STILLWATER, Okla. — Coming off a huge win at Missouri and a leap into the top 10, and with a potentially huge game looming, even Oklahoma State coach Mike Gundy wondered if the Cowboys would be focused against Baylor on Saturday.
His players didn’t take long to assure him that they wouldn’t overlook the perennial Big 12 South bottom-feeder.
Dez Bryant had a career-high 11 catches for 212 yards and two touchdowns as No. 8 Oklahoma State, playing its first game as a top 10 team since 1988, scored on four straight first-half possessions en route to a 34-6 win.
Keith Toston added two scoring runs as Oklahoma State (7-0, 3-0 Big 12) set up a showdown next Saturday at No. 1 Texas. The Cowboys have their highest ranking since 1985 and are off to their best start since their 9-0 Sugar Bowl season of 1945.
“We’re shooting for a ‘W’ each and every week,” Bryant said. “If we continue to play the way we’re playing, then we can get through anybody.”
Oklahoma State has won eight straight games for the first time since an eight-game streak spanning the 1986 and 1987 seasons, when Gundy was the Cowboys’ quarterback.
“Once you get this far along, they’re all great wins,” Gundy said.
“We have a lot of maturity on this team,” he said. “We have a lot of chemistry among the group. When we were in the team meeting Monday and Tuesday I could tell by looking in their eyes they were serious. There are a lot of good things going on right now but the guys have done a good job about staying focused.”
Oklahoma State, which finished 7-6 each of the past two seasons, improved its record as a top 10 team to 10-7. The Cowboys are 12-1 against Baylor (3-4, 1-2) since the formation of the Big 12 in 1996. The Bears have lost eight straight conference road games.
Baylor led 6-0 after Jacoby Jones capped a 10-play, 65-yard drive with a 1-yard scoring run. Oklahoma State’s Derek Burton blocked the extra-point attempt.
“It was a big momentum swing,” Gundy said. “… Now our guys were running off the field excited instead of them normally jogging because they gave up points after a long drive.”
Oklahoma State took the ensuing kickoff, converted on a fourth-and-1 at its own 48, then went ahead on a 4-yard touchdown run by Toston. Dan Bailey’s extra-point kick put the Cowboys ahead for good at 7-6 with 1:22 left in the first quarter.
The Cowboys scored touchdowns on all three of their second-quarter possessions.
Quarterback Zac Robinson and Bryant connected on scoring passes of 37 and 9 yards. On the latter, Bryant leaped high above Baylor cornerback Antareis Bryan and pulled the football down with his left hand.
Toston’s second touchdown came on a 2-yard run 19 seconds before halftime and put the Cowboys up 28-6. The Cowboys overcame a third-and-29 during the drive thanks in part to a 23-yard scramble by Robinson.
“I think we had good opportunities early and we just didn’t execute,” Baylor coach Art Briles said. “A lot of that’s my fault. When you have opportunities to create momentum early in the game on the road, you’ve got to do it, because what you’ve got to try to do is take the crowd out of it and neutralize the environment.”
The Bears had gone four games without a turnover before a fumble by quarterback Robert Griffin at the Oklahoma State 36 early in the third quarter. The Cowboys turned it into a 20-yard field goal by Bailey, who later added a 21-yarder.
Baylor managed only 42 rushing yards on 31 attempts and 204 yards of offense, season lows in both categories, and Griffin’s streak of scoring at least one rushing touchdown in each game this season also ended. Still, he didn’t seem too impressed with the Cowboys’ defense.
“I think we made them look a whole lot better than they are,” Griffin said.
“It wasn’t anything they were doing. Players make plays and we all have to do that. I didn’t play a perfect game. No one ever does.”
Griffin finished 15-for-27 for 162 yards and extended his streak of pass attempts without an interception to start a career to 155, setting a Football Bowl Subdivision record for a freshman. Gundy set the former record of 138 during his freshman season in 1986 and now is in his fourth season as the Cowboys’ coach.
Kendall Hunter carried 26 times for 93 yards for Oklahoma State and Toston added 12 carries for 56 yards. Robinson completed 13 of 20 passes for 238 yards despite throwing to only three receivers — Bryant, Josh Cooper and tight end Brandon Pettigrew, who had missed three games with a foot injury.
The game drew 50,080 fans to Boone Pickens Stadium, giving Oklahoma State crowds of 50,000 or more in three straight games for the first time in school history.