BYU falls at No. 21 Oklahoma State in 40-34 2OT heartbreaker

BYU football fell 40-34 in double overtime to No. 21 Oklahoma State in its concluding regular-season game of the 2023 campaign.


STILLWATER, Okla. — BYU football fell 40-34 in double overtime to No. 21 Oklahoma State in its concluding regular-season game of the 2023 campaign.

Jumping out to a 24-6 advantage at halftime, the Cougars struggled to maintain momentum in the second half, allowing 21 unanswered points before a game-tying field goal as the regulation clock expired.

After scoring a touchdown first in the opening overtime period, Oklahoma State countered to force a second extra period. The Cowboys found their way to the end zone before the game ended on a BYU turnover.

Aidan Robbins led the Cougars on the ground, totaling 74 yards on 16 rushes. Jake Retzlaff orchestrated the BYU offense with a 14-of-30 performance for 161 yards and two touchdown keepers. The signal-caller distributed the ball to seven receivers, led by Keanu Hill’s season-high 69 yards, including a 50-yard reception. Kody Epps hauled in five catches for 53 yards, followed by defensive end Tyler Batty’s 36-yards receiving on a fake punt from Ryan Rehkow.

Kicker Will Ferrin went 2-for-2, including his game-tying 48-yard boot at the end of regulation.

AJ Vongphachanh led the Cougar defense with a season-high 15 tackles (six solo), followed by Max Tooley’s 11 (six solo). Crew Wakley also added nine tackles while Ace Kaufusi totaled five solo tackles. In all, 19 Cougars registered at least one tackle.

Eddie Heckard recorded two interceptions, including a pick-six in the second quarter as the senior wrapped up the year with five picks.

At stake was BYU’s bowl eligibility and an Oklahoma State berth in the Big 12 Championship.

First Quarter

Oklahoma State began with the ball, marching 47 yards in four plays to set up 3rd and 2 on the BYU 21-yard line before Jakob Robinson wrapped up a Cowboy receiver for a loss of 2 yards. The Cowboys settled for a 40-yard field goal to jump ahead 3-0 with 12:26 to go in the opening quarter.

The Cougars’ first possession lasted two plays before a turnover. Retzlaff’s backwards pitch to Robbins bobbled off his hands and quickly spotted the Cowboys at the BYU 19-yard line in red zone territory.

BYU’s defense held up, allowing one first down before stalling the Cowboys near the 5-yard line with three straight stops on rushes up the middle. Tooley and Wakley combined forces to shut down the Cowboys on 3rd and goal, forcing another field goal as Oklahoma State went up 6-0 on a 20-yard chip-shot with 8:48 left in the quarter.

Both squads then traded possessions with no first down pickups. After the Cougar defensive front flushed Oklahoma State quarterback Alan Bowman out of the pocket, Kamden Garrett nearly picked off a throw to midfield to force a punt.

Strong blocking and a dominant rush attack by Robbins characterized the Cougars’ next drive, culminating in a 2-yard touchdown plunge by Retzlaff as BYU took a 7-6 advantage with 1:24 left in the first quarter. Robbins totaled 45 yards on the ground, including gains of 24 and 13.

Displaying aggressiveness, BYU attempted and recovered an onside kick, but the ruling on the field was reversed as a Cougar block occurred just before the ball traveled 10 yards. A rekick gave Oklahoma State possession on its own 29-yard line as the Cowboys moved the ball near midfield before the quarter concluded.

Second Quarter

Facing 4th and 1 on the 50-yard line, the Cowboys went for it and came up short after a hurry by Jackson Cravens forced a throwaway. Despite the favorable field position, the Cougars were held to a three-and-out. Rehkow then booted a punt 45 yards to Oklahoma State’s 8-yard line.

On the next play, Heckard stepped in front on a single-coverage throw to the left for an interception and pick-six waltz to the end zone as the Cougars took a 14-6 lead with 12:47 to go in the half. The score marked Heckard’s second touchdown of the year as the Weber State transfer also scored six on a fumble recovery against Texas Tech on Oct. 21.

Later, Retzlaff led BYU on a five-play, 89-yard touchdown drive. Out of the shotgun on 3rd and 8, the signal-caller completed a short pass to Epps who sped down the middle for a 25-yard pickup. With a fresh set of downs, Retzlaff aired it out for a 50-yard connection with Hill down the middle. Two plays later, perfectly executed blocks sealed off space for Keelan Marion to roll left on an end-around across the goal line for an 11-yard score.

