Oklahoma State's Spencer Sanders (3) scores a touchdown in the second quarter during the college football game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and Central Michigan Chippewa at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, Oka., Thursday, Sept., 1, 2022. OSU won 58-44.

Osu Vs Central Michigan

No. 11 Oklahoma State to look in mirror vs. Arizona State

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy is emphasizing trying to contain Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones, a former Florida starter, heading into Saturday night’s game for the 11th-ranked Cowboys at Stillwater, Okla.

Gundy said Jones “can really hurt you” with his dual-threat ability.

Jones, a Top 100 talent out of high school, completed 13 of 18 passes for 152 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions last week in a 40-3 victory over Northern Arizona. He rushed 11 times for 48 yards and two touchdowns.

“We have to control their quarterback first; he’s a good player,” Gundy said. “He throws the deep ball really well and makes plays with his legs. If you don’t contain him, he’s gonna take off and run.”

Arizona State (1-0) is equally concerned about multi-faceted Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders. The redshirt senior accounted for six of the seven touchdowns for the Cowboys (1-0) in last week’s 58-44 home win over visiting Central Michigan.

Sanders threw for 406 yards while completing 28 of 41 attempts with four touchdowns and no interceptions. He also rushed for 57 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns.

“Athlete, extends plays, I’m scared,” Arizona State defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson said of Sanders. “Really reminds me of that guy from Utah (Cam Rising). He’s a pretty good athlete, can move around, extends plays, knows where the ball has to go, makes all the checks. Pretty good player, really.”

The Sun Devils will head into Saturday’s game without two of their starters who are lost for the season.

Defensive end Michael Matus was lost before the season because of a torn ACL, and offensive tackle Joey Ramos came away with a severe high ankle sprain against Northern Arizona.

“It’s the old statement, ‘Next guy up.’ There’s nothing you can do about it,” Arizona State coach Herm Edwards said. “You got to play the guys that are available, and I tell guys that all the time. You’re one hit away or a helmet coming off where you got to go in the game, and you got to prepare that way.”

Isaia Glass likely will start at Ramos’ position for the Sun Devils, with Emmit Bohle at left tackle if Des Holmes (out with an undisclosed injury) is unable to play against the Cowboys.

Edwards said Holmes is questionable for this week. Glass and Bohle split reps at left tackle through the spring and into fall camp.

Edwards said cornerback Timarcus Davis, out nearly three weeks with a bruised knee, is expected to play against Oklahoma State. The player who replaced Davis, Ed Woods, is now out with a lower-body injury.

Oklahoma State running back Deondre Jackson, a transfer from Texas A&M, has been unavailable because of a transcript issue. School officials expect Jackson to be available against Arizona State.

Jake Schultz, a former defensive end moved to offense in the spring, had an undisclosed injury that kept him out against Central Michigan but will return against the Sun Devils.

–Field Level Media

OSU quarterback Spencer Sanders looks to make a pass during a 37-33 win against OU last season.

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No. 12 Oklahoma State looks for fast start Thursday vs. CMU

For No. 12 Oklahoma State, the entire offseason has been about one more yard.

Had the Cowboys mustered that one more yard needed for a touchdown against Baylor in the Big 12 championship game, they might well have been one of the four teams selected for the College Football Playoff.

At the very least, Oklahoma State would have won its first outright conference title since 1948. But Oklahoma State came up those inches short against Baylor, losing 21-16, and despite finishing the season with a 37-35 win over Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl for a 12-2 record, they still felt the sting of just missing a historic season.

Oklahoma State has been trying to turn that disappointment into fuel for the 2022 season, which begins Thursday evening against visiting Central Michigan.

There’s a lot for Oklahoma State to be optimistic about, especially an offense that should be prolific.

Quarterback Spencer Sanders is back after a first-team All-Big 12 season, and he has seven experienced receivers as targets.

“I think this year, everyone will be out there making plays,” junior wideout Brennan Presley said. “It’s not going to be one dominant guy, but the entire group making plays because we can all make those plays.”

Three starters return on the offensive line, but there is some uncertainty for the Cowboys at running back, with Dominic Richardson and Jaden Nixon stepping into expanded roles.

“Every year we need three backs,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “The year we have one guy who carries it 23 times a game and we don’t have to use the others unless we want to — I don’t see that happening.”

Especially noteworthy about the Cowboys last year was the play of the defense, which led the Big 12 in total and scoring defense. Soon thereafter, Ohio State hired away OSU coordinator Jim Knowles.

