Iowa State Cyclones' quarterback Rocco Becht (3) passes the ball around Oklahoma State Cowboys' safety Trey Rucker (9)during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game at Jack Trice Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023, in Ames, Iowa.

QB Rocco Becht helps Iowa State stave off Oklahoma State

Rocco Becht passed for 348 yards and three touchdowns to lead Iowa State to a 34-27 victory Saturday over Oklahoma State at Ames, Iowa, in the Big 12 opener for both teams.

Becht completed 27 of 38 pass attempts with 14 of the passes caught by Jaylin Noel and Daniel Jackson.

Noel had eight receptions for 146 yards a touchdown and Jackson six catches for 90 yards and two touchdowns.

Alan Bowman played the entire game at quarterback for Oklahoma State (2-2) after coach Mike Gundy used Bowman, his son Gunnar Gundy and Garret Rangel at that position in the first three nonconference games.

Mike Gundy made the change after Bowman, Gunnar Gundy and Rangel passed for 114 yards while completing 16 of 35 attempts last week in a 33-7 loss at home against South Alabama.

Bowman completed 23 of 48 passes for 278 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions against Iowa State (2-2).

Bowman’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Rashod Owens with 2:46 remaining cut the lead to 34-27.

After Iowa State was forced to punt, Oklahoma State got to the Cyclone 49 before Bowman threw an interception on a fourth-and-10 play with 1:26 left.

Bowman scored the first touchdown of the game, a 12-yard run with 5:40 left in the first quarter.

Iowa State answered with touchdowns on two of its next three possessions, both of them passes thrown by Becht, a redshirt sophomore making his fourth career start.

Becht connected with Noel (38 yards) and Jackson (29), putting the Cyclones ahead 14-7 with 12:55 left in the second quarter.

Bowman’s 60-yard touchdown pass to Jaden Nixon with 11:01 remaining before halftime tied the game.

Iowa State closed the scoring in the half with field goals by Chase Contreraz of 51 and 46 yards.

Oklahoma State’s first scores in the second half were field goals by Alex Hale (38 and 53 yards) in the third quarter.

The Cowboys mustered 84 total yards with 20 on the ground in the third quarter.

Becht’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Jackson with 5:30 left in the third quarter gave Iowa State a 27-17 lead.

The margin became 34-20 on Eli Sanders’ 7-yard run with 14:54 remaining in the game.

–Field Level Media

Sep 16, 2023; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; South Alabama Jaguars running back La'Damian Webb (3) runs past Oklahoma State Cowboys safety Trey Rucker (9) to score a touchdown at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bryan Terry-USA TODAY Sports

La’Damian Webb, South Alabama shock Oklahoma St.

La’Damian Webb rushed for 151 yards and a pair of touchdowns as South Alabama stunned Oklahoma State 33-7 on Saturday night in Stillwater, Okla.

Carter Bradley threw two touchdown passes to Caullin Lacy as the Jaguars (2-1) won for just the second time in 16 meetings against Power Five opponents. Bradley completed 10 of 16 passes for 152 yards without an interception.

Lacy finished the night with five receptions for a game-high 104 yards, his second 100-yard receiving game of the season. He racked up 139 against Southeastern Louisiana last Saturday.

The Big 12’s Cowboys (2-1) had won seven straight games against Sun Belt Conference opponents. Oklahoma State entered Saturday with an 18-3 record against teams in the conference.

But South Alabama came up with two turnovers, including an interception by Marquise Robinson that set up Webb’s 17-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, and stifled the Cowboys’ offense throughout the entire game.

The hosts managed only 208 yards of total offense with Gunnar Gundy, the son of coach Mike Gundy, throwing for 64 yards on 9-of-18 passing. Starter Alan Bowman was 6-of-12 passing for 42 yards, while Elijah Collins led Oklahoma State in rushing with just 31 yards on nine carries.

It looked like Oklahoma State would go into the break trailing by 16, but the defense cracked right before halftime, allowing Bradley to throw a 57-yard scoring strike to Lacy.

The Jaguars held that 23-0 lead through three quarters before Jaden Nixon scored on a 2-yard run with 12:14 left in the fourth for the Cowboys’ only points. Nixon finished the night with 23 yards on five rushes.

