“We’ve gotten much better,” Gundy said. “The players have bought into the system and our game plan each week, and it comes down to them. They have to want to do it and we have to put them in that position.”
The Cowboys got two key turnovers on special teams in the West Virginia game. The first came when a bouncing kick went off the helmet of the Mountaineers’ Andrew Buie.
Even more crucial was Teddy Johnson’s recovery after Tavon Austin couldn’t get out of the way when Sharp’s punt bounded sideways with the Cowboys leading 31-24 in the third quarter. OSU converted the possession into a touchdown and held on for the win.
On Saturday night against Texas Tech, six of the Cowboys’ 10 kickoffs went for touchbacks and the Red Raiders started with even worse field position the other four times. Their lone punt return went for three yards.
“Coming up with big plays on special teams like that each week, it’s so much momentum in a game. It just helps overall in the long run,” said Sharp, who averages the most field goals in the country and would be in the top 10 in punting average if the Cowboys punted frequently enough for him to qualify.
Craig’s two blocked punts marked the first time Oklahoma State had multiple blocks in the same game since the Kansas game two years ago.