The Cowboys, seeking traction in their follow act to winning the 2011 Big 12 Conference championship, beat the only team able to take them down a year ago, pulling away from Iowa State, 31-10, on Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State improved to 4-2 overall and 2-1 in the Big 12, with quarterback J.W. Walsh passing for a career-high 415 yards and a touchdown and running for another score. The Cowboys also got 151 yards rushing from Joseph Randle and a career-best 129 yards receiving from Charlie Moore, rallying from an early deficit to win going away. "With where we're at right now as a football team, to beat the No. 24 team in the (BCS Standings) by three touchdowns is pretty impressive," said Cowboys coach Mike Gundy, who became the school's all-time wins leader with victory No. 63. "We've got a long way to go, but it was a good day for our team." Iowa State fell to 3-3, 1-2. Cyclones quarterback Jared Barnett had the offense rolling early, directing Iowa State to a 7-0 first-quarter lead. He completed 19 of 39 passes for 206 yards with a touchdown, but also threw a key interception before being replaced by Steele Jantz in the fourth quarter. "After those first couple drives, they started making adjustments to our offense and we didn't respond," Barnett said. "They were definitely getting pressure on me and making it hard for our guys to beat them in one-on-one coverage." Iowa State's 37-31 double overtime upset of Oklahoma State in Ames a year ago proved to be the difference in the Cowboys' BCS title game hopes. Saturday's game couldn't wipe away all that anguish, but Oklahoma State players admitted to approaching the rematch with much anticipation. The Cowboys trailed, 7-0 and 10-7, in the first quarter, before taking control on both sides of the ball. Offensively, they finished with 625 yards of offense. Oklahoma State's defense forced five consecutive punts to end the half, while Quinn Sharp's field goal and Moore's biggest play, a 74-yard scoring reception, sent the Cowboys ahead, 17-10, at the half. On the touchdown, Walsh rolled right, allowing Moore to work a double move and get behind his defender, then led his receiver perfectly down the sideline and he reached the end zone untouched. "We came in at halftime and the difference was a big play, the double-move play," said Cyclones coach Paul Rhoads. "It was a well-conceived play." The Cowboys boosted the lead to 24-10 early in the third quarter, after the defense set up a short touchdown drive on Daytawion Lowe's interception of Barnett's pass at the Iowa State 44. From there, Oklahoma State used seven plays to score, with Joseph Randle covering the final 12 yards on a blast off tackle. Walsh closed the scoring with his 3-yard run. Iowa State started strong, winning the coin toss and electing to receive, then marching 75 yards for a touchdown on the game's opening possession. Barnett hit Josh Lenz for 25 yards on the first snap from scrimmage and added a 20-yard run on a keeper to spark the drive. Barnett's option pitch to Jeff Woody produced the touchdown on a 2-yard run. After the Cowboys tied the score on Randle's 1-yard touchdown run, the Cyclones took their final lead on Edwin Arceo's 41-yard field goal. From there, Iowa State had 11 possessions, with nine ending in a punt, two in turnovers and one on downs. "It's frustrating," Woody said. "But we're so close to firing on all cylinders. That's the frustrating part. It's not a big thing. It's we're just a hair short on execution, a hair short on play calling and a hair short on everything we're doing. "Once we get it corrected, we're going to be cooking." Notes: The Cowboys played shorthanded Saturday. Among the missing were starting quarterback Wes Lunt and receivers Tracy Moore and Isaiah Anderson. Backup running back Jeremy Smith returned from injury, carried once, then limped off. Reserve tight end Justin Horton also left Saturday's game with an apparently serious achilles injury. ... The Cyclones entered the game at No. 24 in the BCS Standings, their first ever appearance in the BCS rankings. ... Moore's 74-yard touchdown reception is Oklahoma State's longest play from scrimmage this season. Moore also had the previous long, a 72-yard scoring catch against Kansas last week. ... Iowa State's magic number of sorts remains 24 points. When holding teams under 24, the Cyclones have won 19 of the last 20 games. They dropped to 3-22 when allowing more than 24.
- Charlie Moore