South Alabama finished with 395 yards of total offense, including 243 on the ground. In addition to Webb’s output, Kentrel Bullock finished with 71 yards on 18 carries.

Saturday marked Oklahoma State’s first nonconference loss since 2016.

–Field Level Media

Sep 9, 2023; Tempe, Arizona, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys quarterback Alan Bowman (7) throws a to wide receiver Brennan Presley (80) against the Arizona State Sun Devils in the first half at Mountain America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic

Oklahoma State’s multiple QBs lead win over Arizona State

Oklahoma State’s three-quarterback system combined to produce 191 yards passing, and the Cowboys’ defense repeatedly stopped Arizona State on downs in winning 27-15 on Saturday in Tempe, Ariz.

Alan Bowman completed 11 of 16 pass attempts for 113 yards, Gunnar Gundy finished 5 of 7 for 32 yards and a touchdown, and Garret Rangel was 6 of 9 for 46 yards and a touchdown. None of them threw an interception.

Oklahoma State (2-0) has used the three quarterbacks extensively in its first two games this season.

Arizona State freshman Jaden Rashada completed 16 of 29 passes for 167 yards with a touchdown and an interception. The Sun Devils (1-1) were limited to 105 yards of total offense in the second half.

Arizona State’s six possessions in the second half ended with a turnover on downs, an interception, two punts and two more turnovers on downs.

Its second-to-last possession in the first half also ended with a turnover on downs.

The Sun Devils opened the scoring when Cam Skattebo capped an 11-play, 77-yard drive with a 13-yard touchdown run with 4:28 left in the first quarter.

The Cowboys’ first three possessions ended in punts before they scored on Ollie Gordon’s 2-yard run with 11:58 left in the second quarter to tie the game at 7-7. The drive was set up by a 30-yard punt by Arizona State’s Josh Carlson that gave Oklahoma State the ball at the Sun Devils 43-yard line. Bowman completed his first four passes for 45 yards in the drive.

Rashada connected with Elijhah Badger with a 65-yard touchdown pass and Skattebo scored on a 2-point conversion run to put Arizona State ahead 15-7 with 10:07 left in the second quarter.

A career-best 52-yard field goal by Oklahoma State’s Alex Hale cut the lead to 15-10 with 7:41 left until halftime.

The Cowboys scored on their first possession of the second half, going 60 yards in just five plays, capped by Gundy’s 3-yard touchdown pass to De’Zhaun Stribling with 9:09 remaining in the third quarter.

Hale increased the lead to 20-15 with a 22-yard field goal with 7:11 remaining.

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2023; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State's Gunnar Gundy (12) warms up before an NCAA football game between Oklahoma State and Central Arkansas at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan J. Fish-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State, Arizona State coaches want better play despite opening wins

Oklahoma State and Arizona State will meet Saturday in Tempe, Ariz., and both coaches want to see marked improvements after struggles in their season openers at home last week.

Arizona State defeated Southern Utah 24-21 in a game that ended at 1:01 a.m. local time after it was delayed nearly three hours because of lightning.

Oklahoma State led Central Arkansas 13-7 entering the fourth quarter before pulling away to a 27-13 victory.

“Defensively, there are things that we felt could happen in this game and they didn’t,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “I told you that I was worried about tackling. So, we have to really work hard this week on ways to improve tackling. It’s not going to fix itself in one week.”

Central Arkansas finished with 391 yards in total offense compared to 453 for Oklahoma State.

Gundy used the non-conference opener to play three quarterbacks extensively against Central Arkansas — Garret Rangel, Gunnar Gundy and Alan Bowman — to help determine his best option.

They combined to complete 30 of 48 passes for 304 yards

Gunnar Gundy, the coach’s son, played the final three drives of the game.

After a three-and-out, he engineered consecutive touchdown drives. He completed 7 of 9 pass attempts for 106 yards. He also ran twice for 20 yards.

“It just looks a little odd being three people, but they all three played pretty well,” Mike Gundy said. “We’re going to practice all three of them. Distribute reps based on what we think it should be, the way they played.”

Arizona State freshman quarterback Jaden Rashada completed 18 of 31 pass attempts for 236 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions against Southern Utah.

The offense struggled in the second half, however. The Sun Devils were limited to a 38-yard field goal by Dario Longhetto in the fourth quarter.

