Oklahoma State vs. Baylor football: Five takeaways from Cowboys' win over Bear

Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders made more than a few important plays in the ninth-ranked Cowboys’ 36-25 win over No. 16 Baylor on Saturday at McLane Stadium.

Huge throws. Dazzling runs. But his biggest moment might’ve come when the redshirt senior should’ve been in observation mode on a run play by true freshman Ollie Gordon.

But when Baylor defender Christian Morgan’s helmet drilled into Gordon’s left side, it popped the ball back in Sanders’ direction.

The quarterback dove in head first to secure the ball. Two plays later, the Cowboys kicked a field goal for a two-score advantage, 36-25.

With a chaotic start to the Big 12 season, Saturday’s win was a strong early statement for an OSU team that has hopes of getting back to the Big 12 title game again this season.

Sanders finished with 181 passing yards and 75 rushing yards, and two total touchdowns.

"He played good," OSU head coach Mike Gundy said. "He converts a lot of plays with his legs. What he brings to the table is, he can convert first downs and keep the chains moving with his legs.

"Spencer's a competitive dude, now. For some reason, people don't give him enough credit."

Junior running back Dominic Richardson didn’t post eye-popping stats, but his tough running — particularly between the tackles, where Baylor’s defense is strongest — was critical.

Richardson finished with 73 yards on 24 carries with one touchdown.

Here are four more takeaways from the Cowboys’ victory: Pick party for Oklahoma State Oklahoma State hadn’t intercepted a pass since the first game of the season, but a pair of senior safeties came up with fourth-quarter interceptions to help put the game away.

Thomas Harper picked off a pass near midfield and returned it to the Baylor 28, setting up a Cowboy field goal for the 36-25 lead.

It was Harper's second interception of his career and first of the season.

"Doing your job, sometimes the ball just hits you in the face," OSU defensive coordinator Derek Mason said. "You don’t have to make a spectacular play. Sometimes, being in the right place at the right time, you’ll make plays."

On Baylor’s next drive, with the Bears moving down the field, Jason Taylor II stepped in front of a deep throw by quarterback Blake Shapen. Taylor pulled in the pass and barely got a foot down as his momentum carried him out of bounds with 2:55 to play.

The Cowboys milked most of the clock and force Baylor to use all of its timeouts on the ensuing drive.

Taylor has shown a knack for big plays at key times, like his fumble return touchdown in a tight win at Kansas State two years ago, his blocked field goal at Boise State and his pick-six at Texas last season.

"He's greedy," Mason said. "He showed the hands that he has, the range that he has. He's got A-plus ball skills, and what I believe is, as he continues to get comfortable with the guys around him, you're gonna see him continue to make plays, because he'll know what he can do and what he can't do."

Bryson Green’s concentration Sophomore receiver Bryson Green had two crucial receptions, one that went for a touchdown and another that set up a field goal.

On OSU’s first drive of the game, Green got a step ahead of his man on a third-and-4 play from the Baylor 8. He leapt for the pass from Sanders, bobbled it at first, but pulled it in before landing in the end zone for the score.

In the third quarter, OSU ran a trick play with slot receiver John Paul Richardson taking the ball on a reverse, then setting up to throw deep. He lofted the ball behind a wide-open Green, who adjusted and pulled in the throw, getting his left foot inbounds just before his right knee hit out of bounds at the 2-yard line.

OSU couldn’t punch it into the end zone, but kicked a field goal for a 30-17 lead.

‘Special’ moments Oklahoma State’s special teams units came up with multiple key plays on Saturday.

Facing a fourth-and-4 at the Baylor 39, OSU elected to punt rather than go for it in opposing territory. Punter Tom Hutton sent a punt toward the right corner of the field, where true freshman receiver Braylin Presley was waiting, catching the ball to down it at the 2.

Mason Cobb’s key tackle Coming into the game, Baylor was tied for seventh nationally in total fourth-down attempts with 11 through four games. The Bears had converted seven of them. 

With the Cowboys leading 9-3 in the second quarter, Baylor had driven inside the OSU 10 before finding itself in a fourth-and-1 at the 7.

Running left, it looked like Reese had open field for the first down and maybe a touchdown. But OSU linebacker Mason Cobb slipped off a block and tackled Reese for no gain and a turnover on downs.


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