A few days have passed and all OSU fans, no doubt, have spent considerable time reflecting on the inconceivable outcome of Saturday’s game at Boone Pickens Stadium between our Cowboys and Central Michigan.
It’s a game that never should have been lost. Some argue it actually wasn’t. But there it is in the loss column, nonetheless. Final score: Central Michigan 30, Oklahoma State 27.
One could say what happend in the final four seconds of the game was akin to a perfect storm — a nearly impossible combination of highly improbable events that stole what seemed like sure victory and turned it into agonizing defeat.
Three things happened that, if any one of them would have occurred by itself are so rare we wouldn’t have believed it — let alone all three in four seconds.
Combine a game-losing coaching decision, a game-extending blunder by officials and miraculous desperation play by the opposition and you have a once-in-a-lifetime ending.
To his credit, Coach Mike Gundy shouldered the blame for his decision to have QB Mason Rudolp throw the ball out of bounds with four seconds left on the clock, drawing an intentional grounding call with the Cowboys protecting a three-point lead.
Punting the ball out of bounds would have worked. So would have Rudolph running around for four seconds, or sending a receiver on the pass route. Almost anything else would have worked.
Still, even with the penalty, game over. Or at least it should have been according to the rules.
The officiating crew, like Gundy, hadn’t seen this before. They blew the call, and allowed one offensive play for Central Michigan with no time left on the clock. For that, both the game and replay officials have been suspended for future games, but what good does that do us now?
All the Cowboys had to do then was was defend a Hail Mary play, but you have to give credit to the Chippewas. That final desperation heave, leaping catch, off-balance lateral and sideways sprint to the end zone was executed perfectly. It will go down as one of the most amazing finishes in college football this year, and of all time. At least it won’t be forgotten here in Stillwater.
Still, it’s important to keep the whole thing in perspective.
It was just one game. All the Cowboys’ goals are still here for the taking. Get on a roll in Big 12 play and OSU can get right back in the conference race and climb back up the polls, though they will obviously have to play a whole lot better than they did Saturday.
It is best to just chalk up the game as a fluke and move on. We’ll never see anything like it again.