“In the second half, (Rashada) just couldn’t get in a rhythm,” Arizona State coach Kenny Dillingham said. “His eyes were right and he was throwing the ball where it was supposed to be, but he couldn’t get in a rhythm.

“We have to do a better job to make sure we have plays that can get him in a better rhythm. That’s on me.”

–Field Level Media

Sep 2, 2023; Stillwater, Oklahoma, USA; Oklahoma State's Kendal Daniels (5) returns a recovered a fumble against Central Arkansas in the second quarter at Boone Pickens Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Nathan J. Fish-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma State tops Central Arkansas to extend win streak in home openers

Garret Rangel completed 10 of 15 passes for 118 yards and a score, Elijah Collins and Ollie Gordon II rushed for one touchdown apiece, and Oklahoma State pulled away for a 27-13 win over Central Arkansas on Saturday evening in Stillwater, Okla.

Brennan Presley had the lone receiving touchdown for Oklahoma State (1-0), which started the season on a positive note one year after losing five of its final six games last year. The Cowboys won their 28th consecutive home opener, adding to their school record.

Will McElvain completed 24 of 37 passes for 268 yards and two touchdowns for Central Arkansas (0-1). Kylin James and Christian Richmond had one receiving score apiece for the Bears.

Oklahoma State opened the scoring with 2:58 to play in the first quarter. Rangel turned to his left and zipped a short pass to Presley, who broke a tackle and scampered into the end zone.

The Cowboys pushed their lead to 10-0 on Alex Hale’s 36-yard field goal with 5:34 left in the second quarter.

Hale connected again, this time on a 45-yard-field goal, to make it 13-0 as time expired before halftime.

Central Arkansas trimmed the deficit to 13-7 with 4:37 remaining in the third quarter. McElvain threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to James to finish an eight-play, 95-yard drive.

The Cowboys created some breathing room early in the fourth quarter when Collins scored on a 17-run to make it 20-7 with 10:44 to go. Collins’ run capped a nine-play, 93-yard drive.

A 2-yard rushing touchdown by Gordon gave Oklahoma State a 27-7 lead with 5:54 remaining.

Central Arkansas responded with a 2-yard touchdown pass from McElvain to Richmond with 3:28 to go. The Cowboys blocked the Bears’ extra-point attempt to keep the score at 27-13.

The Cowboys used three quarterbacks in their season opener. Rangel led the team in passing yards and notched the only passing touchdown, and Alan Bowman (13 of 24, 80 yards) and Gunnar Gundy (7 of 9, 106 yards) also saw playing time.

–Field Level Media

Jul 12, 2023; Arlington, TX, USA; Oklahoma State head coach Mike Gundy is interviewed during Big 12 football media day at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Okla. State coach Mike Gundy scorches rival Oklahoma

There is finality in the 2023 college football season, an end to classic rivalries like the Bedlam matchup pitting Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.

Cowboys coach Mike Gundy isn’t taking the blame for the curtain falling on the traditional date with the Sooners, who are exiting the conference along with Texas following the 2023 season.

“I’m very traditionalist when it comes to conference rivalry games and such,” Gundy said at Big 12 media days Wednesday, noting the last OSU-OU game was this season. “The Bedlam game is over because Oklahoma chose to leave the Big 12, period. It’s got nothing to do with Oklahoma State. Do I like that? No. Do I like that conferences have broken up in the past? No, I don’t.”

Oklahoma State went 7-6 last season and 4-5 in conference play. The rival Sooners were 6-7 with a 3-6 Big 12 record.

Gundy shot down questions angled at Oklahoma State renewing the annual game with Oklahoma down the road.

“Oklahoma State is not going to change what we do because Oklahoma chose to go to the SEC. They need to change what they do because they’re the ones that made their mind up to go to the SEC,” he said. “So with all the talk from administration and people saying that Oklahoma State needs to do this and that, all Oklahoma had to do was not go to the SEC. So it is what it is. We can cut right to the chase.”

Neither Oklahoma-based program is picked to win the conference in the preseason media poll topped by Texas, a standing not necessarily endorsed by the ever-opinionated Gundy.

