AUSTIN, Tex. -- It was one of the worst offensive performances of the Mike Gundy era for Oklahoma State on Saturday against the stout Texas defense. The numbers speak for themselves. The Pokes hadn't scored fewer than 20 points in a game since 2014 when they scored a meager touchdown in a loss to Texas at home. They then went 35 games in a row scoring 20 or more ... until Saturday when they pulled off a 13-10 win in overtime.
The Cowboys were limited to 10 (!) points in regulation after coming in averaging nearly 50 a game. Fortunately for them, Texas wasn't much better, and the Pokes escaped with their hides after a defensive performance Mike Gundy said was one of the best in his time in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The 13 points on offense were the fewest ever in a win in the Gundy era, which stretches all the way back to 2005.
Questionable play-calling and clock management stifled the Oklahoma State offense throughout the day. Over and again, Oklahoma State tried and failed to run the ball despite Texas often only rushing three players and playing four or five total in the box. It was astonishing to watch a high-flying offense brought to its knees by such little pressure. OSU refused to pass the ball at times despite Texas coming in near the bottom of the country nationally in defensive yards per attempt allowed.
One of the best units in the nation coming in was limited to a measly two field goals after the first quarter.
"To hold the No. 1 team in the country to 10 points in regulation is something to be very, very proud of on that side of the football," said Texas coach Tom Herman. "We gotta help them more on offense ... We've got to fix what's wrong on the offense. And we have flashes and we're definitely not consistent enough."
Gundy's squad won uncharacteristically with defense on Saturday against Sam Ehlinger and the Horns. The Cowboys' defense limited Texas to just 10 points on 15 drives and held them to 4.1 yards per play. The capper for OSU was a Ramon Richards interception in the end zone against Ehlinger to end the game and make the Pokes bowl eligible for the 11th consecutive year.
"I told the team in there it was the best defensive play that I've seen in a long time," said Gundy. "I can't remember very many years back now, but I'm going to say long as I've been a head coach, on the road, I've never seen a defense play like that, and in dealing with all the adversity.
"We just kept putting them back on the play, they made a play, put them back on the field, put them back on the field, put them back on the field, over and over and over and over, they just kept making plays. Had every reason in the world to say, 'OK, they score one more touchdown and we lose the game.'"
It was an Oklahoma State defense that came into the game giving up just 1.8 points per drive -- an impressive number for an underrated unit. On Saturday, that figure went to an incredible 0.66.
Gundy credited Oklahoma State's culture in the end. Their motto -- "no fear, no frustration, no fatigue" -- was displayed in their play. Despite being on the field for 70 long, hot plays against a Texas offense intent on bowling its way down the field, the Oklahoma State defense rose to the occasion over and again.
"We had one job to do," said defensive end Jordan Brailford, who led the Pokes with three sacks, nine tackles for loss and four pass breakups. "We were expected to do our job, and that's what we did."
It didn't go how anyone thought it would go, and the Cowboys have a lot of work to do offensively if they want to beat West Virginia and OU in the next two weeks, but conference wins on the road are conference wins on the road. It was as ugly a victory as Gundy has ever had since being hired -- sort of the opposite of his haircut right now -- but it was a win nonetheless.
"I don't want to blow it out of proportion but the reason we won this game is because of our culture, what we do and who we are," said Gundy. "Backs against the wall and 95,000 people here, how much does this place hold? It's a fish store. It's 120,000 people here! It's like Soldier Field in the 60s, playing the City Championship in high school. There are 125,000 people here, and our backs are against the wall, and Richards made a play. It's great for him."
It's great for the Pokes, too. They're 6-1 overall, 3-1 in the Big 12 and somehow (somehow!) still alive in the Big 12 championship race.