Everyone is focusing on the heart and fortitude of our team, and deservedly so. THEY! ARE! SPARTANS! However, if Mike Gundy had been switched out with a better and less bronze coach between the 3rd and 4th quarters, we would have lost. Man it feels good to finally outcoach someone. Chuck Long finally has someone to talk to at the club meetings. How did OSU screw the pooch? Let me count the ways.
4th quarter, up 35-14, with the ball. They need to either score, or run out the clock, and manage to do neither. But in not doing so, they also remained too aggressive, the rare double fuck up. For example, right off the bat in the 4th quarter they fail a 3rd down conversion, which is a minor miracle in itself. Muckelroy is in the game, luckily, and makes the stop. Then Gundy makes an amazing decision to go for it on 4th and 3. Now, I respect Gundy for staying aggressive and not going into a shell, and I recognize they were in that gray zone between FG range and pooch punting. But, had they punted and pinned us deep, that tacks on at least an extra minute or two to our next drive, and given OSU a few more chances to stop us. Instead of getting the ball inside or near the ten, we get it at the 45. Oh, but there is so much more. What follows is a blow by boring blow account of how Mike "Ted" Gundy serial killed his teams chances, and had sex with it's dead body . . . . . OK that didn't work. Let's move on.
- On the 4th and 3 conversion, instead of running a stupid reverse, why not go to one of the myriad plays that are practically guaranteed against our defense? The TE throwback, a short pass to Savage where he can match up against Killebrew in the open field, etc. Not only did they completely eschew their successful gameplan, but they chose a play that if it failed was going to lose a lot of yardage. Game MVP Beasley makes a huge stop and gets us great field position.
- On OSU's drive after we score to make it 35-21, OSU runs 3 times and passes 3 times. They are not interested in burning clock.
- 35-28 now. OSU runs twice for a first down, but the first run went out of bounds, stupidly. They run again on first down for no gain, then make a pretty questionable call, imo. I can sort of understand passing here, since running out 6 minutes by grinding the ball isn't really realistic. But passing 20 yards downfield in the vicinity of our one good cover guy? I don't know about that. Playaction boot, TE throwback, something that is safe and a better matchup for them, like Killebrew on that monster tight end of theirs. The low percentage pass is broken up, clock stops.
- 35-35, OSU ball on the 15, clock running. Recall, if you will, the 2005 Rose Bowl, where on first down, late in the 4th, Matt Leinart faked a run, got pressure, and threw a pass to his fullback's feet. They had done this twice before in running situations for big gains, but no matter how safe the pass, any one thing can go wrong (bad throw, dropped ball, pressure, etc.) and spoil the play. Clock stopped, and two runs later, we're champs. Well, same thing happened here. A perfectly safe pass call that got instant pressure from Houston (great read by him) and Robinson overthrows Savage. A completion likely wins the game, but a run here, followed by a FG and a kickoff leaves us with ~45 seconds to drive the field, instead of the 1:15 we got. This is why, no matter how sure you are of a pass playcall, it's always a risk. In this case, already with a chip shot FG, you MUST run the ball here.
Poor Clock Management:
- Here is OSU's drive after Jamaal's TD to make it 35-21. After a first down run, OSU runs again, with 4 seconds left on the play clock. On the next 3rd down, they snap it with 7 on the clock, and pass. Luckily for them it works out and is a huge gain to Bryant, who goes Earl Campell on us and drags 7 guys for another 10 yards. They follow that up with a first down pass, which is thrown away. Then an option play, which keeps the clock rolling, but they snap the ball with 14! seconds left on the clock. The pass is incomplete to boot. So had nothing changed aside from waiting to snap the ball, the would've killed 25 seconds. Had they run the ball after Dez's completion, they would've killed at least 1:30 more. 2 minutes for us to stay in the game. To paraphrase Tuesday Morning QB, had they simply snapped the ball and run for no gain 3 straight times, they would've won.
- 35-28, OSU runs, but goes out of bounds, stupidly, saving us at least 30 seconds. After two more runs (the first being snapped with 13 seconds on the clock), facing a 2nd and 10, they pass, incomplete, clock stops. After a time out, they make a good decision to run and punt, but the out of bounds, the quick snap, and the incompletion cost them another 1:15. Now, between the reverse, and both drives, they've gifted us somewhere between 5-6 minutes. Remember, we took over down 35-28 with 5:33 on the clock.
- Combined with what I said above about OSU's crucial incompletion with the game tied, OSU also left 21 seconds on the play clock. Had they run down to 1 or 2 seconds, and had they run on 3rd and 5, we're looking at 20 seconds to go 80 yards. Even Vince would say "F this, let's play for OT." He probably would've used the word gangsta or crunk as well.
Poor Tanning Habits:
- I mean, have you seen the guy? He looks like one of those douchebag Richard Grieco wannabes. At least his skin will match the medal they'll get for their South division finish.
- This has nothing to do with OSU, unless you want to count them continuing to run and pass at our best secondary player as bad playcalling. It might, but I want to single Beasley out for basically single handedly holding our defense together. First example in the 4th was his huge stop on the reverse to give us awesome field position.
- 9:50 in the 4th quarter, OSU runs the option from the 38 on 2nd and 10. Beasley swoops in and makes a huge ankle tackle that probably saved a 20 yard gain and a sure FG, at least, not to mention bringing up a 3rd and 8. Huge, difficult play.
- Very next play, blankets Dez Bryant to force an incompletion and a 4th down out of FG range.
- 35-28, 2nd and 10, 6:20 left, Beasley leaves his man to come break up a long seam route to Bowman. Huge play, stopped the clock, and left OSU in a third and long.
- This deserves it's own bullet point. Deon Beasley is P-I-M-P. If Chykie or Curtis Brown are any good, we are set for the future. We're going to lockdown the corners like Marlo Stanfield.
And that's that. Mike Gundy did as poor a job as you can do in the final 15 minutes, which is curious because he learned from one of the best endgame coaches in the world, Les Miles. Oh, wait.