Oklahoma State needs late field goal to hold off upset-minded K-State
STILLWATER, Okla. — Ben Grogan is getting used to having games come down to his foot.
Grogan made a 37-yard field goal with 32 seconds remaining to lift No. 20 Oklahoma State past Kansas State, 36-34 on Saturday.
Last week, he made field goals from 41 and 40 yards in the final 1:33 to give the Cowboys (5-0, 2-0 Big 12) a 30-27 victory at Texas.
"It’s obviously a great feeling and especially to do it at home," Grogan said. "It feels good to once again be there for my team when they needed me. I give credit to my protection. It was perfect. The snap and the hold was perfect and everything just went in my favor. …
"Especially, with last week being so recent, I kind of had the same mindset. My team was down and I had to do it again, so it was kind of like a `No-big-deal attitude’ that I have to have."
Grogan rebounded to make the winner after having an extra-point blocked in the second quarter.
"It was protection, but we got it corrected," Grogan said. "The line was great the rest of the game. It was just a minor thing they had to fix."
After the Wildcats (3-1, 0-1) built a 28-13 lead late in the second quarter, the Cowboys rallied to take a 33-28 lead on quarterback Mason Rudolph’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Sheperd with 6:06 to go.
Joe Hubener scored on an 8-yard run — capping a 94-yard drive — to give K-State a 34-33 advantage with 3:01 left. The quarterback returned in the fourth quarter after spending most of the game on the sideline because of an apparent head injury.
On Oklahoma State’s winning drive Rudolph threw a 19-yard pass to Marcel Ateman on a fourth-and-8 play, before Grogan’s kick.
On their final opportunity, K-State tried to get into field-goal range, but Michael Hunter intercepted Hubener’s pass with 9 seconds left.
"Great win for us," Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said. "I was really proud of the way we rallied, came back and finished things off at the end there. The defense made a key stop. In the end, we found a way to win."
Kansas State coach Bill Snyder will be watching how his team responds to the disappointing loss.
"To come back and score and get in position to win the ballgame, then lose it, there’s going to be some pain that goes along with it," Snyder said. "How do the young people in our program respond to it? Are they willing to fight back, not give up and learn from their mistakes? That’ll be the key element."
Rudolph, who committed three turnovers last week against Texas with two being returned for touchdowns, bounced back with a clutch performance, completing 34 of 55 passes for a career-high 437 yards and three touchdowns, along with one interception. It was his second 400-yard day in four games.
"In my head, I just tried to really lock in this week, and have a great week of practice," Rudolph said, "and just listen to only the stuff going on in this building and nothing else around."
His output was even more impressive — and crucial to the Cowboys — because their running game struggled all day. Missing their top two running backs, Chris Carson and Rennie Childs, due to undisclosed injuries, Oklahoma State managed only 12 yards rushing in the first half and 49 overall. Fourth-stringer Raymond Taylor led the squad with 35 yards on 9 carries against K-State’s rushing defense, which ranked eighth in the nation coming in.
"We had a feeling that we would have to throw the ball about 50 times," Gundy said. "We were playing arguably the best run defense in this league, maybe even top 10 in the country. We just didn’t feel like we could beat our heads against the wall, and we knew we had to throw it."
Hubener was injured on a hit by safety Tre Flowers less than 2 minutes into the game. With the next two quarterbacks on its depth chart already out with injuries, the Wildcats had to turn to receiving leader Kody Cook.
Initially, Cook was outstanding, completing 9 of 11 passes for 127 yards and two touchdowns, while also rushing for 58 yards on 14 carries, in the first half as Kansas State built a 28-13 lead late in the second quarter.
Oklahoma State adjusted in the second half, and the Wildcats had only 1 yard of total offense in the third quarter. Cook injured his right shoulder early in the fourth.
"I thought the most important thing about this game was the adjustments made by our defensive staff after halftime," Gundy said. "We couldn’t slow them down in the first half, but we made some really good adjustments at halftime. That gave us a chance to win the football game."
Snyder was pleased with Cook’s performance.
"It was very good, I thought he played with poise," Snyder said about Cook, who last played quarterback for Hutchinson Community College in 2012. "He played smart. We couldn’t ask for any more."