“It depends what we’re basing that on. Are we basing that on history? Are we basing that on the last five years? Are we basing that on the last 50 years?” Gundy asked rhetorically. “I’m not sure how anybody really comes up with who’s a favorite right now. I’m going to go back to what I said earlier. I think one of the fun things about the Big 12 is we don’t really know who’s going to win based on what’s happening in the last few years.”

–Field Level Media

Oklahoma State's Spencer Sanders (3) looks to throw a pass in the first half during the Bedlam college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the Oklahoma State University Cowboys (OSU) at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium, in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Nov., 19, 2022.

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Ole Miss adds transfer QB Spencer Sanders from Oklahoma State

Former Oklahoma State starting quarterback Spencer Sanders announced Thursday he is transferring to Ole Miss.

He’s the second quarterback to commit to Lane Kiffin’s program in as many days after the Rebels added former five-star high school recruit Walker Howard, a transfer from LSU, on Wednesday.

Ole Miss also has 2022 starting quarterback Jaxson Dart returning next season.

Sanders was a four-year starter for the Cowboys, who went 31-12 in his starts from 2019-22. He was the Big 12 Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2019 and the Fiesta Bowl Offensive MVP in 2021.

In 10 games in 2022, Sanders threw for 2,642 yards, 17 touchdowns and nine interceptions on a career-low 57.6 completion percentage. In his four seasons at Oklahoma State, he amassed 9,553 passing yards and 67 touchdowns with 40 picks.

“I fit in very well there with what they do on offense, their play-action game, the way they take deep shots down the field, Coach Kiffin’s mindset and their balance with a great running back like Quinshon Judkins,” Sanders told ESPN. “It’s just a very well-rounded scheme.”

–Field Level Media

OSU defensive coordinator Derek Mason shouts instructions to his players on March 22.

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Okla. State DC Derek Mason taking ‘sabbatical from coaching’

Oklahoma State defensive coordinator and former head coach Derek Mason is taking a “sabbatical from coaching” and won’t return to the Cowboys in 2023.

Mason, 53, made the announcement Thursday on social media.

“I look forward to spending time with my family to rest and reflect on opportunities within the game I love,” Mason posted, in part, on Twitter.

Mason just completed his first season in Stillwater, Okla. He spent 2021 as the DC for Auburn.

“Oklahoma State football and I appreciate what Derek Mason and his family have brought to our team/culture,” OSU head coach Mike Gundy said in a statement. “The positive effect he’s had on our players, staff and program has been awesome. I know it was a tough decision, but life is bigger than football. We wish him and his family nothing but the very best and they are always welcome back in Stillwater.”

Mason went 27-55 in seven seasons as the head coach of Vanderbilt from 2014-20.

–Field Level Media

Dec 27, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Wisconsin Badgers tight end Hayden Rucci (87) celebrates a touchdown with wide receiver Skyler Bell (11) against the Oklahoma State Cowboys in the first half of the 2022 Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin runs over Oklahoma State in Guaranteed Rate Bowl

Braelon Allen rushed for 116 yards and one touchdown and Luke Fickell won in his Wisconsin coaching debut as the Badgers registered a 24-17 victory over Oklahoma State on Tuesday in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Phoenix.

Chase Wolf completed 16 of 26 passes for 116 yards, one touchdown and one interception in his first career start for Wisconsin (7-6). Chez Mellusi rushed for a touchdown, Hayden Rucci added a scoring catch and Cedrick Dort Jr. and Jay Shaw recorded interceptions.

Fickell, who was hired away from Cincinnati late last month, allowed former interim coach Jim Leonhard to run the defense and offensive coordinator Bobby Engram to run the offense during the game at Chase Field, home of the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, Fickell was involved in coaching from the sideline.

Garret Rangel connected on 14 of 31 passes for 229 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions in his third career start for Oklahoma State (7-6). Stephon Johnson Jr. caught a long touchdown pass and Ollie Gordon had a short scoring grab for the Cowboys.

Both quarterbacks were starting because veteran leaders entered the transfer portal — Graham Mertz for Wisconsin and Spencer Sanders for Oklahoma State.

Wisconsin controlled the clock for 37:58 and outgained the Cowboys 374 yards to 281 to win for the eighth time in its past nine bowl games.