Losing seven starters from last year’s defense won’t help, either, but the front is stout, anchored by Collin Oliver, Trace Ford, Tyler Lacy and Brock Martin.

The Cowboys hope to avoid the upset bug against a Central Michigan team that beat them 30-27 in a dramatic 2016 meeting.

The Chippewas went 9-4 last year, capping their best season in more than a decade by beating Washington State in the Sun Bowl.

CMU features one of the nation’s top running backs in Lew Nichols, who rushed for 1,848 yards on a nation-leading 341 carries last season.

Nichols knows he will be targeted by opposing defenses after his 2021 success.

“It’s been extra motivation,” Nichols said at MAC Media Day. “I have my own motivation internally within myself. Just with all of the odds on me, with everyone being aware of what I can do, it’s made me more motivated to go out there and make more plays.”

Central Michigan was picked to finish third in the East division in the preseason MAC football poll.

Chippewas coach Jim McElwain suffered a seizure in late July and was forced to miss MAC Media Day but has presided over the team during August practices and will be able to coach the season opener.

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles watches during football practice at the Sherman Smith Training Center.

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Syndication The Oklahoman

Buckeyes hire DC Jim Knowles away from Oklahoma State

After a season of spotty defense and 11 days after giving up 42 points to Michigan, Ohio State coach Ryan Day announced Tuesday that Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has been hired to fill that role for the Buckeyes.

Knowles spent the past four seasons at Oklahoma State, and the Cowboys’ defense in 2021 was a major reason why they finished atop the Big 12.

He will stay with Oklahoma State through a Fiesta Bowl appearance against Notre Dame and join Ohio State after the Buckeyes face Utah in the Rose Bowl, also on New Year’s Day.

“Starting Jan. 2, Knowles will be the Buckeyes’ new defensive coordinator,” Day said. “What is most important at this time is that we put our players in the best position possible to finish this season with a win in the Rose Bowl. To that end, we will continue our planning and preparation for the game with our current staff of 10 assistant coaches.”

Significantly, the 56-year-old Knowles helped turned the Cowboys from an offense-oriented program into one that improved its defensive numbers in each of the past four seasons.

While Ohio State was flailing around trying to slow down Michigan as the Big Ten title slipped away from the Buckeyes, Oklahoma State was finishing the regular season with the third-ranked total defense in the country (278.4 yards per game) and was eighth in scoring defense (16.8 points per game), and second in third-down defense (26.1 percent).

Ohio State was 50th in total defense (365.4 ypg), tied for 25th in scoring defense (20.1 ppg), and – notably — tied for 97th in third-down defense (41.4).

Day relieved defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs of play-calling duties after the Buckeyes lost to Oregon, 35-20, back on Sept. 11. Secondary coach Matt Barnes handled that role through the rest of the season, but with the addition of Knowles after the bowl games, Day did not indicate whether Coombs or Barnes will remain on the Buckeyes staff.

Knowles was previously defensive coordinator at Duke (2010-17), head coach at Cornell (2004-09), and linebackers coach at Ole Miss (2003) after earlier stops at Western Michigan (1997-02) and Cornell (1988-96).

–Field Level Media

Dec 4, 2021; Arlington, TX, USA; Baylor Bears running back Abram Smith (7) hurdles Oklahoma State Cowboys defensive tackle Israel Antwine (95) during the first half of the Big 12 Conference championship game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

No. 9 Baylor wins Big 12, ends No. 5 Oklahoma State’s CFP hopes

Blake Shapen threw for 180 yards and three touchdowns to help No. 9 Baylor hold on for a 21-16 win over No. 5 Oklahoma State in the Big 12 Championship Game on Saturday in Arlington, Texas.

The Bears (11-2) kept their faint College Football Playoff hopes alive and secured at least a Sugar Bowl berth with the win while the Cowboys (11-2) await their bowl fate Sunday after having their CFP hopes dashed.

Jairon McVea made a diving stop of the Cowboys’ Dezmon Jackson on fourth-and-goal from the 1 in the final minute, thwarting Oklahoma State’s comeback hopes and giving the Bears their first Big 12 title since sharing it in 2014 and first solo title since 2013.

Baylor led 21-3 in the second quarter but the Cowboys didn’t go away, chipping away and making it 21-16 with Tanner Brown’s 20-yard field goal with 8:17 remaining.

Oklahoma State’s defense had been the best in the Big 12 all season and kept the Cowboys’ in it, with a pair of four-quarter stops after Brown’s field goal.

