In his weekly press conference, Oklahoma State football coach Mike Gundy didn’t want to talk much about his team’s upset loss to Kansas State on Saturday.
Foregoing an opening statement, Gundy opened the floor to questions previewing the Kansas game, which takes place at 11 a.m. Saturday and is the regular season finale and senior day for many high-profile players such as Mason Rudolph and James Washington – both who were named as finalists for postseason awards Monday.
Although the Cowboys’ loss was distressing, Gundy said he was impressed that his team was able to fulfill a Thanksgiving tradition the team does every year.
“In Stillwater we have 400 homeless people and this team pitches in and feeds them every Thanksgiving,” Gundy said. “We hand out boxes of food and that takes place on Sunday, which was yesterday. I got to work early and my only goal outside of football was to make sure we went over there and handed the food out - I've done it for years. And I forgot about it and I felt terrible. I went in to my assistant, Danielle, and I asked, ‘Who was there for me?’ … Mason Rudolph. Dillon Stoner. … Mason is a guy that threw a couple of interceptions and felt like he had an overthrow late. He had a good game, but on his standards, it wasn't as good as he wanted it to be, but he showed up the next day and handed out food to people that are homeless.”
What went wrong against Kansas State?
Although Gundy wanted to look past the 45-40 loss to the Wildcats, he did comment on it because postgame Saturday he didn’t have many answers more media.
Gundy said the kickoff return from Byron Pringle for a touchdown – who also had three receiving touchdowns – was what ultimately broke the camel’s back as the Cowboys had just kicked a field goal to get within one point before the return happened.
“In the end, what it came down to was the seven points on the kickoff return,” Gundy said. “We won the penalties. Usually, against Coach Snyder, you have to defend the quarterback run, which makes you susceptible to big plays. Last year, we got gashed on the quarterback run, so big plays weren't a factor. This year, we stopped it, but we got hit on big plays. And then we won the penalty game, but we gave up seven points on the kick return and that's what it came down to."
What Rudolph and Washington mean to the team
In Gundy’s tenure as OSU’s coach, he has had multiple quarterback-receiver tandems whether it be Zac Robinson to Adarius Bowman, Robinson to Dez Bryant, Brandon Weeden to Justin Blackmon or Rudolph to Washington, he has had success in the passing game.
Monday, Rudolph was named as a finalist for the Davey O’Brien Award and Washington was named one for the Biletnikoff Award. Gundy spoke to both of the players’ characters while choosing not to talk about the antics of Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield’s.
“After he was here a year I felt like he was going to be pretty good,” Gundy said. “Did I know if he was Biletnikoff category? I don't know if you know that then. I wasn't sure about Mason because I didn't play him as a freshman. After they had been here about a year and a half and they started rolling, those two were pretty special together.
“… (Rudolph) will leave here as the most decorated player since Barry Sanders in my opinion.”