In 2013, for the first time in the history of the program, Oklahoma State was the preseason favorite to win its conference. The Cowboys sputtered early, losing at West Virginia in their Big 12 opener. But with a midseason change to its starting backfield, Oklahoma State finally began to play like the favorite, catching fire in November. After back-to-back wins over Texas and Baylor, the Cowboys were on the cusp of winning their second Big 12 title in three years. Instead, the season ended in calamity, with a stunning home loss to Oklahoma that knocked the Pokes out of the BCS, and then a loss to Missouri in the AT&T Cotton Bowl.
Below is a review of Oklahoma State’s 2013 season, which had both impressive wins and stunning defeats:
Offensive MVP: Oklahoma State entered the season with Clint Chelf as its starting quarterback, but pulled the plug on Chelf two series into the opener. But with J.W. Walsh struggling, Chelf re-emerged as the starter and carried the Cowboys to a strong second-half finish to the season. In back-to-back victories over Texas and Baylor, Chelf delivered QBRs (scale 0-100) of 98.1 and 97.6. Despite standing on the sideline for half the season, he became just the second Oklahoma State quarterback to earn All-Big 12 recognition. Chelf was a second-team pick behind Baylor’s Bryce Petty.
Defensive MVP: The Cowboys had three first-team All-Big 12 performers, including defensive tackle Calvin Barnett and cornerback Justin Gilbert. But senior linebacker Caleb Lavey was the heart and soul of the Oklahoma State defense. The defensive captain led the Cowboys with 93 tackles and led Big 12 linebackers with four interceptions. All season, Oklahoma State had the most consistent defense in the conference, and Lavey was a big reason why.
Best moment: With ESPN’s "College GameDay" in Stillwater, the Cowboys had a prime opportunity to gain a stranglehold on the Big 12 title chase against undefeated Baylor. Oklahoma State capitalized and pummeled the fourth-ranked Bears 49-17. Chelf threw for a career-high 370 yards and the Oklahoma State defense held Baylor to 232 yards below its season average.
Worst moment: The Cowboys went into the Bedlam rivalry with a chance to not only capture the Big 12 title and league’s automatic BCS bowl berth, but also send a message to Oklahoma that the schools were finally on equal footing. Instead, the underdog Sooners hung around even without an offensive touchdown, then backup quarterback Blake Bell found Jalen Saunders in the corner of the end zone with 19 seconds remaining for the game-winning touchdown -- Oklahoma’s 10th victory in the series in 11 years. The Sooners went to the Allstate Sugar Bowl, and the Cowboys had to settle for the Cotton Bowl.