Oklahoma State at Boise State football: Five takeaways from the Cowboys' 21-20 win over Broncos

Scott Wright

BOISE, Idaho — On a night full of the unexpected, two under-the-radar players came up with huge plays to seal Oklahoma State’s 21-20 win over Boise State on Saturday night at Albertsons Stadium.

Jason Taylor II, who started at safety in place of injured Tre Sterling, deflected a Boise State field goal attempt with just over two minutes to play that would have put the Broncos ahead. 

And with the Cowboys needing a first down to ice the game, it was walk-on receiver Cale Cabbiness who OSU called a play for. Cabbiness came down with the catch while falling on his back, and the Cowboys went into victory formation to run out the rest of the time on the clock.

Here are four more takeaways from the Cowboy victory:

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Takeaways at crucial times

The OSU defense had some third-down issues early in the game, failing to get off the field at crucial moments on Boise State scoring drives.

But the Cowboy defense came up big with a couple of takeaways — one that set up a Cowboy touchdown in the second quarter. In the fourth, Kolby Harvell-Peel intercepted a Boise State pass.

However, two plays later, an OSU fumble that was originally ruled to not have been turned over — a call that was overturned by replay — was perhaps the biggest call of the night.

Jaylen Warren fumbled at the OSU 41-yard line, and the ball was scooped up and carried in for what would have been a go-ahead touchdown in the final minutes of the fourth quarter. 

But because the play was prematurely ruled dead, the Bronco touchdown was nullified. Instead, the Broncos got the ball at the OSU 41, driving down for the field goal attempt that was blocked by Taylor.

OSU report card:Coaching adjustments, punting & run defense get A's vs. Boise State

Sep 18, 2021; Boise, Idaho, USA; Oklahoma State Cowboys running back Jaylen Warren (7) celebrates his touchdown during the first half of play against the Boise State Broncos at Albertsons Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Losness-USA TODAY Sports

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Huddle up

In an effort to slow the game down and run the clock in the second half, OSU began huddling on offense. 

It’s out of character for the typically fast-paced offense, but worked well with the more effective run game to keep the clock ticking.

It worked particularly well in the third quarter, with OSU possessing the ball for 12:18 of the period. Boise State had dominated the time of possession in the first half with OSU struggling to keep drives going. 

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Passing game goes silent

While Oklahoma State found some success running the football, particularly with Jaylen Warren, the passing attack was anemic in the first half. 

Spencer Sanders finished the half 1-of-6 for seven yards through the air. 

The passing game found some life in the second half. Sanders ended the night 6-of-13 for 87 yards.

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Injuries strike again

The Cowboys were without multiple starters against Boise State, especially at receiver, where Tay Martin missed his second straight game. His backup, Jaden Bray, suffered a foot injury during the week and missed the game as well. 

Sophomore Rashod Owens took their place, making his first career start.

Starting slot receiver Braydon Johnson remained out for the second straight week and was replaced by freshman John Paul Richardson. 

On defense, starting safety Tre Sterling was out with an injury. Filling his spot was junior Jason Taylor II, who also started in Sterling’s place last week when he missed the first half for a targeting call in the season opener.

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