STILLWATER — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy stepped to the podium after a 45-27 loss to No. 18 Baylor and echoed the same message he had after the loss to Texas Tech two weeks ago.
OSU turned the ball over five times and allowed large chunks of yards on defense against the Red Raiders, and it was a similar story against Baylor on Saturday.
Spencer Sanders had all three of OSU’s turnovers, which made it eight in the past two games for the young quarterback, and the OSU defense allowed 9.9 yards per play.
“It’s similar to what happened at Tech,” Gundy said. “When you turn the ball over in key situations like that and give a touchdown on a turnover, and then we gave up big plays. … It’s just hard for us to overcome that.”
The Cowboys (4-3, 1-3 Big 12) offense entered homecoming weekend leading the country with 11 plays of 50 yards or more, but it was the Bears who broke free for big gains at Boone Pickens Stadium. Baylor (7-0, 4-0) made four plays that went for at least 63 yards and had at least 10 plays go for 18 yards or more.
“Obviously, too many big plays and missed tackles,” defensive coordinator Jim Knowles said. “That really killed us. It’s one thing for them to make a completion or make a big play — we’ve got to get guys on the ground.”
Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer passed for 312 yards and a touchdown on 13-of-17 passing. Receiver Josh Fleeks’ three receptions went for 18, 44 and 64 yards, as he finished 126 receiving yards.
OSU’s Heisman Trophy candidate, Chuba Hubbard, rushed for a game-high 171 yards and two touchdowns on 32 carries, but Baylor running back JaMycal Hasty wasn’t too far behind him. Hasty finished with 139 yards on 15 carries and had a few big runs to help hand the Cowboys their first homecoming defeat in five years.
The Bears capitalized on nearly all of their big plays. Three times they scored touchdowns on drives of three plays or fewer. Baylor’s first TD came on a 25-yard run by John Lovett on the opening three-play drive that put the Bears up 7-0.
A two-play drive that started with a 78-yard pass from Brewer to Tyquan Thornton — the longest play of the game — set up a 5-yard TD run by Hasty to cut the OSU lead to 20-17 in the third quarter. Hasty broke for a 73-yard TD run on the first play of a drive to put the Bears up 45-27 with 5:13 remaining.
The Cowboys led 13-10 at the half and a 3-yard TD run by Hubbard on OSU’s first drive of the second half gave the Cowboys a 20-10 lead.
Baylor outscored OSU 35-7 after that.
Baylor gained a 24-20 lead on a 64-yard TD reception by Fleeks, but LD Brown provided OSU its longest play with a 68-yard TD run to regain the lead with 12:55 left.
Things started to unravel for the Cowboys at that points. Sanders already had thrown an interception toward the end of the first half when he was trying to connect with Jordan McCray in the end zone, but he had done a solid job protecting the ball after that mistake — until the fourth quarter.
After Baylor took a 31-27 lead with 9:04 remaining, Sanders turned the ball over and the Bears defense took advantage to push the lead to 11. Sanders fumbled the ball near the OSU 20-yard line, and Baylor’s Terrel Bernard scooped it up and returned it 20 yards for a TD.
Sanders fumbled the ball a second time with 3:25 left, a turnover that essentially ended the game for the Cowboys.
“It’s a shame that the way we played up until nine minutes to go in the fourth quarter,” Gundy said. “Basically the wheels came off with nine minutes left, had turnovers which causes touchdowns and gave up three big plays.”