The Cowboys got the ball back with 3:23 left, needing 90 yards to take the lead for the first time since late in the first quarter.

With running back Jaylen Warren out with an injury, and Baylor making yardage hard to come by on the ground, Oklahoma State leaned heavily on Spencer Sanders.

Sanders was 7 for 9 on the final drive to give the Cowboys a chance.

Sanders threw for 257 yards but was picked off four times by Baylor.

Oklahoma State needed just two yards to take the lead after a pass interference call in the end zone.

But Baylor’s defense stopped Jackson on consecutive plays, Sanders’ pass to Austin Jarrard was broken up by Jalen Pitre, then McVea made his stop on the edge, knocking Jackson out just short of the pylon.

With starting quarterback Gerry Bohanon out for the second consecutive week with a hamstring injury, the Bears had to lean heavily on Shapen, a redshirt freshman, and a tenacious defense that made life difficult on the Cowboys.

Two Baylor interceptions set up early scores, helping the Bears go up 21-3 late in the second quarter. Shapen completed his first 17 passes and finished 23 of 28.

Ben Sims, Drew Estrada and Tyquan Thornton caught the Baylor scoring passes.

–Field Level Media

Nov 27, 2021; Waco, Texas, USA; Baylor Bears quarterback Blake Shapen (12) rolls out to pass against the Texas Tech Red Raiders during the first half at McLane Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

No. 5 Oklahoma State needs win over No. 9 Baylor to maintain CFP hopes

Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy admits he didn’t expect his team to be in the Big 12 championship game and on the cusp of a College Football Playoff berth after the Cowboys started the season with three consecutive one-possession wins.

“After the nonconference (schedule), I thought the chance was zero,” Gundy said. “I was just trying to get to where we can function to play the next game.”

The Cowboys steadily turned things around from there, including winning their final five games to make the Big 12 championship game. They will square off against No. 9 Baylor on Saturday in Arlington, Texas.

Oklahoma State (11-1, 8-1 Big 12) jumped up two spots to No. 5 this week, moving into position to make the program’s first CFP appearance with a win on Saturday.

To have a chance at that, they’ll have to beat the Bears again.

When the teams first met, a 24-14 Cowboys win on Oct. 2 in Stillwater, Okla., both sides were still working out their identity.

Now, those identities are solidified.

Oklahoma State’s rests with their defense, led by coordinator Jim Knowles.

When Baylor head coach Dave Aranda was LSU’s defensive coordinator from 2016-19, he’d often call Knowles to talk defense.

“He just wants to talk ball and get into it and go through all this stuff,” Aranda said. “Those times were fun.”

Oklahoma State’s defense is the best in the Football Bowl Subdivision in sacks per game (4.08) and third-down defense (.247), is tied for first with 8.2 tackles per loss per game, tied for fifth in scoring defense (16.42 points per game) and ranks sixth in rushing yards allowed per game (93.6).

“You can see, when you watch their film, there is an intelligence about them, there is an edge about them,” Aranda said. “They play with a confidence and they play with a respect-all, fear-none (mentality), and it screams off the tape.”

The Cowboys are coming off a 37-33 win over Oklahoma, when they overcame a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit.

“They burned a lot of energy, they burned a lot of emotion last Saturday night,” Gundy said of his players. “So if our guys don’t reprogram themselves this week, then they don’t give themselves a chance to play at the highest level Saturday morning. You just can’t.

“We don’t get any guarantees in winning the game, but we can control the guarantee that we can play at the highest level we can based on our commitment this week.”

While Knowles is a finalist for the Broyles Award, which honors the top assistant coach in college football, so is Baylor offensive coordinator Jeff Grimes.

The Bears (10-2, 7-2) are averaging 446.4 yards per game, although the Cowboys held them to a season-low 280 yards, including just 107 rushing yards.

A big piece of the Bears’ offensive success has been quarterback Gerry Bohanon, who has thrown for 2,160 yards and 17 touchdowns with six interceptions. He also has nine touchdowns on the ground.

Baylor secured its title-game berth — its second in school history after also appearing in the 2019 contest — by earning a 27-24 win over Texas Tech last week without Bohanon.

Bohanon sustained a right hamstring injury in the Bears’ Nov. 20 win over Kansas State. His replacement, Blake Shapen, finished off the win over the Wildcats and then went 20 of 34 for 254 yards and two touchdowns last week.

Bohanon was expected to return to practice in some capacity this week, but his status for the Saturday game was up in the air.

