No. 14 OK State dashes No. 8 TCU’s perfect season, improves to 9-0
STILLWATER, Okla. — How’s this for a playoff statement?
By dominating previously unbeaten TCU on Saturday, Oklahoma State gained control of the Big 12 championship race, and perhaps much more.
Mason Rudolph passed for 352 yards and five touchdowns, James Washington caught five passes for 184 yards and three touchdowns, and the 14th-ranked Cowboys pulled off a 49-29 upset of the eighth-ranked Horned Frogs.
Oklahoma State travels to Iowa State next week, then the Cowboys face No. 2 Baylor and No. 14 Oklahoma at home. Win those, and Oklahoma State (9-0, 6-0 Big 12) will be the undisputed Big 12 champion with a strong argument for a spot in the College Football Playoff.
"There’s a long ways to make up ground to get up there," Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. "Now, I’m not going to disregard that we’re playing teams that are ranked high enough that we could make up some ground. But I just continue to stress for us, we have to practice well tomorrow."
Oklahoma State, which has won 11 straight overall, has felt overlooked all season. In the College Football Playoff rankings, the Cowboys are behind five teams that entered the weekend with a loss.
"We felt a bit snubbed, but our body of work has and will put us where we need to be at the end of the day," Oklahoma State linebacker Chad Whitener, who intercepted two passes and ran one back for a touchdown against TCU, said.
TCU’s Trevone Boykin, who has generated Heisman buzz all season, passed for 445 yards and ran for 73 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw a career-high four interceptions.
"I used the Kevin Durant example, the one where you don’t let him get to 50 points, just let him get to 25," Gundy said. "That’s what we did tonight."
TCU (8-1, 5-1) gained 663 yards, but the Horned Frogs were held scoreless in the red zone twice as their 16-game win streak was snapped.
"They kicked our butt. It’s as simple as this," TCU coach Gary Patterson said.
TCU’s Josh Doctson, the nation’s leader in receiving yards, left the game in the second quarter with a left wrist injury and did not return.
"You go in with a game plan, and the game plan is to throw to number nine, and then number nine’s not there anymore," Patterson said. "Your whole set of rules change for this offense, because they set plays up for people."
Now, TCU is likely out of the national championship picture, Boykin put a dent in his Heisman hopes and Doctson might be lost for the season.
"The key to it is, maybe the playoffs are out of line, but we can beat Oklahoma and Baylor, and you’re 11-1, and somebody else can make that decision (about the playoffs)," Patterson said.
Shaun Nixon had career highs of nine catches and 146 yards, and KaVontae Turpin added seven catches for 107 yards for the Horned Frogs.
Washington picked up right where he left off last week. The sophomore speedster had 200 yards on four catches against Texas Tech, with touchdown catches of 75 and 73 yards in the fourth quarter. He had catches of 48 and 50 yards in the first nine minutes against TCU.
"We felt like we had an advantage with the way they were defending us and singling him up," Gundy said.
Rudolph connected with Jeff Carr on a screen pass for a 12-yard score that put the Cowboys up 21-9 early in the second quarter.
After stopping TCU on fourth down in the red zone, Oklahoma State struck quickly. Rudolph connected with Marcell Ateman for an 83-yard touchdown pass to put the Cowboys up 28-9.
Early in the second half, Whitener intercepted Boykin and returned it to the TCU 1-yard line. J.W. Walsh scored on the next play to make it 35-9.
Whitener took Boykin’s fourth interception back 42 yards for a touchdown with 44 seconds remaining.