No. 15 Oklahoma St. attempts to avoid post-Bedlam letdown
League: NCAA Football
Posted on: 08 Nov, 2023 at 09:12 AM
Credit: SARAH PHIPPS/THE OKLAHOMAN / USA TODAY NETWORK
Anyone playing a drinking game in which they took a sip each time Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said "moving forward" during his Monday news conference would have been woozy within the first few minutes.
Gundy is trying to distance his team from one of the most exhilarating wins in his 19 seasons as the Cowboys coach, a 27-24 victory over then-No. 9 Oklahoma last week in the last scheduled Bedlam rivalry game between the in-state foes.
Now he wants No. 15 Oklahoma State to zero in on its Saturday game against UCF in Orlando.
Considering the wild scene after the upset of the Sooners, it may not be easy for the Cowboys (7-2, 5-1 Big 12) to shift their focus to the Knights (4-5, 1-5).
Oklahoma State's win over Oklahoma triggered a field-storming rampage as fans toppled a goal post and hauled the wreckage to an on-campus pond.
On Monday, moments after Gundy said that he told his staff, "I don't want to hear it anymore," in reference to the Oklahoma game, the next question was about the film from Saturday.
"You're not even letting me move forward," said Gundy, joking with a reporter.
Something that might help get the Cowboys focused on UCF is their new College Football Playoff ranking. They moved up seven notches in latest ratings revealed on Tuesday, the biggest jump of any team this week.
With their three remaining games all against teams that are in their first year in the Big 12, the Cowboys are in good position to gain a berth in the conference title game.
Oklahoma State has won five straight, all in the conference, with three of the victories coming over teams that are currently ranked.
Since a 2-2 start that included a horrific 33-7 loss to South Alabama, Oklahoma State has seen significant improvement on the offensive line.
Gundy said that there weren't any key changes. It was just a matter of the staff reassessing the strengths of the line, along with committing to Ollie Gordon II as the primary running back.
"I just went in and said, 'Let's talk about who we are and what's the best thing we can do,'" Gundy said.
After averaging 57.5 yards on the ground in the Cowboys' first four games, Gordon has averaged 165.7 yards during the winning streak to become the top rusher in the FBS.
He carried the ball 33 times for 137 yards and two touchdowns against Oklahoma while Cowboys quarterback Alan Bowman completed 28 of 42 passes for 334 yards without a touchdown or an interception.
UCF enters on a high, as well, after capturing its first conference win since joining the Big 12 this season.
The Knights won 28-26 at Cincinnati last week to snap a five-game losing streak, their longest skid since going 0-12 in 2015.
RJ Harvey propelled UCF with 164 yards rushing and three touchdowns, both career highs. It was Harvey's fourth straight 100-yard game as he is thriving in coach Gus Malzahn's run-heavy offense.
The Knights lead the Big 12 in rushing, averaging 227.1 yards per game (good for fourth in the country). However, they also rank last in the conference in rushing yards allowed, surrendering 211.9 per game (fourth worst in the nation), making for a tough matchup with Gordon and the Cowboys.
"Probably the hottest team in the country right now," Malzahn said of Oklahoma State. "They know who they are now. They're gonna give it to that big dude. He can run it downhill. Fourth quarter, he imposes his will on people."
--Field Level Media