night's matchup averaging 61.2 points and 684.8 yards, numbers that would require most teams to play another half, or another two days.

Yet Oklahoma State responded by keeping Baylor out of the end zone until late in the third quarter as the Cowboys drilled the Bears 49-17 to gain the inside track on the Big 12 championship and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl.

"I thought we had a really good game plan,'' said Gundy, emphasizing a point he also made before the game. But their quarterback is a really good player and they have a lot of speed. You put together all three phases of your game plan, and you try to hold them to half of what they averaged.''

Still, when he did the math, like a track and field coach projecting the score of a meet, Gundy kept adding in difficult factors. Like scoring on special teams. And holding Baylor to half its average. And managing at least a 35-point night against a defense that came in as the best on average in the Big 12.

"That's not something we anticipated,'' Gundy said of his projections, "but when you play at home in front of a crowd like this, and you get on a roll, sometimes that can happen. That's the advantage of playing at home.''

In primetime. In cold, breezy conditions. And in front of fans eager to give the Cowboys the edge they needed to show why they were picked as preseason favorites in the Big 12.

Following a head-scratching loss at West Virginia to begin conference play, Oklahoma State has reeled off seven straight wins to climb to 10-1 overall and 7-1 in the Big 12. It caps the regular season on Dec. 7 when it plays host to Oklahoma.

Needing perhaps the biggest game of his career to give the Cowboys the offensive punch they needed to upset Baylor, senior quarterback Clint Chelf delivered by completing 19 of 25 passes for a career-best 370 yards, while accounting for four touchdowns.

Defensively, Oklahoma State capitalized on its opportunistic instincts. The Cowboys forced three fumbles and also made a pair of fourth-down stops in the second half that launched TD drives.

One of the fumble recoveries came near the goal-line in the second quarter after Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty tripped on his own on a previous play in which he should have scored. In addition, Oklahoma State cornerback Tyler Patmon returned a fumble 78 yards for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to make it 42-10.

"Didn't they execute well? They bought in,'' exclaimed Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Glenn Spencer. "We had to challenge them. We had to get in their face. We some different personnel groups, and those guys got in their face. There's a risk you could give up a big play, but they were focused and played with outrageous effort. They executed this game plan great.''

FIVE BIGGEST TAKEAWAYS FROM WEEK 13 IN THE BIG 12:

1. Oklahoma State fulfilled its role as preseason favorite in the Big 12, though its dominance of previously unbeaten Baylor was unexpected. QB Clint Chelf threw for 370 yards and three touchdowns, while an opportunistic defense recovered three fumbles, returning one for a TD.

2. Baylor proved fallible in the lopsided defeat at Oklahoma State. QB Bryce Petty tripped when he appeared to be going in for an early touchdown. The Bears then fumbled on the OSU one yard-line and the Cowboys countered with a 99-yard TD drive. That set the tone for a long night.

3. Oklahoma used a 301-yard ground assault to make freshman QB Trevor Knight comfortable in his first road start and outlasted Kansas State. Bob Stoops earned his 158th victory in 15 seasons with the Sooners, passing Barry Switzer as the all-time winningest coach at Oklahoma.

4. Iowa State showed the heart it maintains under fiery coach Paul Rhoads, earning its first Big 12 win with a shutout over Kansas. LB Jeremiah George, the Big 12's leading tackler, posted 14 stops in his home farewell. QB Grant Rohach had his best day passing with 300 yards.

5. Kansas State had its four-game winning streak snapped, ruining a superb performance by WR Tyler Lockett, who set school records with 278 yards receiving (on 12 catches) and 440 all-purpose yards. Big plays by Lockett, however, could not blunt OU's superior run game.
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