“I know he’s awfully eager,” Aranda said.

–Field Level Media

Nov 6, 2021; Morgantown, West Virginia, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Spencer Sanders (3) runs out of the pocket during the second quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Mountaineer Field at Milan Puskar Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports

Eight sacks, defense power No. 11 Oklahoma State past West Virginia

Spencer Sanders passed for 182 yards and two touchdowns and the defense did the rest as No. 11 Oklahoma State stayed in the thick of the Big 12 race with a 24-3 victory over West Virginia Saturday in Morgantown, W.Va.

Sanders completed 21 of 31 passes and had touchdown tosses of 6 and 12 yards to Tay Martin as the Cowboys (8-1, 5-1 Big 12) shut out the Mountaineers (4-5, 2-4) 14-0 in the second half. Jaylen Warren scored on a 13-yard burst up the middle early in the fourth quarter to put the game away.

Oklahoma State’s defense posted a season-high eight sacks with linebacker Devin Harper and defensive end Brock Martin combining for half of them with two sacks each.

The Mountaineers managed only 133 yards in total offense with a net 17 rushing and failed to score a touchdown for the first time since a 42-6 loss at Iowa State in their 2020 regular-season finale. Oklahoma State finished with 285 yards.

Jarret Doege was 15 of 22 passing with an interception but for a season-low 109 yards and Leddie Brown, who had topped the 100-yard mark rushing in West Virginia’s wins over TCU and Iowa State his last two outings, managed only 24 yards on 10 carries.

Both defenses dominated early. The Mountaineers scored on Casey Legg’s 30-yard field goal on their first possession but had three-and-outs on three of their next four drives. They let time run out in the first half after running three plays on their final possession and finished with 61 yards in total offense, — minus-2 in rushing in the first two quarters.

The Cowboys weren’t much more productive with just 173 yards in the first half, 116 coming on Sanders’ passing. They punted twice and gave up the ball on an interception in the first quarter before scoring on Sanders’ first touchdown toss to Martin and Tanner Brown’s 34-yard field goal in the second to go up 10-3 at the break.

–Field Level Media

Oct 30, 2021; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA;  Oklahoma State Cowboys running back Jaylen Warren (7) runs the ball as Kansas Jayhawks safety Kenny Logan Jr. (1) closes in during the first quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports

No. 15 Oklahoma State pounds Kansas in Big 12 mismatch

Spencer Sanders passed for 157 yards and two touchdowns, while adding 53 rushing yards and a score Saturday as No. 15 Oklahoma State blistered Kansas 55-3 at Stillwater, Okla.

The Cowboys (7-1, 4-1 Big 12) rebounded from their first loss of the season a week earlier at Iowa State by holding the Jayhawks (1-7, 0-5) without a first down in the first half while rolling to a 38-0 margin.

Dominic Richardson paced the Oklahoma State rushers with 79 yards on 11 carries and one touchdown. Tay Martin snagged five receptions for 84 yards and a score.

Sanders did not even finish the first half, going 12 of 19 before yielding to backup Shane Illingworth on the Cowboys’ last possession before halftime.

Illingworth also fired two touchdowns as Oklahoma State substituted liberally in the second half. The Cowboys remain tied for second in the Big 12 behind undefeated Oklahoma.

At halftime, Kansas had just 49 total yards on eight empty possessions and turned it over twice on interceptions picked by the Cowboys’ Jason Taylor and Kolby Harvell-Peel. The Jayhawks eventually managed seven first downs on the night.

Big 12 tackling leader Malcolm Rodriguez finished with five stops and 1.5 tackles for loss as Oklahoma State allowed just 143 yards, while gaining 535.

The victory extended the Cowboys’ win streak in the series to 12 games, their longest ever against one opponent. Meanwhile, the Jayhawks’ Big 12 road losing streak climbed to 56, a skid that dates to 2008.

Jason Bean managed a passer rating of minus-1.6 before being replaced by backup Miles Kendrick in the third quarter. Kendrick passed for 34 yards and led Kansas rushers with 32 yards.

When the Jayhawks finally recorded their initial first down on a Kendrick keeper with 9:16 left in the third quarter, the Cowboys had already generated 26 first downs and 400-plus yards.

A week earlier, Kansas carried a lead into the fourth quarter against Oklahoma before fading. The loss Saturday marked the six-month anniversary for Lance Leipold as the Jayhawks first-year coach. He arrived April 30 following the ouster of Les Miles.

–Field Level Media