OSU stumbles at Baylor
BY JIMMIE TRAMEL World Sports Writer
Sunday, December 02, 2012
12/02/12 at 5:42 AM
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WACO, Texas - It was Baylor's day to end streaks.
Unfortunately for Oklahoma State, some of the streak-busting came at the Cowboys' expense.
Fans who watched Baylor's 41-34 victory over OSU in a Saturday regular season finale roared in the second half, when it was announced over the Floyd Casey Stadium public address system that the Bears' basketball team had ended Kentucky's 55-game homecourt winning streak.
A louder roar came later in the football game, when Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk streaked down the middle of the field for a 76-yard touchdown with 5:11 remaining, essentially clinching the Bears' first win over the Cowboys since Mike Gundy's first season as head coach.
OSU, closing a regular season with back-to-back defeats for the first time since 2006, dropped to 7-5 overall, 5-4 in Big 12 games and 1-4 on the road.
Seastrunk, an Oregon transfer who once was among the nation's top recruits, carried 16 times for 178 yards as Baylor won a third consecutive game to reach 7-5 and 4-5.
In between 2005 and the most recent OSU-Baylor game, the Cowboys had beaten the Bears six consecutive times by a collective score of 293-103. Every one of the games during the streak was decided by at least 27 points.
This time, the roles of predator and prey were reversed.
Baylor, taking advantage of Eddie Lackey's interception return for a score, a 98-yard touchdown drive and a 75-yard home run pass from Nick Florence to Tevin Reese, cruised to a 24-3 second-quarter lead.
The Cowboys were forced to play catch-up the rest of the way. Red zone defense helped them get back in contention.
Baylor, which ranks second nationally in total offense and fifth in scoring, could have put the game away during a stretch of possessions that started with the final drive of the second quarter.
But the Bears were limited to three points on four consecutive trips inside OSU's 25, getting a field goal blocked by Nigel Nicholas, missing a field goal and turning the ball over on downs when a fourth-and-1 play was stuffed at the 4 (Davidell Collins was credited with the tackle).
Trailing "only" 34-20 entering the fourth quarter, Clint Chelf started and J.W. Walsh finished an 88-yard OSU touchdown drive that got the Cowboys within seven points with 5:30 remaining.
"We had them in a pretty good situation there," Gundy said. "We had a little bit of momentum because we scored. If you get one stop and get the ball back, you can run your normal offense. You are not in an all-out two-minute."
But what happened next was - Gundy's description - "disappointing."
On Baylor's next play, Seastrunk took a handoff and split OSU's defense to start a foot race to the end zone. He started hobbling when he reached red zone vicinity - would Baylor's red zone issues get this crazy? - but kept chugging along ahead of pursuers until he fell into the end zone.
"It felt like I was in 'Call of Duty' and someone sniped me," Seastrunk said, referring to a video game and a quad muscle that tightened during the run.
But he suggested he was motivated to reach paydirt on senior day.
"I'm just like, this is for my team," he said. "This is bigger than me. It's for these seniors and the people I play for every day."
OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young told reporters he can't wait to look at film and see what happened on the play. Did the Bears happen to catch the Cowboys with the perfect call?
Baylor had been giving OSU trouble with a quarterback power read down the line, with Nick Florence handing off to runners for chunks of yardage. The Cowboys countered by putting a defensive end "up," according to Young, who said the Cowboys blitzed two linebackers on Seastrunk's big run.
"They just creased us," Young said. "I think our safety got confused and rolled the wrong way and we didn't have anybody coming down. So it was a bad combination. Huge play in the ballgame, too."
Down 41-27, OSU turned the ball over on downs at the Baylor 40 before forcing a punt and driving 84 yards for a Chelf-to-David Glidden 18-yard touchdown that provided the final margin with 1:16 remaining.
A gimmick onside kick (attempted by Teddy Johnson instead of Quinn Sharp) was recovered by the Bears, who killed the clock and OSU's six-game series winning streak.
Original Print Headline: OSU can't overcome early deficit at Baylor
Jimmie Tramel 918-581-8389
Oklahoma State's Clint Chelf is pressured by Baylor's Chris McAllister. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World