Mark D. Smith-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Oklahoma State held off a fourth quarter rally from the Jayhawks to move back to .500 in Big 12 play on Saturday.
The Jayhawks finished the game with five unsuccessful fourth-down attempts - potentially the difference-making stat of the game. Had Kansas converted one or more of those attempts, they could have put themselves in a position to not require a dramatic, late comeback for a win.
Better yet, had the Jayhawks elected to kick a field goal from the Oklahoma State 18, 24 or 32 yard lines, they could have got points on the board and set themselves up for a close finish. Instead, the Cowboys built a 20-point lead on a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown by quarterback J.W. Walsh.
Charlie Weis elected to pull starting quarterback Dayne Crist late in the game and the team began a rally with Mike Cummings at the helm. Cummings threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Jimmay Mundine to get the first points of the game for the Jayhawks and a 30-yard touchdown run by James Sims two minutes later continued the rally.
However, a roughing the punter penalty with less than two minutes remaining afforded the Cowboys a free first down and they were able to kneel out the clock.
Box score hero: It feels wrong to pick a kicker, but Oklahoma State's Quinn Sharp proved to be a difference-maker for the Cowboys. He made two of three field goal attempts, with his only miss from over 50 yards. His biggest contribution, though, was as a punter. Sharp punted five times and averaged 53 yards per punt, including a 73-yard blast that pinned the Jayhawks inside their own 10.
Rankings ramifications: While unranked, Oklahoma State did receive five votes in the USA Today coaches' poll. With a win over Kansas they may receive a few more, but a weak opponent will certainly not earn them a spot in the top 25.
But did they cover?: As 27-point favorites, the Cowboys didn't come close to covering the large spread.
More information on this game: To read more about the Kansas Jayhawks, be sure to visit Rock Chalk Talk and SB Nation Kansas City. For an Oklahoma State Cowboys perspective, check out Cowboys Ride For Free.
This story was originally published on SB Nation.com.