With 3:29 to go in the half, BYU led 21-6.

After forcing another punt, the Cougars took over on the 35-yard line. Held to 4th and 6 and lined up in punting formation, Rehkow tricked the Cowboys’ special teams unit with a short toss up the middle to a wide-open Batty at midfield. Batty then charged down the field on a 36-yard pickup before hurdling with authority into an Oklahoma State defender at the 25-yard line. The drive stalled, leading to a Ferrin field goal from 42 yards, putting BYU up 24-6 with 37 seconds to go in the half.

Oklahoma State moved the ball 17 yards before heading to the locker room.

Third Quarter

BYU began the second half with a three-and-out. With renewed energy, the Cowboys put together a touchdown drive. A 24-yard completion and gain of 12 yards on a pass-interference penalty set up a short scoring rush to trim the Cougar advantage to 24-13 with 11:04 to go in the third quarter.

The Cougars struggled to establish momentum on offense, punting again after one first down on a 14-yard rush by Keelan Marion.

Oklahoma State began its next possession moving the ball at will, with two completions of 20 and 15 yards along with a 15-yard rush up the middle by Ollie Gordon in three of the first five plays. Batty then overpowered his blocker for a 10-yard sack to force 3rd and 25. Tooley then made an open-field tackle on a short pass to force a punt.

After a BYU punt, the Cowboys moved the ball to plus territory on BYU’s 47-yard line before Heckard won a coverage battle and extended high for a two-handed interception on the far sideline, just placing two feet inbounds with possession for his second takeaway of the day.

Fourth Quarter

After the Cougars punted early in the quarter, Oklahoma State pieced together a 10-play touchdown drive, taking 3:12 off the clock. On the possession’s opening set of downs, BYU forced 3rd and 7 before a 19-yard completion jump-started the drive that also included receptions of 23 and 22 yards.

After scoring on a two-point conversion, the Cowboys cut the Cougar lead to 24-21 with 10:53 remaining in the fourth quarter. On BYU’s next offensive series, Retzlaff fired on-target to Isaac Rex for a 10-yard gain on 3rd and 8 before a pair of incomplete passes led to another punt.

The defense held strong with a three-and-out to give the ball right back to BYU. Three rushes made it 4th and 1 before the Cougars punted again, giving possession to Oklahoma State on its own 20-yard line with 5:23 remaining.

Oklahoma State moved to its own 42-yard line before converting on 4th and 2 with a 4-yard pass. A few snaps later, the Cowboys scored on a 15-yard touchdown rush by Gordon. The Cougars blocked the PAT attempt as the score remained at 27-24 for Oklahoma State with 57 seconds remaining.

With limited time, Retzlaff orchestrated BYU’s most productive drive of the second half, moving downfield on a 19-yard connection with Hill and two 11-yard passes to Epps and Marion. With four seconds remaining, Ferrin kicked a must-have, 48-yard game-tying field goal right down the center to knot the score at 27-27, forcing overtime.

First Overtime

The Cougars began with possession, striking first on a 6-yard touchdown keeper as Retzlaff rolled left and untouched to the end zone. The drive included two completions to Epps and a 7-yard gain by Robbins on 3rd and 5.

Oklahoma State responded with a score of its own, relying on Gordon, who totaled 19 yards and carried the ball untouched to the left to tie up the score at 34-34 and force a second extra period.

Second Overtime

The Cowboys began the second overtime with possession, rushing 14 yards to the BYU 11-yard line before a pass interference penalty moved Oklahoma State to the 2-yard line. Gordon then rushed to his left before remaining on his feet and shifting gears to his right to punch in another touchdown. Forced to go for a two-point conversion due to NCAA overtime rules, the Cougar defense held the Cowboys out of the end zone on a Wakley tackle.

On the second play of the Cougars' drive, Retzlaff completed a pass to Rex for four yards. On the tackle, Oklahoma State’s Trey Rucker forced the ball out of Rex’s hands just before his knee went down, causing a fumble as Rucker recovered possession with the game ending at 40-34.

BYU now turns its attention to the offseason after a 5-7 record in its first season in the Big 12 Conference.