Allen capped a run of 21 straight Wisconsin points when he scampered 20 yards for a touchdown to give the Badgers a 24-7 lead with 6:42 left in the third quarter.

The Cowboys pulled within 24-14 early in the fourth quarter on Rangel’s 1-yard toss to Gordon on fourth-and-goal. Rangel was about to be dropped by Wisconsin’s Jordan Turner when he flipped an underhanded pass to Gordon.

Oklahoma State moved within seven on Tanner Brown’s 24-yard field goal with 5:08 remaining. The Cowboys got the ball back with 3:33 to go, but Dort picked off Rangel on the second play and Skyler Bell took a reverse 44 yards to help the Badgers run out the clock.

Wisconsin’s Nate Van Zelst kicked a 47-yard field goal with 10:19 left in the first quarter to open the scoring before Oklahoma State moved ahead four minutes later.

The Cowboys had possession on their own 16 when Rangel threw a short pass to his left that Johnson caught just behind the line of scrimmage. Johnson avoided three attempted tackles to get out of trouble and eventually finished the 84-yard touchdown on the right side.

The Badgers took a 10-7 lead when Mellusi scored from the 1 with 5:23 left in the half. Wolf tossed a 15-yard scoring pass to Rucci with 44 seconds remaining for a 17-7 halftime lead.

–Field Level Media

New Wisconsin head football coach Luke Fickell, right, joins  athletic director Chris McIntosh, left, and Chancellor Jennifer Mnookin at a welcome event Monday, November 28, 2022. at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. He was previously head coach for six seasons at Cincinnati.MARK HOFFMAN/MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

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Streaks alive, stirring change carries OK State, Wisconsin into bowl

The Guaranteed Rate Bowl offers no guarantee when it comes to the best players taking the field on Dec. 27 in Phoenix.

Wisconsin (6-6) and Oklahoma State (7-5) have been hit with heavy attrition, but they’ll continue their longstanding streak of bowl appearances when they meet two days after Christmas at the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Chase Field. The Badgers have the third-longest streak at 21 and Oklahoma State is sixth at 17 consecutive bowl showings.

Among other commonalities: Each team lost a veteran starting quarterback to the transfer portal. Garret Rangel will quarterback the Cowboys with four-year starter Spencer Sanders gone, while either senior Chase Wolf (six pass attempts this season) or freshman Myles Burkett (five) will start for the Badgers in place of three-year starter Graham Mertz.

Wisconsin has a new coach in Luke Fickell and the change may have fueled some of the opt-outs. In addition to players placing their name in the portal, six Badgers have skipped out of the game in favor of preparation for the 2023 NFL Draft, including star linebacker Nick Herbig (11 sacks) and nose tackle Keeanu Benton (10 tackles for loss).

Oklahoma State also lost leading tackler Mason Cobb — a linebacker with 96 stops — and leading rusher Dominic Richardson (543 yards) to the portal.

Cowboys coach Mike Gundy sees the game as an opportunity to notch a victory. Oklahoma State has lost five of seven games since a 5-0 start.

“Every game we play is important,” Gundy told reporters. “And I’ve always said this, we try to instill basic values and core principles in our team from Day One. It doesn’t make a difference who we are playing, where we are playing, what the records are, we’re playing in a game.

“And so we all signed up for this. We have an obligation to compete, to prepare, to play the very best we can, coach the very best we can, put the best product on the field every game.”

Meanwhile, Fickell, who was hired away from Cincinnati, is serving in a figurehead role for this game.

Fickell told reporters that former interim coach Jim Leonhard will run the defense and offensive coordinator Bobby Engram will lead the offense. Fickell has made hires to replace both men for next season.

Inside linebacker Maema Njongmeta, the team’s leading tackler with 88, said he likes Fickell’s approach for this game.

“His messaging has been really consistent,” Njongmeta said. “‘Hey, I’m here for you guys. I’m not trying to do anything to change anything. I’m learning about you. I’m not trying to control anything just yet. I understand I have to let you guys finish this season off.’”

One star playing in the game is Badgers running back Braelon Allen, who has rushed for 1,126 yards and 10 touchdowns this season.

Another is Cowboys safety Jason Taylor II, who has 87 tackles and is tied for second nationally with six interceptions.

This is the first meeting between the programs.

–Field Level Media