Owens, Presley help No. 22 OSU beat Texas A&M 31-23 in Texas Bowl
The Associated Press - December 30, 2023 7:51 am
By KRISTIE RIEKEN AP Sports Writer
HOUSTON (AP) — After a tough loss to third-ranked Texas in the Big 12 championship game, No. 22 Oklahoma State was determined to finish on a high note in the Texas Bowl.
Huge games by receivers Rashod Owens and Brennan Presley helped the Cowboys do just that on Wednesday night.
Owens had a career-high 164 yards receiving with two touchdowns and Presley tied a school record with 16 receptions and had 152 yards receiving in a 31-23 victory over Texas A&M.
“It kind of stung us a little bit, and we took that game out on this field today,” Owens said about the 49-21 loss to the Longhorns. “It’s just a real good thing that a lot of guys have that same mindset that they want to finish strong. They want to finish that, get to that College Football Playoff experience and hopefully, next year is that year.”
Ollie Gordon II, the Doak Walker Award winner, added 118 yards rushing to finish with 2,062 yards of offense and help Oklahoma State (10-4) reach double-digit wins for the second time in three seasons after finishing 12-2 in 2021. Alan Bowman had 402 yards passing with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
Coach Mike Gundy said getting to 10 wins was important.
“That’s a big mark,” he said. “It’s not easy to win double digit games at any level, in particular with college football, and these guys have stayed the course from day one, and they’re unselfish. They practice hard, and it’s fun to coach them.”
Oklahoma State led by 18 at halftime but a 51-yard field goal by Randy Bond got the Aggies to 31-23 with about five minutes to go. The Cowboys missed a 47-yard field goal with 17 seconds to go and the Aggies (7-6) had another chance to score. However, Marcel Reed’s pass was intercepted near the end zone by Kendal Daniels on the last play of the game.
Jaylen Henderson started at quarterback for the Aggies but left after being injured on the first play. His legs were taken out from under him when he was tackled after throwing a short pass.
Reed, a freshman who had thrown just three passes all season, took over and threw for 361 yards with an interception.
Interim coach Elijah Robinson said it was tough for the Aggies to lose their starting quarterback so early, but he liked the way they regrouped.
The Aggies were playing short-handed after more than a dozen players entered the transfer portal and several more, including star receiver Ainias Smith, were out with injuries.
Bowman’s pass was intercepted by Dalton Brooks on the first drive of the second half. The Aggies cashed in on the error when Daniels scored on a 2-yard run tot cut it to 24-13.
The second touchdown catch by Owens came on an 18-yard grab later in the third quarter that made it 31-13.
Reed dashed 20 yards for a touchdown on A&M’s next drive to get the Aggies within 31-20.
A&M was driving early in the fourth quarter when Amari Daniels lost a fumble on the 1-yard line after a 34-yard reception early in the fourth quarter.
Yet the Cowboys gave it back a few plays later when Bowman’s pass was intercepted by Sam Mathews.
It was tied after early field goals when Owens grabbed a 13-yard touchdown reception late in the first to put Oklahoma State up 10-3.
The Aggies made another field goal before Gunnar Gundy scrambled 10 yards for a touchdown that pushed the lead to 17-6 with about 9 1/2 minutes left in the second. That score was set up when receiver Presley threw a 34-yard pass to Owens.
Oklahoma State made it 24-6 when Gordon scored on a 1-yard run just before halftime.
Oklahoma State: The offense should be in good shape in 2024 with Gordon saying recently that he’d return next season after he had considered exploring transfer options.
“I was really never going anywhere,” Gordon said. “The whole time we were doing it for recruiting. I was coming back the whole time. … I wouldn’t want to play anywhere else where I don’t feel comfortable. I feel comfortable here. Why would I want to leave?”