BYU watched its hopes fade in a 40-34 overtime loss to No. 20 Oklahoma State on Saturday.
The Cougars led 24-6 at halftime but were stagnant in the second half and beat the Cowboys in a loss for the final time this season.
Here are three takeaways from BYU’s fifth straight loss, which dropped the Cougars to 5-7 on the season:
The Cowboys and Ollie Gordon took over
After Oklahoma State went the first half without finding the end zone, the Cowboys scored five touchdowns — all thanks to star running back Ollie Gordon II — in the second half and overtime.
Gordon’s third score – a 15-yarder – put the Cowboys ahead in the final minute of the fourth quarter.
Once the game reached overtime, Gordon added two more scores, including the game-winning 2-yarder in the second overtime.
Gordon, who entered the contest leading the nation in rushing yards per game, wound up running for 166 yards on 34 carries.
He ran for 77 yards in the first half and had 89 yards during the final two quarters and overtime, as BYU’s defense collapsed after a strong first half.
BYU’s offensive woes in the second half wiped out a strong second quarter
BYU led by three scores at halftime after outscoring Oklahoma State 17-0 in the second quarter. The Cougars’ offense accounted for 10 of those points, while the defense scored as well (more on that in a minute).
BYU marched 89 yards in six plays on a late second-half touchdown drive to take a 21-6 lead in the most impressive moment on offense of the night — Jake Retzlaff completed 25- and 50-yard passes on a possession, which ended with an 11-yard Kellan Marion touchdown run It operates on a jet sweep process.
The Cougars later scored a field goal after a successful fake punt — a 36-yard pass to Tyler Batty — that put BYU in prime position to add to its lead with a 42-yard field goal from Will Ferrin.
Despite all the positive momentum BYU built in the first half offensively — BYU had 202 yards of total offense to OSU’s 169 in the first two quarters — the Cougars fell behind in the second half.
BYU picked up just two first downs in the second half and totaled 56 yards on offense on six straight punts — all punts — before the drive in the final minute of regulation ended with a 48-yard Vereen field goal that forced overtime.
By the time BYU was able to score on Retzlaff’s 6-yard run in the first overtime, though, the Cougars were already pulling back with OSU taking the momentum squarely on their side.
The game ended with BYU’s second turnover of the night – an Isaac Rex fumble on the final play of the game. Trey Rucker stripped the ball away as Rex was fighting for a first down.
In his fourth straight start, Retzlaff completed just 14 of 30 passes for 161 yards and lost a fumble on BYU’s second offensive play, as the Cougars went three-and-out on six of their 14 possessions.
BYU’s defense simply collapsed
Give credit to Oklahoma State quarterback Alan Bowman — he overcame a rough first half to complete 31 of 47 passes for 321 yards.
Eddie Heckard intercepted Bowman twice, the first being a 13-yard run from six in the second quarter that gave BYU a 14-6 lead.
Heckard’s second interception ended a promising drive into BYU territory in the third quarter.
There were other positive moments for the Cougar defense, such as holding Oklahoma State to two field goals in the first half and a Pattee sack in the third quarter that led to a punt after the Cowboys got to the BYU 30-yard line.
More often than not, though, the Cougars couldn’t make plays in critical moments in the second half, such as Oklahoma State’s fourth-and-2 conversion near midfield that led to a Gordon touchdown in the final minute.
The Cowboys ran 88 plays to BYU’s 69, and in the end, Oklahoma State took control.
The Cougars were also called for pass interference three times in the end zone, each time resulting in a short touchdown to Gordon.
By the end of the game, the Cowboys had put up 509 yards of total offense and cruised their way to the Big 12 Championship with the win.
The season is over.
BYU once stood at 5-2 heading into the most difficult part of their schedule. After a bye in early October, the Cougars never won again, losing five in a row to end the season.
For only the second time in 19 years, BYU will not play in a bowl.
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