Stout defense, controversial call highlight Oklahoma State loss

Former ISU linebacker Jevohn Miller attempts to stop OSU ball carrier Desmond Roland at the goal line at the end of the first half on Oct. 4 in Stillwater, Okla. Roland was ruled short of the goal line on the field, but replay officials controversially overturned the call and said it was a touchdown. The Cyclones fell to the Cowboys, 37-20. 

Alex Gookin

It was a quiet first half from Tyreek Hill, the Oklahoma State do-it-all athlete known for his exceptional speed. With no explosive plays allowed, the Cyclones appeared to have him contained.

One kickoff and 97 yards later, Hill put the No. 21 Oklahoma State Cowboys up 20-6 only seconds into the second half and held off the struggling Cyclones in a 37-20 win.

The Cyclones attempted to mount a comeback early in the third quarter, but couldn’t get things going as Sam Richardson struggled to throw accurately, for the second straight game, and the running game continued to struggle. Despite that, Rhoads said the Cyclones are still improving and overcame obstacles.

“We faced adversity and responded to it today,” Rhoads said. “We did not do that in our opener and learned valuable lessons from that and have been respondent to that ever since. Oklahoma State got on a little bit of a role offensively and had success and it got to the point where it was going to be hard to get a comeback.”

The Cyclones can credit the close first half score to their defense. The defense forced three sacks and two interceptions in the first half and held the Cowboys to only 13 points.

The unit was led by linebacker Jevohn Miller, who recorded nine tackles and a sack.

Jevohn Miller said they had one of their best first halves this year. ”We’ve had our series throughout other games where I thought we were playing really well, but we executed extremely well [against Oklahoma State].”

The unit started the season with more questions than answers and showed its youth after allowing 34 points to FCS North Dakota State. With problems at each position, the defense appeared to be in for a long season.

However, after hanging with Kansas State and holding Iowa to 17 points in a winning effort, the team appears to be heading in the right direction.

“We just learned from our mistakes,” said cornerback Nigel Tribune. “We were a young team to begin with so we couldn’t take any steps back. All of our steps were going to be forward. We were young, we had a lot of first time starters, so I knew we were going to grow as the season went on.”

A problem the Cyclones didn’t think they would have was putting up points, but with a stagnant run game and injury-riddled offensive line and wide receiving units, the Cyclones haven’t stayed consistent.

The Cyclones’ offense could be summed up in two words against Oklahoma State: E.J. Bibbs. His stat line of six catches for 69 yards and two touchdowns doesn’t even tell the whole story, recording a one-handed touchdown catch on third-and-long and another athletic touchdown catch late in the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately for the Cyclones, Bibbs was double- and triple-covered for much of the game and the team struggled to get anything going offensively outside their star tight end.

The loss dropped the Cyclones to 0-3 in the Big 12 and 1-4 overall before their homecoming matchup with the Toledo Rockets.

However, the loss didn’t come without some controversy. After allowing the Cowboys to recover their own kickoff due to a miscommunication between return men, Oklahoma State drove down in scoring position at the end of the first half. As they attempted to rush for a touchdown the clock ran out, and the Cyclones appeared to stuff them at the goal line.

The call on the field was no touchdown, but after video review, the call was reversed to the surprise of television analysts and Cyclone fans. Instead of a 6-6 halftime score, the Cowboys went up 13-6 before returning the second half kickoff to pull away from the Cyclones.

Athletic Director Jamie Pollard took the podium after the game criticizing the officiating before Paul Rhoads spoke about the statements and apologies the Big 12 has issued after botched calls in the past few years.

“Apologies are no good,” said head coach Paul Rhoads. “Apologies don’t bring back the outcome of what just took place.”