STILLWATER, Okla. — Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy said he wasn’t worried when his Cowboys fell 17 points behind Iowa State in the third quarter.
His explosive up-tempo offense showed why. James Washington caught eight passes for 152 yards and two touchdowns, and Oklahoma State beat Iowa State 38-31 on Saturday afternoon.
The Cowboys trailed 31-14 with 5:55 left in the third quarter, but Washington put Oklahoma State ahead for good when he caught a 3-yard touchdown pass from Mason Rudolph with 3:40 remaining in the fourth. The 17-point comeback tied for the second largest in OSU history.
“We can score fast,” Gundy said. “If we were in a conventional offense, we would have been in trouble. Because we have the ability to score really fast, and we have playmakers who can pick up big chunks of yards, I didn’t feel that way. But I didn’t feel very good either.”
Rudolph passed for 351 yards and four touchdowns for Oklahoma State (4-2, 2-1 Big 12). Though the Cowboys gained 459 total yards, Gundy was disappointed in the team’s offensive production. The Cowboys were held to 108 yards rushing, and most of that was gained in the final 20 minutes.
“We got a little bit impatient in the first half,” Gundy said. “Sometimes that happens. Even right now, I don’t feel very good about the way we performed on offense. I thought we were very fortunate to come out of this with a win.”
It was the second consecutive late collapse for Iowa State (1-5, 0-3). The Cyclones were trying to bounce back after a heartbreaking last-second 45-42 loss to No. 13 Baylor last Saturday and get the first conference victory for first-year coach Matt Campbell.
“I thought it was a gutsy performance, but we just have to learn to finish, and that’s part of what we’re doing,” Campbell said.
David Montgomery’s 1-yard touchdown run with 2:58 left in the second quarter put Iowa State up 17-14. The Cyclones nearly doubled time of possession in the first half and ran 55 plays to Oklahoma State’s 32.
Joel Lanning threw touchdown passes to Trever Ryen and Allen Lazard to help Iowa State take a 17-point lead in the third quarter.
“I warned my team last week about Iowa State and the ability they had to move the football,” Gundy said. “(Their) quarterbacks are good players and they spread you out and are good runners. They’ve got good schemes on both sides of the ball, and they made some real nice adjustments on us.”
Rudolph threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to Washington, then a 1-yard touchdown scoring toss to Jalen McCleskey, to help the Cowboys trim Iowa State’s lead to 31-28 early in the fourth quarter. Oklahoma State’s Ben Grogan made a 30-yard field goal to tie the score at 31 with 11:33 to play.
IOWA STATE: The Cyclones proved once again that they are competitive, but aren’t quite there yet. They got solid quarterback play at times from Lanning and Jacob Park, but neither was consistent, and they were sacked a combined seven times.
“We have the capability and skill set, it’s more of a process of learning how to execute and learning how to win,” Iowa State cornerback Brian Peavy said.
OKLAHOMA STATE: The Cowboys built on their victory over Texas the previous week and enter their off week with momentum.
“It’s good to see your guys keep fighting,” Rudolph said. “I don’t know how many points we were down, but this place was kind of dead. The defense played a great game in the second half and got us some stops and turnovers that were much needed. We didn’t turn the ball over, which was big for us. We just kept fighting.”
Oklahoma State was 32nd in votes in the most recent poll and likely will be knocking on the door of the Top 25.
IOWA STATE: The Cyclones play at Texas next Saturday. The Longhorns have has allowed 50, 49 and 45 points in their past three games. Iowa State could deal a severe blow to struggling Texas coach Charlie Strong with a win.
OKLAHOMA STATE: The Cowboys are off next week. They will play at Kansas on Oct. 22. Gundy said it is a good time for a bye week because several of his players are dinged up.
Follow Cliff Brunt on Twitter @CliffBruntAP .