Gordon rushes for 164 yards and 3 TDs, leads No. 24 OSU past Houston 43-30
The Associated Press - November 19, 2023 8:21 am
HOUSTON (AP) — Alan Bowman threw for 348 yards and two touchdowns, Ollie Gordon II rushed for 164 yards and three second-half touchdowns, and No. 24 Oklahoma State kept its hopes of reaching the Big 12 Championship game alive with a 43-30 win over Houston on Saturday.
Oklahoma State fell behind 23-9 in the second quarter before rallying.
“This was a really good culture win for us,” Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said. “Things didn’t go well for us in the first quarter and a half. When playing on the road, when you have that many things go south, if you don’t have a strong culture, strong chemistry, a lot of times, teams can’t fight back and recover from that. In all three phases, they did.”
Brennan Presley caught a career-high 15 passes for 189 yards. His reception total was the second most in a game for an Oklahoma State player — Alex Lloyd caught 16 back in 1949.
“The game was really close, so when you hear it after the game you’re like ‘Oh I wish I had another catch,’ but that’s all for the stats,” Presley said. “I’m just happy we came out here, we were resilient, we got the win.”
Gordon, who wore a boot on his right foot following the game, limped to the sidelines during the fourth quarter and entered the injury tent, but he returned for his third touchdown run.
“I’m feeling good,” Gordon said when asked how his body was feeling. “If we had a game tomorrow, I’d be ready to go.”
Oklahoma State (8-3, 6-2 Big 12, No. 23 CFP) entered the day in a four-way tie for second place in the conference, one game behind Texas.
“Our goal when we start the season has always been to find a way to win a conference championship,” Gundy said. “I just told the team ‘My math is not really good. I don’t understand all that.’ I know if we keep winning, it gives us the best chance in the end.”
The Cowboys recovered from a stunning loss to UCF the previous week by outgaining the Cougars 501 yards to 393.
“I felt good for us to bounce back and just get to playing like us, how we know we can play,” Gordon said. “It was a great feeling to be back with the guys and just balling with them.”
Donovan Smith was 17 of 29 for 235 yards and accounted for three touchdowns. He threw a 60-yard touchdown pass to Jonah Wilson, caught a 28-yard touchdown pass from Joseph Manjack IV and rushed for a 31-yard touchdown for the Cougars (4-7, 2-6). He also threw two interceptions, contributing to Houston’s fourth loss in its last five games.
“At the end of the day, my goal is to play competitive football,” Houston coach Dana Holgorsen said. “For the most part, we have played competitive football. Today was a competitive football game.”
Houston led by 14 following a safety with four minutes remaining in the second quarter before the Cowboys scored 27 unanswered points, highlighted by two 6-yard touchdown runs by Gordon and capped by an Alex Hale 44-yard field goal with 9:45 left in the fourth quarter.
Oklahoma State: The Cowboys started slow but took advantage of Houston’s mistakes, including an interception and an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that continued an Oklahoma State drive. The mistakes resulted in 13 points for the Cowboys.
On the drive following the safety, Smith threw a pass directly to Trey Rucker, who returned the interception 29 yards to the Houston 22. Oklahoma State scored the final 10 points of the first half to cut Houston’s lead to 23-19, and the first 17 points of the second half to take control.
Oklahoma State could rise a few spots following the win.
REMEMBERING 3 FORMER COUGARS
Houston wore a helmet decal with the initials of former Cougars D.J. Hayden, Zachary McMillian, and Ralph Oragwu, who were killed in a car accident early on the morning of November 11th. A red ribbon was painted at midfield underneath the UH logo with the initials DH, ZM and RO also painted in it.
Oklahoma State: Hosts BYU on Saturday in the regular season finale.