The Oklahoma State Cowboys are one of the youngest and most inexperienced teams in college football for 2014. That made them heavy underdogs against the defending national champion Florida State Seminoles in their season opener on Saturday. But despite their youth, Oklahoma State went toe-to-toe with the Noles, losing a closely contested 37-31 contest. Even though they ended up losing, their performance should put them on everyone’s radar as a legitimate contender in the Big 12 this season.
Last season, FSU rolled over everyone en route to the BCS National Championship game where they rallied late to beat the Auburn Tigers. Nobody could hang with the Seminoles as they set offensive records left and right. While there were a number of losses off that championship team, particularly on defense, Florida State is still stacked with talent behind Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston at quarterback and a favorite to land in the inaugural College Football Playoff this postseason.
That didn’t stop to Pokes, however, from trading blows with them in Dallas. J.W. Walsh looked as dynamic as ever accounting for 254 yards of total offense and three total touchdowns as he led the OSU offense up and down the field. Speedster Tyreek Hill made his presence felt in his first game with the team, accumulating 106 yards of total offense and drew the attention of the FSU defense to get David Glidden wide open on a 55-yard scoring strike in the third quarter to pull the Cowboys to within a field goal of FSU. Even the defense stepped up, helping to corral the Florida State running game for the most part, including starting running back Karlos Williams who managed just 2.9 yards per carry on the night.
Ultimately, it was the team’s mistakes that did them in. An early interception from Walsh that was returned for a touchdown helped FSU build a 17-0 lead in the first half and a late fumble led to the score that sealed the deal. With how little experience Oklahoma State has on their roster, however, they had to expect a few bumps in the road. But between those bumps, the Cowboys showed that they are still an excellent team that will make some noise in the Big 12 race this season. So despite starting the season with a loss, the Cowboys leave Dallas with plenty to like about their 2014 prospects.