STILLWATER, Okla. >> Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy made a questionable coaching decision in the final seconds of the first half.
Iowa State athletic director Jamie Pollard believes the officials made an incorrect call that let him off the hook for it.
Desmond Roland’s touchdown run on the final play of the half played a pivotal role in No. 21 Oklahoma State’s 37-20 win Saturday.
Oklahoma State tied the game at 6 on a field goal in the final minute of the second quarter and recovered a fumble on the kickoff. On the final play of the first half, officials ruled that Roland was stopped just short of the goal line as time expired. The play was reviewed, and it was determined Roland scored to put the Cowboys up 13-6 at halftime.
Pollard disagreed with the reversal and said it was the latest in a string of bad calls against the Cyclones in recent years.
“I recognize that the Big 12 does not allow comments to be made on officiating, and I recognize there’s penalties for that, but folks, our institution has been penalized already,” he said. “I can think of three situations where the fine has been pretty great, because we lost games as the result of calls that either we were apologized (to) for, or the media certainly felt we should have been apologized to. We can’t get that back. That ends careers for football coaches, ADs and presidents, so something’s got to be done. I don’t know what it is, but there needs to be more accountability on what happens in certain situations.”
Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads said the reversal was unfair.
“We gave them a short field and gave the ball back to them, and then stood up as a defense and did execute, and had a chance to go to the locker room 6-6, with momentum on our side after a bad play,” he said. “That did not happen today. Apologies are no good. Apologies don’t bring back the outcome of what just took place.”
Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy knew he was taking a risk by having his team run the ball in the closing seconds with no timeouts and said the Cowboys probably should have kicked a field goal, but he was so frustrated with quarterback Daxx Garman’s inaccuracy on the previous play that he didn’t care.
“We thought he got in, but honestly at that point, I was so frustrated that I would have been OK if he hadn’t gotten in,” Gundy said. “But I was glad he got in.”
It got worse quickly after the break for Iowa State. Oklahoma State’s Tyreek Hill returned the second-half kickoff 97 yards for a touchdown, and suddenly, the Cowboys were up 20-6 just 11 seconds into the third quarter.
Roland ran for 95 yards and two touchdowns, Brandon Sheperd caught a career-high eight passes for 91 yards and Jhajuan Seales added four catches for 75 yards and a score for the Cowboys (4-1, 2-0 Big 12). Hill had 148 yards in kickoff returns and 46 yards in punt returns. Garman passed for 271 yards and a touchdown and Ben Grogan made three field goals for the Cowboys.
Sam B. Richardson passed for 200 yards and threw two touchdown passes to E.J. Bibbs. The Cyclones (1-4, 0-3) were held to 322 total yards.
It was Iowa State’s second straight blowout loss — the Cyclones lost 49-28 at home against Baylor the previous week.
Iowa State opened the scoring early in the second quarter with a 34-yard field goal by Cole Netten. After Garman threw his second interception, Netten made another 34-yarder to put the Cyclones up 6-0.
Oklahoma State finally scored on Grogan’s 34-yard field goal. His 30-yarder with 43 seconds left in the first half made it 6-6.
Iowa State failed to cover the kickoff, and Oklahoma State recovered at the Iowa State 11. After Roland scored to end the half, Iowa State had to kick off to start the third quarter. Hill took off and was running so fast by the time he reached the goal line that he stumbled while trying to slow down. The Cowboys scored 17 points in 54 seconds of game time.
Even after Hill’s touchdown, Iowa State answered. Bibbs caught a 17-yard touchdown pass from Richardson to make it to 20-13.
Oklahoma State responded with a touchdown drive. Garman found Seales down the middle for a 40-yard pass to put the Cowboys up 27-13. Roland’s second touchdown run, a 6-yarder at the beginning of the fourth quarter, bumped Oklahoma State’s lead to 37-13.
“We’ve got to get a lot better,” Gundy said. “There’s not any reason to cancel practice. I was happy the team rallied there at the end, played hard, made some plays and found a way to win the football game. We certainly got a long way to go and a lot of work ahead of us.”