Stillwater, Okla. For two teams trying to stay perfect on the season, Oklahoma State and Texas A&M sure made a lot of mistakes.
It came down to Jerrod Johnson making one too many for the Aggies.
Shaun Lewis intercepted Johnson’s pass in the final seconds, and Dan Bailey kicked a 40-yard field goal as time expired to lift Oklahoma State to a 38-35 victory over Texas A&M on Thursday night.
Johnson turned the ball over five times, including a key fumble that led to a Cowboys touchdown in the fourth quarter and his fourth interception that Lewis returned 28 yards to set up the game-winner. The Cowboys (4-0, 1-0 Big 12) rallied from a 14-point deficit only to let Texas A&M (3-1, 0-1) do the same, and nearly win the game, too.
“It was just a very emotional game that had a number of mistakes,” Cowboys coach Mike Gundy said, “and we were able to capitalize on the last one.”
Johnson threw two touchdown passes in the final 5 1⁄2 minutes and had a chance to lead the Aggies on a winning drive of their own before he overthrew a pass into the arms of Lewis, who fell down at the 40-yard line with 16 seconds left. Oklahoma State picked up 17 yards on two plays before sending on Bailey.
The Cowboys flooded onto the field to celebrate their first three-game winning streak in a series that had been dominated by Texas A&M until recently. The Aggies had won 10 of the first 12 games between the teams following the creation of the Big 12.
“It was a roller coaster for sure. I thought maybe they were going to get a game-winning attempt,” said Bailey, who made the first winning kick of his career. “But our defense stepped up and made a big play and we got a chance to win it.”
Johnson threw for 409 yards and a career-best five touchdowns, but it was his final pass in the meeting of surging Big 12 South rivals that likely will be remembered. In the process, he broke A&M’s career record for passing yards and Jeff Fuller set a new school record with his 20th touchdown catch.
“This is a tough loss. Going into the season I circled this game on my calendar as a kind of catalyst for the season,” Johnson said. “We talked about it as a team. It was an opportunity for us to show something on national television. We came out and competed, we fought hard, but at the same time we have to find a way to win these type of games.”
Brandon Weeden fumbled and threw two interceptions to help Texas A&M build an early 14-0 lead, but shrugged off the turnover problems to throw for 284 yards and two touchdowns.
“This game is not going to be perfect all the time,” Weeden said. “You can’t run perfect plays every time. You’re not going to make good decisions every time. You’ve just got to live with it, put it behind you and move on to the next play.”
It was the second time in as many tries that Weeden engineered a rally from a double-digit deficit in a Thursday night showcase game.
Weeden completed 13 of 15 passes for 184 yards on three scoring drives as Oklahoma State rallied to tie it at 21.