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OSU football analysis: Oklahoma State’s past experiences keep it poised during moments like Saturday night

October 2, 2017 GMT

LUBBOCK, Texas -- Up in the coaches box Saturday night, offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich never worried.

Down on the field, right tackle Zachary Crabtree played through pain, but he did not panic, either.

Yurcich has coordinated the Oklahoma State offense for 57 games now. Crabtree has started 38.

They, like Mason Rudolph, James Washington, Marcell Ateman and many others on this OSU team, have seen their share of wacky games. That Oklahoma State seemed to be competing with itself as much as Texas Tech in Saturday’s 41-34 win was not something they could be concerned about when they took the ball, tied at 34, late in the fourth quarter.

“We’ve had so many come-from-behind victories that I don’t think there was a question of us ever hitting the panic button,” offensive coordinator Mike Yurcich said.

Oklahoma State enters its bye week 4-1. The No. 15 Cowboys are seemingly a more flawed team than we realized two weeks ago.

But Yurcich’s comment in Lubbock late Saturday night gets to the heart of why the Cowboys maintain their status as Big 12 contenders coming out of the bye week.

Oklahoma State has seen every late-game situation. And in the most tenuous ones, it thrives.

One statistic tells you all you need to know.

Mason Rudolph has started 33 games as a college quarterback.

In games decided by single digits, he and OSU are 11-1.

Yes, that means six of Rudolph’s seven losses as a starter have been by double digits.

But it also means Oklahoma State appears to have a special kind of resolve in the fourth quarters of tight games.

It showed Saturday, when the OSU defense didn’t allow a point in the final 9:56, and the offense went down the field with precision to win the game.

It showed in 2016, when the Cowboys displayed mettle in close wins over Pittsburgh and Kansas State, and in another frantic win over Texas Tech.

It showed in 2015, of course, when OSU improbably marched its way to a 10-0 start with come-from-behind victories.

The only single-digit loss of the Rudolph era has been debated for a year – the 30-27 loss to Central Michigan.

Is there a physical quality that contributes to OSU’s success in close and late situations? Perhaps. Oklahoma State had more talent than Texas Tech and that showed late Saturday.

But there’s also something to be said for OSU’s mental state.

“We always stay poised,” Ateman said. “Coaches always keep us levelheaded.”