No. 6 Oklahoma State's defense leads the way in a 24-21 win over No. 17 Iowa State

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Oklahoma State and Kansas State are alone atop the Big 12.

The No. 6 Cowboys stifled No. 17 Iowa State and QB Brock Purdy in a 24-21 win on Saturday. The win pushes Oklahoma State to 4-0 and the Cowboys are the only team in the Big 12 that hasn’t lost this season.

OSU held Purdy to just 162 yards passing as Iowa State couldn’t do anything through the air. And the offense stepped up as soon as Iowa State tied the game in the third quarter.

Breece Hall tied the game at 14-14 with a 66-yard run in the third quarter. OSU immediately responded with a four-play TD drive that ended with a 14-yard run by Spencer Sanders. Saturday was Sanders’ first game back since he suffered an ankle injury in OSU’s season-opening win over Tulsa.

Sanders’ return wasn’t flawless, however. While he was 20-of-29 for 235 yards passing and had two total touchdowns, he also threw two interceptions.

But given how good Oklahoma State’s defense was, Sanders didn’t have to be perfect. Purdy struggled all day to throw downfield as his receivers didn’t find much space way past the line of scrimmage.

While the winning margin was just three points, the game wasn’t nearly that close for much of the second half. Iowa State’s final score came with less than a minute left and the Cyclones failed to get the onside kick.

The loss drops Iowa State to 3-2 overall and 3-1 in the Big 12.

STILLWATER, OK - OCTOBER 24:  Running back Chuba Hubbard #30 of the Oklahoma State Cowboys crosses the goal line after breaking free for a 32-yard touchdown against the Iowa State Cyclones in the second quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium on October 24, 2020 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)
Chuba Hubbard rushed for 140 yards and a TD against Iowa State. (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Is the Big 12 OSU’s to lose?

Kansas State moved to 4-0 in the conference with an easy 55-14 win over Kansas on Saturday. And while the Wildcats are very worthy of their top-20 ranking, they’re also starting a freshman QB in Will Howard now that Skylar Thompson is out for the year.

That’s why it’s easy to give Oklahoma State the edge in the conference right now. Sanders’ return should boost the offense and Oklahoma State’s defense has been great all season long. The 21 points Iowa State scored on Saturday are the most OSU has allowed all year. The Cowboys have given up just 48 points through four games.

While Oklahoma State’s offense hasn’t been as explosive in 2020 as it’s been in recent years, it doesn’t have to be with a defense that’s preventing teams from scoring like this.

Kansas State and Oklahoma State also meet in two weeks. The two conference leaders play on Nov. 7. Will they both be undefeated in the Big 12 before that meeting? OSU plays Texas — who beat Baylor on Saturday — on Halloween while Kansas State plays West Virginia.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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